Friday, November 27, 2009

On the subject of women in sportscasting...

I'm all far equity in sportscasting if it means I get to hang around Vinny. Oops - I just set the movement back, didn't I?

... we've been on the sidelines for years - you've seen those women: the obnoxious, spaced out sideline girl during football games, giving you inane commentary and asking the players (who don't take her seriously) "hard hitting" questions. Erin Andrews is currently the go-to gal for women in sportscasting, though she's a pleasant change considering the fact that she actually watches the sports she covers. Generally, though, there aren't a ton of women aside from talking heads on ESPN who actually really cover sports.

The sport that's breaking down those barriers faster than any other is hockey. Take a look at The Hockey Writers' list of correspondents. Other than myself, there are three women covering teams. There's a Hockey Girl feature over on Hendrick's Hockey. James of Cycle Like the Sedins fame is planning an awesome round-table of lady hockey bloggers.

Sarah Spain
is the most recent lady blogger/hockey fan/object of men's non-platonic affection, though she does have the questionable taste to be a fan of Chicago sports. In solidarity and as a fellow female blogger, I might almost forgive her for that.

Anywho, it's becoming more and more "the norm" to see women attending bloggers' days hosted by NHL teams, and seeing ladies contribute on blogs across SB Nation. What is still a bit un-normal is the presence of women on broadcasts who are substantial. Christine Simpson, brother of Stanley Cup winner Craig Simpson, was the "between the boxes" girl (hee) on Versus up until this season. Her presence lent the broadcast a sense of validity seeing as how she actually has a hockey background (she worked for 10 years for Rogers' Sportsnet as a features reporter, as well as for the HHOF), though she is the queen of inappropriate age related questions - ask Dougie Weight. Since I had DirecTV up until today, I haven't gotten a chance to see the new lady on Versus, though I haven't heard scads of positive things.

Sherry Ross has been the color analyst for years on the New Jersey Devils radio broadcasts, and has long been considered the torchbearer as far as women being seriously considered as sports journalists/analysts. Wednesday, though, she became the first woman to call play by play on a television broadcast. What does that mean for the rest of us female hockey armchair analysts? Is this the end of us being mistaken for puck bunnies (just because we can recognize an attractive man does NOT mean that's the reason we like the sport)? Gentlemen who run major hockey blogs seem to almost be actively seeking out the "female point of view," which, surprisingly, turns into analysis. Not "women oriented." It's just an analysis of the sport. Why is it so difficult for people to understand that women are just as capable of rattling off stats as men?

I've had a few guys tell me that it's a turn on (not like that; get your mind out of the gutter) to be able to talk to a woman who can hold her own in a hockey conversation. That might be because of a shared enjoyment of the sport, or maybe that's because some guys like women who aren't twits. This is an all-call to the men who wander across this blog - share your opinions in the comments. What about women and hockey mix so well? Do you enjoy having a lady know as much about the sport as you? And, do you really think the gender thing is overblown? I'm just as comfortable around fellas as I am around women, so do you think that the concern about the lack of women sportscasters and the brou-ha-ha is misplaced?


CLS said...

Things like women getting broadcasting gigs is just going to take some time.

First things first, a non-ex-NHL-er (that's a lot of dashes) already has the deck stacked against him/her when it comes to getting such a job. You're almost guaranteed to do play by play or nothing. That alone kind of annoys me.

That means that, NHL-wise, you're competing for 30 jobs and many of those have deeply entrenched talent.

There are so many local hacks (really) that I'd be glad to have someone competent - male or female - in the booth. Simply watch NHL on the Fly and you'll see that local hockey announcing is still primitive.

Ironic captcha: "proman"

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