The evolution of the female fan
When I first started sports reporting back in 1985, I worked with a female camera person and a female audio tech. We called ourselves the “broad squad.”
More often that not, we were the selected crew to go gather Red Sox postgame sound for the 11 p.m. news. There we were bouncing down Storrow Drive in a big box van, lamenting the fact that we would be subject to more ridicule and lewd remarks.
Back in those days, I was the only female television reporter in the Red Sox clubhouse as well as the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins locker rooms. The all-boys club was slowly being infiltrated by women, and it was not a fun place to be.
I tell people now that I was less nervous skating in the Olympics than I was going into those locker rooms.
As a reporter, I was constantly reminded to use my observation skills at all times. Given that I was trying to do my job in area where men were dressing, undressing and showering, that posed a problem.
How do you use your observation skills and still try “not to look?”
Through the years, as more women got into the field, teams figured out how to make things less “awkward” for the players. The great Red Auerbach issued his Celtics long white robes to wear out of the showers. Whether they actually put them on was optional, but it was a good try.
Thankfully things have changed for the better in my industry. These days female reporters are every where. Today’s player knows that women will be in the locker room and asking their questions just like their male colleagues. For the most part, women are respected, and any kind of disrespect is not tolerated by the management of the teams or the leagues.
Most professional locker rooms and club houses these days have private areas for players to shower, dress and hang out — although the visitors clubhouse at Fenway Park does not look like it’s been updated since the ballpark opened 100 years ago.
Players lightened up on me in the early ’90s when I had three kids in four years. Players weren’t going to pick on a pregnant woman, although Kevin McHale liked to parade in front of me with a basketball stuck up his jersey which always got a good laugh.
During my 25 years in the trenches of sports, I witnessed some amazing things. I covered four Super Bowls, two World Series Championships, two NBA finals, an NHL final, and three Olympic Games. The snow game, the Red Sox ending the curse, and Ray Bourque lifting the Cup were among my favorites.
I witnessed the rise of the female sports reporter, and I also noticed the evolution of the female sports fan. In the ’80s, the female fan was a nobody. In the ’90s, she put on a pink hat, and by the new millennium, she was in a league of her own.
Everywhere I went I met women who watched the games and knew the score. Whether it was at a conference table or at a soccer field, I could hear the discussion:
“Did you watch the game last night?”
“Why did Belichick go for it on fourth-and-2?”
“Why didn’t Grady pull Pedro?”
“Tyler Seguin skates like the wind, and he’s cute too.”
“Did you see Gisele fire back at that Giants fan?”
We all watch the same games, but I discovered most women want something different after the final whistle. Women watch sports through an emotional lens; they gravitate to the “stories”, not so much the stats. This female fan longs to know more about the person behind the player.
I started thinking how great it would be to build a product dedicated to women who love sports, or even sort of love sports, and if they are not into sports at all, to give them a reason to care.
She’s Game Sports is not an exclusive club. We think there are plenty of men out there who will appreciate our content. It’s our intent to inspire, entertain and engage people with sports stories “from the heart.”
We are very excited to be partnered with Boston.com. and we look forward to sharing our views and opinions on everything from football to figure skating.