Sports for Dummies: Women’s History Month inspiring for female athletes and sports media professionals

Ashley Potts

I’ve seen lot of inspiring content coming out throughout March — which is Women’s History Month — regarding women in sports. I’ve seen stories of women playing sports despite health issues and cultural norms. I’ve seen highlight videos of the female greats that made me want to go re-purchase all my old sports gear and get back at it. I’ve seen women in sports take a stand and fight for what’s right, while also paying homage to women who came before them. And I’ve seen women call out the media for ignoring their stellar performances in place of more of the same men’s coverage. That’s just this month.

All of that content focused heavily on female athletes, who are constantly underrepresented in the media and underestimated by the general public who still buy into sports as a purely masculine thing. They deserve the attention Women’s History Month has brought them year round.

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But it had me thinking about all the women behind the scenes in the sports world as well. Because while I used to be an athlete in high school, I don’t relate to that experience as much any more. Now I am the behind the scenes person. I show up to games and practices with my phone and my camera to produce content, I tediously edit through the articles published in this paper and scour through analytics for social media  posts and game recaps. I worry about when to use the word “and” versus an ampersand when referring to track and field. Not a day goes by that I don’t watch a game or read a recap and talk sports to someone.

And there haven’t always been opportunities for women to work behind the scenes and tell these stories. Not only was there this idea in the back of society’s head that women weren’t as good at playing sports, but also that women weren’t as good at knowing and talking about sports or analyzing them. 

This is obviously untrue, and also something that the community at CSU has proven to be untrue time and time again.

By now, everyone is familiar with the big stories of trailblazing CSU alumna. Jenny Cavnar and Becky Hammon are household names around here. They have made names for themselves as women who know how to talk sports at the highest levels, and have been the first to raise into the high positions they hold as the first woman to call play-by-play for an MLB game and the first full-time assistant coach in the NBA. They are role models for the ages. 

CSU has also had many alumna go on to work for professional teams doing social media, working as the in game host or broadcasting, covering teams for local news stations and even taking photos that end up on Time’s Top 100 Photos of the Year list. 

I work with women in sports settings all the time. They sit next to me on the sidelines taking photos and video for various outlets, they write articles for the paper and they have sports talk shows in the basement of Clark C. I work with women who mastermind game night special events, marketing campaigns and create artistic vision for the brand of the teams they work for. 

In the midst of all this truly inspiring work, there are still an ungodly amount of trolls in the comments. These trolls overwhelmingly rely on the “get back in the kitchen” mentality, referring to outdated gender norms and implying that being a homemaker is the correct way to be a female. That is a tired, overused and weak argument. If these women are serving you anything it’s content and inspiration.

Ashley Potts can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ashleypotts09.