Kyle Troutman: Ready to take the field
One of my favorite athletes of all time, Wayne Gretzky, once said, “The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.”
The Great One’s statement is spawned from sports, but it transcends the ice in his case and can just as easily be applied to life and a career.
My journalism career has shapeshifted continuously over the past decade, and my newsroom journeyman style is again coming around the bend to present another challenge to me — adding the title of sports editor.
To say I have big shoes to fill would be an understatement, literally and figuratively. Jared Lankford, who probably works harder than any man I know and can probably claim to have more jobs than I have fingers, has stepped away from sports coverage for the Cassville Democrat to pursue a new career and more time with his family.
Jared’s dedication to his craft over his 10 years here has been exceptional. His nose for sports news, ability to make friends and procure sources and his endearing column-writing style will be greatly missed inside and outside of our walls.
Some of my most enjoyable moments at the paper have been traveling with Jared to playoff football and basketball contests. Trips to Springfield, St. Louis, Columbia and other Missouri destinations have been memorable, whether our teams won or lost. There is never a dull moment when Jared is by your side.
While he is moving on to new adventures, I am tasked with bringing local sports from the fields and the courts to your living rooms, and I am excited to do so.
Sports writing is a newspaper job that continually returns to my keyboard. When I first decided on journalism as my future career, as a wee sophomore at Little Rock Central High School, the first step was to join the staff of my school’s newspaper, The Tiger.
In a matter of three weeks, I went from the greenest of staff writers to the new sports editor, in charge of covering everything Tigers for our monthly publication. I had that gig for my junior year, then became co-editor in chief of The Tiger in my senior year.
I continued writing in my college papers, but more on the news side. It was when my professional career began that sports struck me again, equally as surprisingly.
I was hired at The Daily Citizen in Searcy, Ark., as a hybrid news and sports reporter, but in just two months, our sports editor resigned and my new position was being eliminated. Instead of letting me go, my former boss moved my desk, and I was the head of sports once again, and at a 5-day-per-week publication.
Those long nights — especially during basketball season with a dozen teams to cover — laid a sports foundation for me that I will certainly call on as I move forward with my new duties.
I am no stranger to sports coverage in the area, either. I have covered every season of Cassville football since my arrival in Barry County, and I routinely shoot playoff basketball for any team making a district title game or going further.
Additionally, in taking on this new responsibility, I have had to leave another sports venture, assistant coach of the Cassville boys and girls soccer teams.
While that necessary move was bittersweet, I am looking forward to being on the sidelines and the baselines in coming weeks, months and years. My love of sports in general has always been a big part of my life. I played soccer from the time I was 3 years old through college, and I refereed soccer at some of the highest youth levels.
I have a strong knowledge of all sports we cover, and I am looking forward to making my imprint on our B section coverage in new and exciting ways. Sports coverage lends itself to being more feature-based than news, and conveying how much an athlete enjoys and excels at a sport is equally as exciting as participating in it.
I will be working hard every day, and I will never dog it when it comes to delivering you sports stories you will enjoy and cherish for many years to come.
Kyle Troutman has served as the editor of the Cassville Democrat since 2014. In 2017, he was named William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers. He may be reached at 417-847-2610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.