The face behind FearTheIndian


Contributed by Kyle Stackpole

2013 PV graduate Kyle Stackpole poses in a black “#FearTheIndian” t-shirt. These shirts were made by members of the PV Class of 2013 as a way to show school spirit.

By Spencer Goldstein, Pascack Valley High School

FearTheIndian, created in 2012, remains a staple within the Pascack Valley student body seven years later. Primarily utilized as a Twitter account, it currently has over 2,600 followers and provides updates and insight into all Valley sports teams. However, out of the thousands of Valley students and alumni who follow the account, many are unaware of its origin: 2013 PV graduate Kyle Stackpole.

While Stackpole never considered himself to be much of a writer, he always possessed a passion for sports, playing football, basketball, and baseball. His decision to jump into sports writing did not require any sort of tedious thought process — instead, it stemmed from a minor suggestion from an aunt at a family gathering while he was in high school.

“She had said, ‘You know you like sports so much; you like watching them; you like playing them; have you ever thought about writing about them?’” Stackpole said.

Though he is now employed as a beat writer for the NFL’s Washington Redskins website in which he covers the team’s games and dissects news surrounding the organization, Stackpole was already under the assumption at that point that he would eventually go into a more numbers-based career. He had never even considered sports writing; however, it did not take him long to become hooked.

“I think the first writing I did was for basketball,” Stackpole said. “I wrote a couple of articles about basketball [for The Smoke Signal] my junior year, and I feel like that’s kind of when I knew that [sports writing] is what I wanted to do.”

While he continued to make timely contributions to The Smoke Signal, Stackpole’s calling card at Valley was his creation of FearTheIndian at the beginning of his senior year.

The home page of Stackpole’s FearTheIndian blog, which was last active in 2013. He made 95 total posts over the course of his senior year.

“I just felt that on a daily basis, our high school needed new coverage where someone could go each night and see who won the games, and not just for the bigger sports like football and basketball — a lot of people go out to those games — but all sports,” Stackpole said.

Along with running the Twitter account, Stackpole wrote daily recaps for the FearTheIndian blog in which he encapsulated every Valley sporting event each day. His stories would include in-depth summaries of every game, match, and meet, providing those not in attendance with a strong idea of how each event played out. His work garnered high praise from former PV principal Tom DeMaio.

Kyle Stackpole’s was declared to have the “Most School Spirit” by his peers in the PV Class of 2013 yearbook.

“Kyle did a great job of making sure so many different aspects of the school were being highlighted and that he was spiking the interest for people to follow [Pascack Valley sports],” DeMaio said. “His reporting was very fair and it was something that a lot of people could follow along with.”

FearTheIndian quickly took off, with Valley students going as far as to print out black t-shirts with “#FearTheIndian” on them. Such a positive reception came as a surprise to Stackpole, who was especially taken aback by his appointment as having the “Most School Spirit” in the Class of 2013 yearbook.

“It was funny because [Mel Trembath] won for being energetic at all the football games [and going] to all these different events, while I won for a totally different reason,” Stackpole said. “Just because I had so much pride in [Valley] sports and I showed that pride through Twitter.”

After experiencing progressive growth throughout the first year, FearTheIndian hit its peak at the Class of 2013 graduation ceremony. Choreographed in advance, Stackpole posted a tweet pertaining to the start of the graduation ceremony, prompting DeMaio to check his phone and read Stackpole’s tweet aloud to the entire audience at the beginning of his speech.

“I just felt that [FearTheIndian] was so [much] a part of [the Class of 2013], that it was an appropriate thing to make it a part of graduation,” DeMaio said.

“Kyle and I sat down to talk about what we could do for graduation and set up the tweet just as a humorous thing, but really [it was] to give him a shoutout for what he created for that class and for Pascack Valley.”

After graduating from Pascack Valley, Stackpole attended the University of Maryland and joined The Diamondback, Maryland’s student-run newspaper. He eventually rose to the role of sports editor, and credits his work on FearTheIndian with earning him the opportunity to write for the paper in the first place.

“I didn’t do the traditional reporting that [The Smoke Signal is] doing,” Stackpole said. “I didn’t write many stories with quotes, and I didn’t really do it for a school newspaper, but the editors at The Diamondback were [very] impressed with how I was able to build a following of FearTheIndian. That’s really what got [my foot] in the door.”

While he originally wanted to one day become a national college basketball writer, Stackpole’s time with the Redskins has led him to redirect his goals towards remaining in the NFL. As a Redskins beat writer, his typical gameday schedule for a 1 o’clock kickoff consists of getting to the team facility at 9 a.m. to do research and prepare for the pregame show that he hosts on the field.

Once the game is underway, Stackpole live tweets the results for his Twitter following of almost 2,800 people. Afterward, he interviews coaches and players in the locker room before attending the official postgame press conference where additional questions are asked.

“I feel this is the most 9 to 5 job you’re going to get in terms of sports [journalism],” Stackpole said. “During the season you’re working on Sundays too, but other than that, you get to have all of your nights [to yourself] aside from game days or different events going on.”

While the blog is no longer active, the FearTheIndian Twitter account–currently run by seniors James Della Pesca and Mary Spillane– continues to be passed down year after year. The fact that it is still going strong is Stackpole’s craziest takeaway when looking back.

“The fact that I can look at FearTheIndian right now and still see scores and live updates seven years later is pretty insane to me,” Stackpole said. “For what I’m doing now, [creating FearTheIndian] is the perfect thing to be known for in high school. It’s such a small thing but to me, it’s just awesome.”

This story was originally published on The Smoke Signal on February 3, 2020.