Deep breath in, deep breath out” were the words I told myself as I approached the press box to cover my first game as a Sports Reporter for the Silhouette. It was the McMaster men’s football team’s 2017 pre-season game against the Saskatchewan Huskies, and as I tried desperately to blend behind my editor, I stood out. Black skin, big hair and the only woman in the room? In the sports industry, I attract attention to myself no matter what I do.
Despite my discomfort, I knew I was there for a reason. So I shut out my thoughts, buckled down and focused on the action so I could write my first piece.
Don’t bother looking for that article because it does not exist. Although I pride myself on my writing, writing for sports was new to me — I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and it showed. I grew up playing sports, but I was by no means a sports expert. After some much-needed guidance from my Sports Editor, I tried again
As the McMaster men’s soccer team geared up to play against one of their biggest rivals, the York Lions, I geared up to cover their match for my official first article. In preparation for this, I searched up examples of good soccer articles. It did not take long to discover that game coverage was not something I had any interest in reading, let alone writing. But the story behind a player’s rise to success, a coach’s first championship, or why a fan used their Make a Wish Foundation wish to meet their favourite athlete, were the stories I wanted to tell.
So for the remainder of the year, that is what I tried to do. I shared stories of the club teams who worked just as hard as the varsity teams with less than half the amount of funding. I wrote about the importance of family in sports, both on and off the field. I helped athletes publish their experiences as Marauders and I explored how former Mac students got into the sports industry.
As I covered everything and anything sports-related at McMaster, I tried to tell stories that sports fans, non-fans and those who even hated sports, could enjoy. So if that meant taking a risk and hunting down athletes to talk about their style or how many sneakers they owned, stories that the stereotypical sports reader may not read, I did it.
I do not know if I want to write articles on sports forever, but I do know that both writing and sports will forever be a part of who I am and who I will become.
And while I was writing for other people, I was also writing for myself. As someone with a variety of interests, I try to find harmony among them all. Originally the thought of doing this was scary. But my nerves that were present when I pitched some of my original story ideas, are minuscule to the positive reception I received from my editors.
As the Sports Reporter for such a progressive outlet, I have been given the opportunity to explore different areas using sports as a lens. Writing for the Silhouette was my first taste of what I believe my future has in store for me. As of right now, I do not know if I want to write articles on sports forever, but I do know that both writing and sports will forever be a part of who I am and who I will become.
So as the world continues to advance and become more inclusive, I have hope that the sports industry will too. Though it probably will not be the last time I will be telling my self to breathe in and out, in fear of being rejected, this fear alone will not stop me from continuing to break that glass ceiling. I have already made it this far, so why not keep going.