National Girls and Women in Sports Day is annually observed during the first week in February. 2023 marks the 37th celebration of the day, powered by the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Sports allow women and girls to develop their character. The strength and confidence that is developed through sports is unlike that found in any other arena. Thanks to actions such as Title IX, women are ensured the opportunity to pursue sports in higher education.
The Post Sports is fortunate to have three full-time women on staff. All three serve as editors and two of them have served or currently serve on the sports editorial team. To join in on the national celebration, here are their stories:
I have loved sports since I was a little kid. I played softball through grade school, which by proxy made me quite the Cincinnati Reds fan. Though I was deathly afraid of the fireworks played after home runs, I would still sit there cheering with my ears plugged. I supported them through all the bad years too, which have been quite a few. I eventually grew to be a Bengals fan, too, despite their constant pitfalls as well. However, no matter how much I knew I loved a team, I could never express that without being questioned.
Most any girl who has loved sports, no matter how old, has probably been met with some bizarre question from a man. I enjoyed watching the Reds and one of my male classmates would pipe up with, “If you love the Reds so much then name the entire starting roster of the 1982 team.” They never asked other guys to prove their allegiance to a sports team. I could never just “enjoy sports” as a woman; I had always had to prove myself more than my male peers. Women belong in sports just as much as men do. I should be allowed to like sports without being questioned. I should not have to be questioned about whether or not I know what I’m talking about, which I still experience to this day. I love what I do and I love the sports world. I want to feel just as welcomed in it as any man would.
Like Emma, sports have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Most of my Sundays growing up were spent on the couch watching football with my dad and brother. I didn’t fully understand the sport at first, but the more I watched, the more I was drawn to it. Even from behind a screen, I could feel the competitiveness, excitement and energy.
My love for football soon turned into a love for all sports. However, I didn’t even think about making a career out of them until my brother and I were old enough to start thinking about colleges and majors. People would ask him, “Have you ever thought about being a sports broadcaster?” or say, “You should think about a career in sports.” This made me realize that a career in the sports industry was possible, but I shouldn’t have had to learn this from people talking to him.
Women working in the sports industry are so underrepresented. According to ESPN, only 225 women held baseball operational roles in 2020, with just 17 in director’s roles or higher. Although the representation of women in sports is starting to get better, there is still a long way to go. It is easy to understand why many young girls may not believe that working in sports is a possibility because there are so few women in sports for them to look up to.
I want to be one of the women who change that. Sports are for everyone, and my favorite thing about them is the way they bring people together. That is why I have chosen to pursue a career in fan engagement and sports marketing. If I can get just one little girl to a game and show her that a future in sports is possible, that would mean the world.
I earned my love of sports when I was about 3 years old. My family had season tickets for the Dayton Dragons, Cincinnati's A-affiliate. I remember I used to scribble in the game programs and read the players' information, but it didn't make any sense to me at the time. I loved eating my Dippin' Dots while my father explained the game.
I didn't consider sports as a career until I was in high school. I'd played softball and been a competitive cheerleader for as long as I could remember, and I knew that I was happiest on the sidelines somewhere. I also knew that sports beyond high school weren't an option for me, so I decided to explore the idea of working in sports.
I originally wanted to be a sports psychologist, which earned me some side eyes and such during my career classes, but I realized a true office job wasn't for me. I settled on sports journalism because I've always loved writing, and in a roundabout way, it's like psychology.
I'd also never considered myself a feminist before I started working in sports. I believed that women belonged everywhere men did, but I wasn't a loud advocate. I come from a town where it's normal for girls to love football with their whole hearts, hunt and be tomboys. However, the sports industry is not in Waynesville, Ohio. The majority of the industry doesn't want women to do what men do.
There's been a few moments throughout my career where I've felt imposter syndrome. I've sat and listened to men tear other women down, using the classic "aggressive/angry woman" stereotype. I've also had a player shake a whole staff's hand except mine, and I've had a professional scout commend me for bringing my "homework" to a baseball game. However, none of that made me want to quit.
Although my dad did teach me about baseball, he also taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. These past three years, I've decided to break into the industry and bring other women up with me. We're here and we're good at our jobs.
As Pat Summit once said, "here's how I'm going to beat you. I'm going to outwork you. That's it. That's all there is to it."