Preparation Is Non-Negotiable: It’s going to be difficult to just get in there with the boys. That attitude is built-in. But what they think and what you do are two different things.
Make it impossible for them to doubt you. Or, most importantly, make it impossible for you to doubt yourself. Confidence comes from knowing yourself and your ability. It isn’t about impressing others, but doing your job to the absolute fullest.
Be Kind: I’ve never understood being blatantly mean-spirited or excluding any new writer. It’s been done to me and, frankly, I experience it still. There are always going to be colleagues that aren’t going to be supportive of you. Cliques are formed. A lot of guys weren’t the cool jocks in school, so being a sportswriter is about the closest they’re going to get. The ego trip can get heavy. And there’s so much competition today that I’ll assume the egos are worse than ever. Ultimately, who the hell cares if the guy sitting next to you in the press box likes you or wants to talk to you?
Instead of focusing on colleagues that treat you poorly, focus on the ones that you have a positive relationship with and are happy to chat with you. Remember that you’re making personal and professional connections every step of the way. Also, learn from the jerks. Know that’s not how you want to be and be welcoming to every new, young writer shaking in their boots…or high heels.
Flag ‘Em: Know that you have a right to be respected. If colleagues or players are harassing you and you know a line has been crossed, don’t hesitate to go to the higher ups and inform them.
I repeat, you have a right to be respected. When you’re doing your job, I don’t care if they think you’re cute, stupid, or just don’t belong. It ain’t up to them. No one can get away with treating you as anything but a professional.
No Crying: This is also non-negotiable. I’ve been humiliated, pushed around, called filthy names, and been told to leave the clubhouse for no other reason but that I’m a woman. You have to keep your chin up, do the work, and remind yourself why you chose to work in sports. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, and if it’s what you’re passionate about, don’t let your insecurities or the challenges take any of that away from you.
This will be a regular addition to the site. I’ll feature advice from other women in the industry to inspire, encourage, and guide young women along.