O’Neill: A kid from the big city adjusts to life in a small town
My name is Max O’Neill, and I’m the newest reporter with the Craig Press covering sports and education. I am from New York City, a place with a population of 8.3 million people. I graduated with a degree in Television-Radio from Ithaca College, a town with a population of almost 31,000 people. It is also the site of two colleges, the aforementioned Ithaca College on the South Hill, aka the Happy Hill, and Cornell University on the East Hill.
Outside of my four years being a Bomber, I have never lived anywhere for an extended period of time outside of NYC.
However, that has changed with my move to Craig to work at the paper covering the Moffat County community. There are things that have surprised me in my move to Moffat County, and there are things that did not. I expected the town of Craig to be much slower than I was used to. I expected to drive everywhere for the first time in my life. I also expected things to be much further away from each other than things actually are.
While my car was dealing with some issues, I walked from place to place and it was not as painful as I thought it would be. I also never thought about the language differences, back home in New York City, if I’m at the local pizza place and I’m ordering a single piece of pizza with no toppings on it, I say, “Hey, let me get a plain slice please.”
The first time I tried to say that here, the person behind the counter had no idea what I was talking about until I called it a cheese slice.
I had done my research before coming here. I knew that according to Wikipedia, Craig was the “Elk Hunting Capital of the World”, so I knew hunting was something that I had to learn how to do when I got here. I did not expect that it was going to be a thing that wasn’t in your face 24/7. I halfway expected there to be multiple hunting stores on Victory Way, selling guns and ammo and attire, but there really isn’t.
There are signs around town welcoming hunters for this summer’s hunting season, but it is also not as much of a constant conversation topic as I thought it would be.
The high school football team being the big event on Friday nights in the fall is something I expected. I remember I asked in my job interview whether it was a “Friday Night Lights” type scenario and I was told it was. That is something that is a world away from how I grew up, but is awesome touch.
I know that when I was on the varsity baseball team during my senior year of high school, only a handful of people came, not the entirety of New York City. I think that would’ve been a cool atmosphere to play in if we had more than just parents and friends at the games and if the local newspaper covered our games.
One of the things that has made me the happiest in my time here so far is how nice everybody is. It was also something that I was nervous about moving here to Craig, the unknown of whether I would be able to meet people and make friends or whether people would be rude and unfriendly to me coming in as an outsider.
I came in not having any idea what that aspect of the move had in store for me, and it has made my move, living 1,000% by myself for the first time, ever easier because of how nice everybody here has been for the most part.
So, to you the Craig Press reader who has emailed me, or read my stories or helped me out in some small way or some big way: thank you! I appreciate it!
I hope I have made your days better with my stories because your reads and your kindness has made mine better.
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As the school year comes to an end, the Hayden and South Routt School Districts have accomplished many milestones through their RISE grant efforts.