LION Newspaper

Girl’s got Game

Mikaela Larson, Sports Editor

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Yes, I can drop a fact on why it made sense Mayweather would beat McGregor. Yes, I can explain to you why the Oilers will win the Stanley Cup in the next five years. Yes, I can debate for hours on why Jake Arrieta is not worth the money. And yes, I realize it’s rare for a girl to have this much sports knowledge, but I am fed up and tired of people finding the need to tell me that.

For as long as I can remember sports have had a hold on me. Whether that be waking up every morning to watch Stuart Scott on Sportscenter before school or balancing two of my own travel sports, it has been my life, to say the least. From an early age I recognized that I was not going to be the best female athlete to ever exist. While I dreamt of playing college hockey for the four-time NCAA Champion Wisconsin Badgers, I more or less realized that I had a better chance of being struck by lightning.

That’s when my next plan came to fruition, I would be the next Hannah Storm. She can pull stats out of thin air and tell you more about your favorite team than you know. She busted down barriers left and right, finding the formula to make it in a cutthroat, male dominated industry like sports journalism.

Upon googling “ESPN female anchors” to simply find the ratio of men to women at the network, I instead discovered the first thing to pop up on suggested searches was “ESPN female anchors legs.” How can a woman ever be taken seriously if there are a multitude of YouTube videos dedicated to their calves? Yes, they may be larger than the average female, but that is also because they were DI athletes! Strength in women, either physically or mentally carries a stigma of being a cold bitch and the sports industry has been the slowest to modify their views on women and power.

The largest offender comes from the frat house favorite: Barstool Sports. With posts on their Instagram titled “Daily Smokeshow” they are constantly degrading women by objectifying their bodies with the most obscene and offensive comments imaginable. They are not helping their cause when the only time they ever have women featured is with their vlog segment titled “Chicks in the Office” where women can be seen discussing hickies and Justin Bieber, the least hard-hitting sports journalism I’ve ever heard of.

Some female anchors have come out and said they feel the need to be sexy and dress provocatively on camera in order to be considered credible. In an interview with HBO’s show Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Charissa Thompson explained how at first she dyed her hair black for credibility in order to rid herself of the blonde girl, “Barbie image”. But instead of getting attention for her reporting, websites such as DeadSpin commented on her transition to ugliness in an article titled “Charissa Thompson Continues Down Suicidal Path to Frumpyville.” Upset with the unexpected negative backlash, Thompson went back to her iconic blonde locks to which DeadSpin titled a new article on her “Charissa Thompson Returns to Bonerville.” After seeing this, I honestly did not know where to begin. How can any decent human being write that about someone else and how can any news outlet have the AUDACITY to post that. Thompson is trying to make a living doing something she is truly passionate about and instead of being recognized for her sideline reporting and ability to quickly turn a story, DeadSpin responded to her professionalism in the most mysogonistic and unprofessional way by saying “If this is an attempt for Thompson to be taken more seriously as a sideline reporter, somebody should shake her before this goes too far.” Before what goes too far? Her caring about her career more than her cleavage? Her deciding that professionalism is more important than appearing sexy on camera?

Women in sports is nothing new, yet people still find the need to comment on any girl who can hold a conversation with intelligence. Women are watching sports more than ever before so obviously it makes sense they would also have an understanding and reputable analysis of the game. Yes, I am a sports editor for one of the nation’s best high school newspapers, why are you so surprised?

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The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years
Girl’s got Game