Wasilewski: Hack reflects on being the girl in sports

first_img Published on April 26, 2020 at 12:07 am My first few semesters working in-house, if anyone in the sports office said something remotely idiotic or made any kind of faux pas, they were sent on a lap, typically by the sports editor. Laps have since become a thing of the past. When I started in sports though, everyone was sent on a lap for one thing or another. It took about a month for me to take my first lap, and I guarantee I made some brilliantly terrible puns during that month that were completely lap worthy. But, it took a slip of the tongue, a use of the magic word we, to finally get the staff to send me around the house for the first time. The thing is, it was that punishment that finally made me feel a part of the sports staff. The thing is, for my first three years at The Daily Orange, my most consistent title was the girl in sports. New people would come into the office and introductions would go around. Someone would slip that phrase in when introducing me. It was my badge and I wore it every day. It’s pretty self-explanatory, no other girl stayed like I did. Many would make fleeting appearances, get a byline, an introduction at Sunday meetings and then be gone. So it was just me. Second semester freshman year was the first time I remember someone calling me the girl in sports. I was walking into Newhouse and someone stopped me and asked if I was that girl. I remember feeling proud. I was the girl who did what many before me didn’t. I stuck around and kept writing despite a completely male section. That feeling of pride’s worn off. Every time that phrase was used it was a reminder that one of us was not like the others. That for me to know, enjoy and understand sports was some kind of undaunted feat. For everyone else in that office it was a given. I was a member of the sports staff. Except I wasn’t, not quite. I was the girl on the sports staff. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMaybe I was paranoid, but my first month working as a copy editor in-house I thought I was disrupting whatever perfectly crafted, male-dominated ecosystem I thought the sports office was. I was the only girl I had ever seen spend any kind of work-related time in that room. I was scared they would resent me for being there, that I was encroaching on some testosterone-laced haven.I feared the rest of the staff wouldn’t take my sports knowledge as seriously. I spent all of high school throwing people off with my sports-related takes. I was concerned that the sports staff would see me the same way. More importantly, I was terrified that I wouldn’t know the name of an athlete or a specific rule and then, instead of being seen as a member of the sports staff, I would perpetuate the stereotype that girls don’t know as much as guys about sports. I didn’t want to set myself back, to lessen any respect I might have in the eyes of everyone in the sports office.I remember the first major copy edit I made to a big story. The story was for lacrosse guide, which meant it went through three or four people and one round of copy editing before it got to me. So, when I saw it said a defender would guard the opposing team’s top defender, I was confused. The sentence made no sense to me. But the story had already gone through how many people and no one caught the error, so maybe it was right. I texted my dad and my brother asking if it made sense. Both said no. So after worrying about that one edit for longer than I care to admit, I texted the writer a full paragraph explaining why I thought it was wrong. He told me I was right and I changed it. The whole time I was worried that if I was wrong, the rest of the sports staff wouldn’t respect me in the same way.The thing is though, I don’t think I really was the girl in sports to the sports staff, at least most of the time. I was the one who wore dresses and occasionally made them listen to Taylor Swift and enjoyed the idea of completely defacing the 744 ceiling. I know now that those guys have my back; I have their respect. They spent the past few years enduring my fantastic puns, brilliant ideas and the occasional rant. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the girl in any other office. I hope that title dies, the girl in sports. I hope that women with an appreciation for sports aren’t singled out, made to feel alien. I hope for the future of women in sports. It shouldn’t be seen as some great achievement for a woman to be working in sports media. The women I know in this field are incredible, capable people and deserve to be respected as such. And the future is looking up. While I’m leaving, two women are taking my place. Two women will be in the sports office late at night next semester. They won’t be the girls in sports, but women working in the sports section. And I am so damn proud. Kaci Wasilewski was a senior staff writer at The Daily Orange, where her column will no longer appear. She can be reached at  [email protected] or on Twitter at @Kaci_Waz.– 30 — Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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