New experiences as the only woman in sports reporting

Rachel Jones

When I started writing for the sports section last semester, I was one of two females on staff.

This semester, I was the lone woman in the sports corner. And I have experienced three things that have never happened to me before:

I had athletes look me in the eye for an entire interview.

Usually, male athletes would rather get back to doing their sport instead of talking to me about it. They often look around the room and tap their feet, waiting for me to stop my recorder. Or they get bored and just look at my chest.

But this semester, I covered field hockey. It was refreshing to interview the players and coach Kathleen Wiler. Not only were these women excited to talk about their season, but they also made eye contact throughout our entire conversations.

I saw people obsess over fantasy football leagues.

Now, my dad has created fantasy teams before, so I am quite familiar with the format. But I’ve never seen people watch a game on TV and online and check teams’ websites for updates on players at the same time — just to see how their fantasy teams were holding up. And I’m pretty sure I heard, “Well, my fantasy season is over,” at least three times every Sunday.

I’ve been apologized to more times than I can count.

I’m all for politeness and manners, but it seemed like the men I worked with this semester were constantly censoring themselves. The older reporters at men’s basketball press conferences would say, “Excuse me, miss” or “I’m sorry you had to hear that, ma’am” after every cuss word or hurtful comment said. In the newsroom, I heard conversations about who’s hotter quickly followed by, “Oh. Sorry, Rachel.” Nothing anyone said was ever offensive, but it was nice they cared to apologize.

I can’t wait to find out what I’ll experience next semester.

Contact sports reporter Rachel Jones at [email protected].