I’ve been reading The Herald for about as long as I can remember.
Well, the sports section that is.
My grandfather was an avid newspaper reader and always had a subscription to his local paper. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at their house just outside Snohomish as a kid, and nabbing the sports section out of my grandpa’s paper to read the stories and follow the standings and leaderboards while morning cartoons played in the background was my ritual on the weekends.
My passion for sports grew as I got older. But when the realization sunk in that being a 6-foot-4 unathletic post with no jump shot wasn’t going to take me anywhere, I needed to figure out what I was going to do with my life.
After graduating from Granite Falls High School in 2010, I enrolled at Everett Community College in the fall with the intent of checking out journalism. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that it was what I wanted to do.
I took a bit of a sabbatical from college after graduating from EvCC with a two-year degree in 2012. Eventually, I ended up at Central Washington University in 2014.
After six months of very unsuccessful job searching following my graduation from CWU, I finally got a job offer from The Herald to work as a part-timer in the sports department in January of 2017. I parlayed that into a full-time gig about a year later.
Needless to say, I felt incredibly lucky to land my first newspaper job in the area I grew up. Telling the stories of our local student-athletes and coaches is something I take great pride in. Prep sports coverage is slowly dying as sports staffs at local papers have been severely cut like many other newspaper jobs over the past decade. That makes having the ability to highlight our outstanding local athletes and coaches even more important.
It’s always fun to cover a local team that’s on the type of run at a state title that many young athletes dream of. But the most important stories to me are the ones highlighting the bond and inclusiveness sports create in our community, and the ones that tell truly remarkable stories of perseverance.
Inspiring stories like the friendship formed between blind state-champion sprinter Humoody Smith and his guide runner Zeb Kumley need to be told.
The trio of local female officials who called a girls basketball game together in an effort to try and help their occupation diversify need to be recognized.
And athletes like Colton Walsh, a Meadowdale senior who battled back from two devastating knee injuries and had a career night in front of his home crowd in his basketball team’s biggest rivalry matchup, deserve to have their perseverance highlighted.
Sometimes that means sitting in a parking lot until 11 p.m. — oftentimes later — on a Friday night, furiously typing away, editing video clips on my phone and adding up stats to finish up a prep football gamer. Or, in the case of one of my former colleagues, it could mean getting locked inside a pressbox. (Don’t worry. He got out that night.)
Support Zac and the newsroom with a subscription or donation.