That's just one example on the path girls and women have carved over the years. Feb. 7, 2018 was National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
Technically, the day recognizes athletes and their achievements in sports. I'm jumping on board, too, as a female sports journalist, blogger, social media coordinator and author. Plenty has been accomplished in this arena as well. I'm proud to be a part of that.
I didn't cover a game on this day, watch any sports or write much. That's weird in itself, I know. It's also Wednesday, which is typically a day for elementary school volunteering and church choir practice. I *did* finish up a story I was working on for an upcoming edition of Minnesota Hockey Magazine. I also conducted a phone interview with a high school softball coach.
Sometimes, I think it's hard to fathom how things were in the sports world (or any world, really) years ago or before you were around to remember. Perfect example? I've watched plenty of documentaries and footage surrounding the John F. Kennedy assassination and days following. I still can't get over the fact that news anchors could smoke cigarettes on live television.
It applies with sports, too. It's never been a question for me as to whether I could write about sports. That doesn't mean the job doesn't have it's own challenges - and there are still obstacles to clear in regard to equality. Still, I could do it. It's normal. Job descriptions for sports reporters aren't marked with weird things like "men only" or some such nonsense.
I had to chance to learn more about the women who've come before me in the business in writing my children's book, Women in Sports Media. Women who covered sports decades ago, when it really was a man's world. I read about a woman who sat down on the steps of a hockey arena, setting her typewriter in her lap, because they wouldn't allow her in the press box. Another sat outside in a snowstorm to cover a Minnesota Vikings game because she wasn't allowed into the press box - she sat on top of it. Allowing women in locker rooms? That just wasn't done, until women started pushing back.
I'm grateful that I've had such positive experiences in this business. I really haven't had to worry about much.
When it comes to athletics, there have been strides there, too. Just a few random ones listed here:
- This year marks 20 years since women's hockey entered the Olympics
- Title IX
- I wrote a story last year about a high school wrestling team with female wrestlers
- The WNBA
- Athletic scholarships for girls
- The growth of girls hockey over the past couple decades
- Female race car drivers competing with male drivers
- Volleyball, soccer, dance, basketball, swimming, tennis
- And so much more
So many good stories are out there, told by and about women. There are still stories of many "firsts" for women in sports. Some see this in a negative light, asking why we should be celebrating something that should just be the norm. The truth is, it's important to recognize these milestones. In the future, it might not be a big deal when a girl wins a state high school wrestling title. But the first one, like anything done for the first time, is still special.
Thanks to all the girls and women who have contributed in some way to the sports world. And remember, there's no crying in baseball.