Saying goodbye is always difficult for me.
I am leaving town for a new professional opportunity and while I am excited for the future, I find myself reflecting on my Bemidji experience as a positive one.
I came to town in the summer 2007 to work for the Pioneer and did not expect to stay long. My opinion changed with the recession. The community and the great people I worked with on the sports beat were also compelling reasons to stay.
I spent the majority of my time covering Bemidji State athletics and covered Bemidji High School sports on occasion. All the people associated with those teams reflect the spirit of Bemidji’s hard-working population.
Things do not come easy in Bemidji no matter who you are.
Sports in Bemidji affirmed my belief there is no substitution for hard work. It may not always beat natural talent, but often makes the difference between winning and losing.
The consistent efforts of the teams I covered always inspired me to be at my best on the beat. I always worked as hard as I could with the resources I had to put out the best possible stories for you to read.
Sometimes I was proud of my work, especially the stories that made a difference in people’s lives and inspired you.
Sometimes I failed, made mistakes and was embarrassed.
I never let the result bother me too much as long as I put in an honest effort. Everything evens out in the end, just like sports.
I experienced so many amazing things during my time that proved how big a small town like Bemidji can be. Bemidji State’s run to the 2009 Frozen Four was unforgettable. The hard work of all the people in town to make the Sanford Center a reality was inspiring. Those kind of achievements do not happen overnight and are the result of many committed people working together toward a common goal.
The same could be said about Matt Bowen’s BSU men’s basketball team, Jeff Tesch’s BSU football team, Tom Serratore’s BSU men’s hockey team and Steve Sertich’s BSU women’s hockey team. Good things are around the corner for those programs.
There is no secret to their success: hard work and persistence. Go ahead and watch them play some time. You will see what I mean.
I wish I could mention all the people in Bemidji who inspired me in this space. Throughout my time I made a point to tell people like you what they meant to me (there were many) because I never knew what day in Bemidji would be my last.
You all will be missed but never forgotten.
Thank you Bemidji.
Follow Eric Stromgren on Twitter at @estromgren