Girls Who Love Balls

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Growing up loving sports can be a confusing thing for young girls. You are labeled right out of the blocks as a ‘tomboy’ if you prefer balls to Barbies. Even more perplexing is those of us who enjoy both. They really don’t have a tag for that one.

However, as you age the stamps become more annoying. In most professional sports, women who are fond of them are marked as ‘jersey chasers’ as if the only reason for attending a sporting event is the hope of somehow scoring off the playing field with one of the participants with the eventual goal of becoming a WAG. For those not in the know, WAG is an acronym for wives and girlfriends of pro jocks. By the way, there isn’t an acronym or even a label for guys who are fans of women teams.

Double standard aside, in your twenties you are a ‘puck bunny’ if you love the NHL, but once you hit your late thirties or the dreaded forties, you are a ‘hockey mom.’ Not sure which one is more offensive.

Making it a Career

For those ladies who dream of taking their fandom into a career, the lines become even more blurry. Let’s face it, the field of sports reporting whether online, in print or on television is dominated by testosterone.

Good luck trying to find a female byline in your local newspaper. While you will see women on sports telecasts, they are generally relegated to the between period interviews and recaps or doing the sideline pieces; think weather girls way back in the day.

This does not mean though that ladies are not extremely knowledgeable as far as sports go and yes, there are those of us who know what icing means and not because we are trying to impress the cute guy down the hall who is a New York Ranger fanatic.

Women in the locker rooms have come a long way baby, but there are still strides to make as well as prejudices to overcome.

Last season, Susannah Collins was fired by Comcast SportsNet Chicago after making a slip of the tongue during a report on the Chicago Blackhawks. Collins had meant to say that the team has a ‘tremendous amount of success during the regular season,” but said “sex” by mistake. Embarrassed, but professional, she corrected herself immediately and continued her report undaunted.

The video, of course, went viral and even got some play on “The Jay Leno Show.” However, two days later the reporter was fired. Officials claimed the decision had to do with other “non-related issues.” Yet, the circumstances seem suspicious and beg the obvious question. Would the same thing have happened if Collins was a man? Probably not, it would have been laughed off and he would still be reporting on Patrick Kane and company.

What ladies need to remember is we offer a somewhat unique perspective to the world of sports and there are editors out there who recognize and appreciate that fact. When an opportunity does present itself, you need to run with it, if you will pardon the rather overused sports cliché, and take it as far as you can. It’s the same as being the only girl on an all-boys team, you need to be a cut above the rest to get noticed and stay on the team. It is vital to have the necessary perseverance and be true to your voice.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to mimic the mainstream male point of view. There are enough of those already, especially online. Being unique is your ace in the hole.

Currently, I am the only female writer on the sports side of the site that I write for. My editor appreciates the fact that I am a woman and likes the different slant that I bring to the team. It was that unique voice that got me noticed by him when I was writing for a different site, a site that didn’t exactly relish that creative side of my posts.

As a former ‘tomboy’ and ‘hockey mom’, I love a challenge and stretching my writing wings, but I am also aware of my limitations. While I have the chops for feature pieces in any sport, if I tried to write an op ed piece on why the New York Giants have lost their first four games, I would be laughed off of the site.

Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses is paramount when trying to gain a foothold in the sports writing field.

Continue reading on the next page

Dawn Miller

I am a freelance writer, blogger and author who wears many hats including wife and mom. In addition to my freelance work, I recently began my own travel site, the Closet Traveler. I am hard at work on a new mystery which is tied to my blog. My first e-book, Secrets, Lies, and Trash is available through Midnight Frost Books. It is a hot, page-turner set in my home state of New Jersey.

  1. Nice work Dawn! As a female who loves sports it’s pretty annoying to feel like I need to explain myself. (I’m actually writing a piece on being a girl who plays fantasy football). I also have friends in sports casting, writing, or who are aspiring to do so.

    The double standard is there of course, but when it comes to your career in a male dominated world, it’s so important to embrace who you are, rather than who they are to blend in. (I think this goes for any industry) So I like how you say your editors appreciate your angle because rather than wanting you to be more like a man. Someone is going to see what’s there– and like it.

  2. This was great! Double standards exist in many places, but it is very much existent in sports. Growing up, I was one of the girls who enjoyed sports with the neighborhood but could also play ‘House’ with my sister. We played basketball and street hockey in particular and would throw the football around occasionally. What I loved about that was the boys never said I couldn’t join them. It wasn’t until I got older that the lines began to be drawn.

    One of my good friends is in sports and actually works for NASCAR currently. Though she knew more about football than many of our guy friends, when it came to her career, she had to prove herself much more than the men on the same career-path, simply because of her gender. It was automatically assumed she knew nothing of sports. She never let that daunt her though, and I love how she has broken into a male-dominated arena. Many of my co-workers, though not related to sports, work in areas generally thought to be male-oriented (example: engineering). Though the double standards annoyingly exist, women can break those barriers, one by one, to where hopefully one day in the near future, we are accepted for our talents rather than punished for our genders.

  3. I’ve always been a sport loving chick. I’m the one at the games who can harass the refs correctly. 😉 My sport of choice is hockey, too, so I totally get being called a puck bunny and being judged for my genatalia instead of my knowledge of the sport. I can’t imagine working in sports and dealing with that but I love that you find so much positive in it. It’s so true that you lend a unique voice and perspective that men just can’t. Keep killing it. We need more loud, proud, and educated female sports fanatics.

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