Cactus Bowl offers glimpse of this writer‘s road to future


By Kody Acevedo

As we take our first steps into the new year, it’s hard not to look back on all the ups and downs that we endured in 2017.

Hopefully for you, it was a little easier than it was for me. Not that it was a bad year—it was just tough. The highs were extremely high, yet the lows were overwhelmingly deep.

The highs mostly came from school and work. Now, I’m not here to brag. Rather, simply to extend my gratitude for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with to help launch my career.

A little over two years ago,I took my first steps into professional journalism. I had just wrapped up an internship with The Arizona Republic as a breaking-news reporter and was riding high on all the professional experience I had earned in a short 5-month period in early 2015.

The fall of that year, I turned my attention to sports. An assignment I had always wanted to cover and now, two years into college, I finally had a chance to do so.

The kicker was: I needed my work to be published. In order to pass my sports writing class, I basically needed someone to take a chance on an unknown college student with no real experience and say, ‘Sure. I’ll publish any work you bring me.’

So, I called Wrangler News and spoke to Don Kirkland—the first of many phone calls between the two of us. Don was kind and thoughtful on the phone, however politely turned down my request.

To put it in a sports term, I had struck out. But just like a game of baseball, there was another chance to put the ball in play. “How about I give you an assignment and we’ll see how you do?” Don said.

Well, two years later, I think it’s safe to say I’ve put the ball in play.

You see, Wrangler News has been a tremendous stepping-stone for me. It was the first paper to pay me to write stories. They made me feel part of the family and allowed me grow as a journalist.

Since I started here, I have worked for FOX Sports Arizona, the Arizona Diamondbacks and
covered spring training for Cronkite News and Arizona PBS.

Each year was a step closer to achieving my career goals.

As the roller coaster ride of 2017 chugged along, I found myself working a variety of professional sporting events in the Valley. The year was capped with a college football showdown between Kansas State and UCLA in the Cactus Bowl, an event I covered with the D-backs staff because the game was held at Chase Field.

I wasn’t the only one with Wrangler News roots there. Billy Hardiman, one of our tremendous photographers whose pictures you see on Page 18, was there covering the game as well.

Yes, I was given the opportunity to work the game through the D-backs. Yet, afterward, I found myself reflecting on the path that got me to that moment.

You see, for Billy and me, we probably wouldn’t have been able to cover that event without Wrangler News’ help getting us there. I can’t speak for Billy, but for me, this paper gave me the confidence I needed as a scared college junior taking my first steps into this business.

For that, I’m very grateful.

Here’s to a new year with new opportunities and new ways to bring stories to the Wrangler News audience.

And we’re just getting started!



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