The prospect of graduating in May has led me to a self-examination crisis. I like sports and writing: why not sports journalism? So crazy it just might work.
I am fascinated that sports connect both local and international communities. Especially in Montreal, where la ville est hockey. Montreal has a large community of sports journalists, many of whom are female. These women probably also wondered once about the obstacles of working in a male-dominated field. They ought to remember their own hardships and have advice about what to expect. Of course they would share their experience with a bright-eyed young woman to whom they could pass the torch. Or not, as I soon found out.
I took a shot in the dark. I emailed four prominent Montreal-based sports journalists, two male and two female. The emails were polite and inquisitive. I asked broad questions, hoping for whatever answers I could get. I asked about their experience and the volatility of the profession. Sports journalism is a field predominantly occupied by men; as a woman, I framed my queries realistically. I wanted to know what adversities I could expect and whether credibility was an issue.
Within the hour, my inbox had three replies. The two male journalists offered to meet to discuss the finer details of sports journalism. Neither believed that credibility would be an issue if I worked to always be at the top of my game. One even provided better email addresses for one of the women that I had already contacted and another female sports journalist. My chutzpah paid off!
I was feeling pretty good about myself until I read the third response from one of the women. She wrote that it wasn’t all free hockey tickets and good-looking athletes. On the bright side, she noted, if I was hot, I could always go into sports broadcasting. Capping off the patronising email, I was horrified to find a “lol.” Why not shoot an emoticon through my very heart and soul? It was not so much the use of the expression but its context. I was hoping for serious answers and her reply was discouraging. She criticized the broadness of my questions and when I sent another, more specific email, I received no reply. Thus far, the two other women that I contacted have yet to answer.
Here’s to inspiring a future generation and gender solidarity. Is it possible that brilliant women in their fields avoid helping fellow women? I cannot imagine why the prospect of being my Yoda does not entice these women to help out a young Skywalker such as myself. Why wouldn’t they want to help change the face of their profession? Perhaps my interest is a threat, but it seems ridiculous that the prospect of a young woman with a modicum of sports knowledge could strike fear in the hearts of established women with successful careers. And could it be that this happens in all professional fields?
All I was looking for was a little hope in email form. It is absurd that the male Baby-Boomer-aged journalists were more willing to help out than the thirty-something women. Also, I sent these emails from my McGill email address, not something silly like firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am concerned about my findings; women should be sticking out for each other, regardless of age, profession, or looks. We should spend more time helping each other. So I must go down this path pseudo-alone, without the guidance of my journalistic sisters. However, if this crazy pipe-dream does take me anywhere, let this article decree that if a future inquisitive young’un sends me an email, I will most definitely help a gal out, without the “lol.”
Kelly Albert is a U3 English Literature student. Contact her at email@example.com, especially if you’re a female sports writer.