“Ugh, there’s nothing to do in this town! I’m so bored!”
I hear it at least once a day. People complaining that Midland is such a terrible place with nothing to offer but drinking and boredom.
I feel like the people who say it are either ignorant or they are brand new to the area.
I grew up here. More specifically, I grew up out in the country south of town in a trailer park. Back then, before there was such a thing as the internet, finding something to do that didn’t involve running around in a pasture was actually difficult to do. My idea of entertainment as a kid involved running around a field with my brother and cousins while playing Ninja Turtles with weapons cobbled together from whatever we could find, usually old oilfield tools and scrap metal. In retrospect, they were probably almost as dangerous as the weapons we were pretending them to be.
Things aren’t like that anymore. Nearly everyone has the internet, and therefore a complete guide to everything going on in the Permian Basin, literally at their fingertips. There are dozens of things to do on any day of the week in Midland or Odessa. All a person needs to do is look.
Before the internet and cell phones, you had to check the newspaper, or call the theater, or check the baseball schedule, or call a friend and hope they were actually at home if you wanted any sort of entertainment that involved going anywhere. The one thing my childhood had that is no longer available was Water Wonderland, or Hero’s Water World, as it was renamed before finally closing.
I can count on one hand the number of major concerts that came to the area during my childhood and teenage years. There was no such thing as Rock the Desert and this area was definitely not on the list of stops for most popular music acts.
It was a huge deal to me and my cousin when White Zombie came to town in the mid ‘90s. It was the first major rock concert in my lifetime to come to Midland. Keep in mind that I was born in 1982. It took nearly 15 years before I even had a chance to catch a show like that without going to Dallas or Lubbock.
Today, I hear about a major show every week if not every couple of days. Between Wagner Noel, Dos Amigos, the Horseshoe, the Ector County Coliseum, Graham’s Central Station and the Far West Event Center, concerts and other live acts are a constant feature somewhere in the Basin.
When I was a kid there was only one professional sports team in the area— the Midland Angels. There were no Rockhounds, Roughnecks, Jackalopes, Drillers, Sockers or Mad Dog Rugby Club.
Now, all these teams have hugely loyal fan bases and they play at different times throughout the year. Even better than that is that the teams are actually good.
The Rockhounds are the AA Affiliate of the Oakland A’s and anyone who follows baseball knows how good they’ve been the last several years. Midland is the starting point for that success. I hate to put it like this, but the Angels were pretty terrible and their games could get frustrating to watch pretty quickly. Now, our local sports teams are more than worth the money we spend on tickets these days.
You know what else exists— at least during the summer? Summer Mummers. If you live anywhere near Midland and you’ve never been to a Mummers show, you are doing yourself and the talent that puts on these shows a disservice.
The Permian Basin also is also home to various museums, parks, golf courses, paintball arenas, and a slew of other fun things to do. It’s changed a lot in the last 20 years.
There are also numerous organizations and clubs throughout the area that are always doing something. The West Texas Astronomers Club meets a couple of times a month. Midland College is teeming with various student clubs and organizations, as well as their own sports teams. Find a class to take over an interesting subject. There is a lot to do in this big, little town.
While Midland used to be boring, it’s ignorant to claim that this is still the case. All you have to do is go outside and look around. You’ll find something to do.
If you don’t, well, as the song says, “if you’re bored, then you’re boring.”