I have been blessed in my time working at the newspaper to cover a lot of great sporting events from record-breaking performances, to state championship victories.

However, one thing that goes unnoticed sometimes even to me, and something I never even think about is getting to said games. I’m probably going to jinx myself, but I’ve never had any sort of car trouble that left me stranded in some far away land.  

That was, until last week. And it was my fault.

Thursday morning, I was meeting my grandpa to make our seemingly annual trip to Kansas City to cover the St. Vincent girls soccer team play in the Class 1 girls state soccer final game.


The day started out like any other. I grabbed my camera, notebook, and a pencil, making sure I had everything I would need that day in order to successful cover a game, just like I do any other.

I got ready extra early because I was determined to not be late for our 9 a.m.  leave time.

My car had other ideas. Let me preface this story by saying that my low fuel light popped on Wednesday afternoon, but I was already 75 percent of the way home, so I made it my first priority when I got home that the next morning the first place I would go would be the gas station.

However, apparently when the fuel gauge reads 20 miles to empty, it can sometimes be wrong.

 I had nearly reached Wal-Mart when my car did this spooky lurch forward and seemed to lose all power.

I pressed and pressed on the gas, but nothing was happening. Then it suddenly hit me: I had run out of gas.

I started to freak out just a little. I was coasting about 30 miles per hour down a hill, looking for anywhere to pull off, thankfully I pulled out near Zoellner Construction storage units and came to a rest.

That’s when my head was spinning, because who exactly wants to make that kind of phone call

“Hey Dad, um, yeah. I ran out of gas can you help me?”

So what did I do?

I called my mom at work, because that’s what all sensible people do when they run out of gas, right?

Fortunately my dad was not mad and we broke into grandpa’s garage and borrowed a gas can.

Then came the difficult part, if this was not already hard enough.

My car does not have a gas cap, it’s one of those technologically-advanced automobiles with one of those seals. The nozzles at the gas stations work great with those, but here my dad and I are on the side of the road,  just one-quarter of a mile away from the Rhodes, which was my destination.

Thankfully, Matt Zoellner just happened to be there, and had seen one of those things before.

There are screws that unlock and the gas can nozzle can then deposit the gas into the tank. I had to learn that the hard way.

I was taught a valuable lesson that day, when I met up with grandpa later.

As he put it, “Cars don’t run on air.”    

Justin Hotop is a sportswriter for the Republic-Monitor and a three-point specialist on the court. He can be reached via email at jhotop@perryvillenews.com.

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