Friday, February 19, 2010

Being a Female Sports Blogger

Sports bloggers walk a thin line between fandom and journalism. Maybe that’s part of their appeal. Sports bloggers are in the unique position of being treated as any other member of the news media while still having the luxury of rooting for their home team and making the occasional comment about how much those other guys suck.

At the same time, it’s hard to draw the line between the two. It’s great to be allowed into events and games as press and it’s great to be taken seriously, but are you still allowed to write with the same freedom that you were before? I mean, you’ve got people like this guy who, while asking valid questions, makes himself look like a complete fool. You’ve also got female bloggers talking about how much they looooove a certain player. And it’s probably not in the innocent, love-your-brother way. We’re talking restraining order crazy.

Which brings me to my point: being a female sports blogger. Can you think of anything that’s a bigger joke than being a female sports blogger?! (That is a trick question). Seriously though, I think burger flippers at Wendy’s are taken more seriously than female sports bloggers. In general, male bloggers have achieved a certain level of respect and recognition. The good ones have established that the line between journalist and fan is a fan advocate, as was so eloquently expressed by Andrew Feinstein of sbnation. And that’s exactly what we should be. But what about the ladies? This column is called Hit like a Girl, after all. So what is expected of us? You can say, “the same thing” all you want, but that’s simply not the case. When female sports bloggers come into play readers expect sassy, sports savvy women who know the game and occasionally express their sheer and utter amazement at how attractive Patrice Bergeron is. I’m sorry. I got carried away again. But that’s exactly what happens. Does that mean I should be taken any less seriously? Think about it, even though my boyfriend picks on me endlessly for having a crush on half of the Boston Bruins team and thinking that Tom Brady is dreamy, I can write an analysis with the best of them. In fact, I probably know more about the sport I’m watching than you do. I grew up with a coach for a Dad for Christ’s sake, so do not argue with me about breaking down cover three or the rules of box lacrosse.

But here’s the rub – the predominant, popular sports are played by males. The sports I watch are played by males. Are you following? Now, what if the predominant, popular sports were played by females? Then I couldn’t blame a male sports blogger for commenting on how nice a player’s butt looks in her volleyball shorts. Maybe that’s crude, but I’m not one for double standards.

So when I stray from my point for five seconds to talk about how attractive Jacoby Ellsbury is, I don’t think anything of it. If I ever met Ellsbury, if I ever had to interview Ellsbury, hell, if I ever had to interview Ellsbury while he wore nothing but a jock strap and a white tee shirt, I would be fine. Does it matter that I’ve commented on his physical appearance before? Not to me. He’s in the public eye and these things will happen. I’m also happily taken. Oh, and my father has told me to stay away from athletes after having my heart broken by a football player one summer. I listen to my father. Sometimes. SO! Don’t get it into your little pea brain that I want anything more than to chat you up about sports, or maybe even your favorite zoo animal. But please understand it’s only because I’m curious. I have no desire to get into your gross, sweaty jock strap.

So that’s that. I’m a female sports blogger who isn’t afraid to talk about someone’s derriere and then meet him face to face and have a serious discussion about game strategy. If bloggers are fan advocates then I’m just being a female fan advocate; we care about the game, but we also care about how big someone’s arms are.

Samantha Lewis is the Creative Director of North Shore Editorial and can be found on Twitter here. You can read more from her at Beantown Athletic Supporters. Just to reiterate, she is not interested in your jock strap.



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