Writing a weekly column is hard to do. It takes a lot of hard work and time to write one. Not because I am short of opinions; if you know me, you know I have an opinion on literally everything. The main thing that makes it hard is the fact that the column has to be about something other people care about. It can’t just be my life rantings although I’m sure it is portrayed as that sometimes. Then there is the fact that even if I write about a topic people care about, most people still wont read it. It’s hard to please people because, no matter what you do or say, someone is always going to dislike it. Therefore, I write about what I want to write about and hope that maybe someone reads it besides my friends who I make read it.
Most of the time what I write about is something I learned in class, saw on TV, or experienced in life. It’s much easier to rant for 500 words about something I actually understand. I think most people, especially my fellow editors, would agree with me that it is difficult to write this once a week. Now lets throw a wrench into the already difficult weekly column.
I am a woman writing a weekly column about sports. Now this wouldn’t be a big deal if more women were sports journalists, but unfortunately only three percent of female journalists report on sports. I get why this is: gender stereotypes. Apparently people think that women don’t know as much about sports as men. I admit that is probably true. The majority of women I know don’t have an in-depth understanding of most sports. This being true doesn’t in any way, shape or form mean that there aren’t women out there who know their sports.
Women that do understand sports are seen as an anomaly. “It’s not everyday you meet a woman who can keep up with a guy in conversation about a sport,” said a friend once. Some guys see it as a hot commodity when a girl understands. Now, I find this stupid because it means that it’s seen as “guy knowledge.” I find it insulting when a guy is impressed by my knowledge, and it just makes me want to yell at them that sports are not strictly something that guys can be experts on; I definitely have done that a couple times.
Even woman that are experts at sports are not taken seriously because they are women. They are criticized for the littlest of things. If they get something wrong, their reputation is tainted, whereas the same would not happened for men. Most female sports reporters are not even given the chance to prove their skills as a reporter because all anybody cares about is her looks. Erin Andrews is an idiot, but she is hot, so she is on TV. It is women like her that give sports journalism a bad name. I don’t blame her because it is a product of the environment we live in. Looks, not knowledge, sell for women in the sport industry.
With all these things stacked against us, I often wonder if I will be able to make it in sports journalism. I wonder if the industry will ever change to be more accepting of women. Last week, I sat in the press box during the NASL (North American Soccer League) semi-final game between the San Antonio Scorpions and the Minnesota Stars. Low and behold, I was the only woman in the press box. This surprised me at first, but I was even more surprised that the men in the room didn’t treat me any differently. I was just another reporter writing about the game, and that’s it. This gives me hope that one day women in sport journalism will be totally accepted. Yeah, that is going to be in the far future, but hopefully I can be one of many to change the way the world thinks. When I am a sports journalist, I will be hired for my expertise and not for looks. I will be known for my knowledge of the industry. All of that starts with these weekly columns that may be a pain in the ass to write but make me a better journalist.
Lydia Duncombe is the Sports editor of the Trinitonian. She is a junior communication major from Friendswood, Texas.