March 8th has been given the title of “International Women’s Day,” so apparently us ladies get only one day of the year to be appreciated for all the amazing things we do. We can for sure get into the political side of this, but for the sake of argument I won’t.
There are so many influential females in the sporting world who don’t get enough credit day in and day out. Although ESPN is currently running a “Women Making History” month campaign (which I admire), I still don’t think it’s enough.
For starters, the UConn women’s basketball team… These ladies are currently on a 107 game win streak headed into the NCAA tournament. This is one of the longest streaks in collegiate sports history, and yet it wasn’t being talked about until it reached the number 100. Granted, the girls absolutely crush whatever team they play by like 50 points, that doesn’t mean they can’t be appreciated. We see teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers on ESPN every day whether they win or lose, gawking over how great Lebron is or what crazy ball handling Kyrie put on display. What we rarely see are UConn highlights unless it’s so major it physically can’t be ignored. The other night in their conference championship game, sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson went 10/10 from beyond the arc; something no one in the NBA has ever done. Guess how many times I heard about it or saw a highlight of it?
Next up we have Danica Patrick, the most successful woman driver in stock car racing. Let’s just look at her list of achievements since breaking through in 2005.
- First woman to win an Indy Car Series race
- First woman to lead the Indy 500
- First woman to lead the Daytona 500
- First woman to win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole
Those are just four of many, and yet what is the first thing you think of when you hear her name? Probably her looking all hot and seductive in GoDaddy commercials.
Serena Williams is one of the most successful female tennis players, who has ranked number one in the world seven times. SEVEN TIMES. She’s an unreal athlete who is the idol to millions of little girls everywhere, and yet she gets criticized more than she gets praised. Why? Because of her body. It’s almost as if she’s expected not to have muscle despite the fact her career is physically trying. Do you think her signature serve would be as powerful without all that muscle? The answer is no, it wouldn’t.
I’ve been an athlete my entire life, spending the majority of my childhood being made fun of for always wanting to play sports with the boys at recess, or being so passionate about my teams. Now, it’s hard trying to break into the sports media industry considering I’m a female. I’ve been doing this writing thing for a little over a year now and I’m so thankful for the people who continuously read and support my work, but I can’t help but feel like my popularity would increase if I were a male. The reason I say this is because I’ve had someone tell me, “No one wants to read sports opinions from a girl.” This makes me laugh even now just thinking about how many female journalists and broadcasters are in this industry, with their success growing each and every day. Hannah Storm, Linda Cohn, Erin Andrews… Hannah has her own Sports Center show. Linda has done over 5000 episodes of Sports Center. Erin is usually the first person (not female, person) you think of when you think sideline reporting.
There are so many women in sports we should be thankful for, it’s almost impossible for me to name them all. All our female olympians, national teams, professional athletes, media members… We are so lucky to have them represent us in an industry that’s so male oriented. I can’t wait for the day where we don’t need to dedicate a day or a month to appreciating women, it should be something done every day.