Trusting the process

My wild journalism journey so far

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons (Keith Allison) under Creative Commons license

Philadelphia 76ers forward and center Joel Embiid finishes a dunk. General manager Sam Hinkie coined the phrase “Trust the process” when rebuilding the 76ers, with Embiid as one of the key components of the rebuild. I have had a wild journey from the beginning of the school year to now. Through my development as a journalist over the past year, my story is one of personal growth and trusting the process.

Trust the process. Those three words were the focus for The Prowler when the school year began last August. For me, it was the words I needed to hear. My first year of writing for The Prowler encompassed taking in as much as I could and never ceasing to develop my skills.

Flashback to January 2019. I actually wanted to enter Justin Spencer’s journalism class the previous two years, but each time I decided I wanted to do it I was too late. Then I got to know Spencer through my sophomore literature and composition class and I finally made the decision to apply on time.

One fairly stress-inducing interview later, I was in. I knew right away I wanted to write about sports. Over the past few years I developed a liking for sports, and writing about them seemed more like a passion project than a high school class.

My goal for the year was simple: trust the process and do my thing. I had a wonderful mentor in Ben Barkley who gave me all the tools in the world to improve myself as a journalist. My first few months involved me learning from him and making my writing my own.

After I started gaining an understanding of what to do, I hit the ground running, I wrote my first official story, filmed my first “Coach’s Corner,” and wrote an analysis story all just a little over my first month of being in the program. I was raw, but I had a hunger to do this. These first opportunities led the way for more improvement in the future.

My goal for the year was simple: trust the process and do my thing.”

— Staff Writer Daniel Stackhouse

More and more I wrote. I continued to trust the process and my writing would gradually improve. Through it all I witnessed some memorable moments: a back-and-forth softball region championship series, a nail-biting volleyball state semifinal match, and a winner-take-all finale for a historical football state quarterfinal game.

To witness and cover sports was truly a blessing. However, it did not come without its own price. I did it so much it started taking a mental toll. With that, two AP classes, and a part-time job, I was managing a lot of things. However, I loved doing all those things, maybe the AP classes not as much, but I kept on rolling.

As I continued doing my thing, my writing was getting better and better. In December I spent an entire day covering Queens of the Hardwood, a wonderful event that garnered the attention of Kyle Sandy, the lead journalist for all things GHSA basketball. The opportunity served to get my name out to a larger audience.

By January of this year, I was finally figuring things out. It was at the end of this month that I put out a quality analysis of Panther basketball that won me my first Best of SNO award. It was a proud moment for me and the instant that I realized that I can write. Then I proceeded to write another Best of SNO-winning story about Andy Reid days later.

To witness and cover sports was truly a blessing. However, it did not come without its own price. ”

— Staff Writer Daniel Stackhouse

Needless to say, I was riding high after these events. I continued to do what I was doing, and it even landed me a commentating gig with Steam City for the basketball region championships. I was enjoying every second of involving myself in the sports world.

But then all the things I was doing caught up to me. I started falling into a bit of a slump, and while I was not at my worst, I was far from my best. It took a little time, but I picked myself up and focused on continuing to make myself better while keeping a good state of mind. I was feeling good and excited with all the sports covering and announcing I was doing. There was even my new bracket challenge to look forward to.

Then everything changed when COVID-19 halted sports throughout the state.

Of course, with all the sports gone, I would say I got hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. Personally, though, I had some time to focus on me and find out where I wanted to go once sports returned. In asking myself what to do, I gave myself an answer to why I love what I do.

I’ve developed an emotional connection to sports because of all the situations I’ve been a part of.

— Staff Writer Daniel Stackhouse

It took me years to realize how amazing sports are. I used to ignore and not want anything to do with sports. By the time I changed my mind, I was too late to get into any high school sports. Despite the window closing, I still loved sports for what they are.

As a sports writer, I was there covering some phenomenal, hard-fought victories. But I was also there during some heart-breaking, emotional moments. I’ve developed an emotional connection to sports because of all the situations I’ve been a part of.

Having been through so much, I continue to do what I do for the love of the craft of storytelling. At the end of the day, I am writing sports, not only because I want to be there to tell the story, but also because in my heart I am a sports fan.

Now, I am The Prowler’s Sports Editor. Many ups and downs brought me here. I cannot say what is going to happen in the future, but you can bet I am going to be there for it. I now know I have a knack for writing, and I want to see what I can do with it. I know I can make a positive impact with what I can do. It is up to me to make it happen.

I am thankful for all the athletes and coaches that have let me be a part of their journey. I am thankful for Ben, who has been a fantastic mentor to me. Finally, I am thankful for all those who have supported me and what I am doing.

Now is my time to lead. Despite all the uncertainty of the future, I’m ready to see what comes next. My name is Daniel Stackhouse, and I am your Sports Editor for The Prowler. With 81 stories to my name, I cannot wait to see what parts of school and local history I have the opportunity to tell next!