Want to learn a fun fact about me? In middle school, I played basketball. Not because I was good at it, but because I enjoyed it, was taller than most of the girls in my grade, and it was one of the sports that was popular at the time for women. I remember a time in eighth grade that I would play basketball with the boys, because in the class period I had gym, the girls weren’t exactly trying to play basketball, or volleyball even. They walked around the gym the entire 50 minutes. Lame. As the daughter of a football player, growing up I watched three sports – football, baseball, and basketball. 8-year-old me (who was a swimmer and dancer), never really saw the popularity, or opportunity, of women’s sports. Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant were my favorite basketball players, Derek Jeter was my favorite Yankee, I watched Kentucky basketball on the weekends and was cheering for the Tennessee Titans cause my childhood bestie’s dad was an offensive line coach. So for me, sports were a man’s world and women were just living in it.
I remember seeing the Houston Comets play the New York Liberty at the Compaq Center in 1998. I finally saw women’s sports the way that all men’s sports are viewed. The Comets were the team in women’s basketball. The WNBA was a real thing and it was gaining popularity – but after a while, the Comets were no longer, and I was back to watching men’s sports. This seemed to always be the thing with women’s sports, gain popularity, but never last. I’ve always loved sports, but never saw myself as being able to be of the sports world because I was a girl, and well, sports and sports talk are for the guys. There wasn’t any room for us. I’m done hearing that statement and actually take offense to it. The narrative that the only commentators on major broadcasts are men, is over. Thank you, Jessica Mendoza, for finally gracing ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball with your presence – it was way overdue. Just cause she played softball doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. The female voice is pretty much non-existent in men’s sports and Mendoza is definitely an inspiration. I have to watch myself sometimes, cause the looks I tend to give whenever I’m being asked, “You’re a sports blogger?” “How do you do that? How do you talk about sports?” “So what do you talk about?” My thought is, what do the men talk about? Why do we have to explain our love for sports? I love getting that, “Hmm, interesting” response when I explain what The Sports Brat is and what I hope to do with it. Let me tell you, there’s a whole lot more of us, where I came from. We know a lot more about sports than you think. Think I’m kidding? Let’s watch a game together. I’ll choose the restaurant – I’m picky about where I watch my sports.
Women’s sport is in need, and Adidas is working to partner with multiple organizations to bridge the gaps for women in sport. Whether its pay or equal opportunity in general, Adidas is working to close this gap. adidas has three areas of focus, remove stereotypes, provide access and address inequality for female athletes at all ages. It’s more than the female representation that is lacking in sports but equality is more than lacking as well. Money just isn’t present in women’s sports. If there’s no money in women’s sport, then how is it supposed to become popular? How will it get the recognition that it deserves? Women are definitely doing their thang in the sports arena, i.e. Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Taylor, Lauren Shehadi, Erin Andrews, Pam Oliver, Michelle Beadle, Sydney Leroux – I could go on. I’m motivated by all of these women whether they are athletes or being the female voice as commentators and analysts, I look to them to keep going as a sports and gameday enthusiast. They are what keep me going. They remind me that it’s cool to talk about and participate in sports. So whether you’re an athlete or enthusiast, I challenge you to keep going. It’s time to break those barriers.