This past weekend, I ventured out to the old confines of the Alfred J Loos Stadium in Addison, Texas. The event was to decide which gridiron team would go on to Los Angeles for the annual championship of their respective 2015 season. It pitted the visiting Surge of San Diego against the hosting Elite of Dallas. One quick side note: if a team name is meant to represent something on which that city is based, is there any doubt what “Elite” means for this Dallas squad? Yes, that was a silent nod to “America’s Team.” My apologies to the REST of the football nation.
As is customary, at least for ME, I arrived to the game early. If there is a distinctive term for being earlier than early, then this would be the time and place to use it. As it happens, a friend and former classmate of mine (from American Broadcasting School) would be gearing up for this match, as a piece of the defensive front for Dallas. She had already properly warned me on Facebook that “I wasn’t ready for this kind of action!” It was merely a friendly taunt, yes, but would a player on just any ordinary football team say such a thing? I hasten to wonder, but can only achieve an unclear, ambiguous response. Clarity and ambiguity aside, it did not take long for me to realize that when the pads and helmets are thrown on, all I see is a football player.
(That’s right, read back a few lines. I said “she.”)
At the onset of the warm-ups, the two teams defined themselves for what the outcome of the big game would ultimately be: one team was quiet and uninspiring to watch, and the other was loose and enthusiastic. If you ever get to see any pregame warm-ups, do not neglect what your instincts would tell you about each and every player on their respective teams. As I once heard Robert Parish say in his prime with the Boston Celtics of the 1980s, they often could sense whether a team was ready to win or lose just based on how they looked when they were warming up on the court right before the game. If you know anything about the Celtics of that era, then you can imagine what the results were about 90% of the time.
The fans, in decent numbers for the Dallas faithful, were exuberant and undaunted. Even when the San Diego Surge took a 14-8 lead into the 2nd quarter and marched down the field for a potential double-digit lead, they never seemed to lose their confidence, nor did the Elite players on the field. What looked like an overmatched defense in the early goings for Dallas quickly tightened like a vice grip midway through the game. By halftime, it was 22 all and in the 3rd quarter, Dallas gained a 28-22 advantage. Some questionable penalties attributed to the Elite offense, often times negating a large gain or even a touchdown to widen the lead, kept San Diego just within striking distance.
As the 4th quarter was set to begin, I overheard the rowdy bench of the Dallas Elite echoing what I can only assume is a routine chant in such situations: “We all we got! We all we need! We all we got! We all we need!” Did they know they were in trouble, only ahead by a mere six points? Did they know they were going to have the kind of 4th quarter that only championship-caliber teams are capable of having in such a big game? Did the fans share the same emotional sentiment as they chanted along with the team from the hard, aluminum bleachers?
By the 11-minute mark on the countdown clock, the lead had expanded to 34-22. The players embraced the audience, ushering in a seemingly premature celebration for the win. Perhaps it was I who was out of touch as a spectator and fan. Three consecutive turnovers for the Surge led to three quick touchdowns for the Elite, and suddenly, the game was out of reach with just under half a quarter still to play. I was mesmerized by the fierce, combative energy the Dallas Elite displayed once they had the game in hand. Their tenacity, in the midst of team struggles for much of the first three quarters, was inspiring. I was NOT just watching “football chicks” aspiring to be something they could never be. They WERE what they sought to be. They ARE what they say they are, and it is SO much more than a casual moniker.
When you attend a game in the Women’s Football Alliance, you can forget about the “no frills” experience of the presentation. I, myself, enjoyed a homemade brisket sandwich straight from a grill on the footsteps of the stadium. I sang the Star-Spangled Banner along with the crowd, hat off, facing the national flag, led by a team captain of the Dallas Elite. I smiled with a wide grin, consistently, when the un-uniformed mascot/cheerleader for the Elite urged the team and fans on with anticipation for “DE-FENSE!”
I rushed the field after the game, with the rest of the fans, to feel the elation and spirits of sweat, Gatorade and water, as the team excitedly celebrated their bid to fight for the 2015 League Championship. The Dallas Elite will head to Los Angeles to play the D.C. Divas for the National Title on August 8, 2015, at Los Angeles Southwest College.
I forgot about all those fancy, typical football frills because the product I saw in Alfred J Loos Stadium that night was all that mattered. Football is football! Period.
Diane Sevenay returns, reluctantly, to share a filthy, yet factual, account of LeSean McCoy‘s party lifestyle. Well, at least we think it’s factual. Hell, it’s probably not. Eff it. We need the page views. We should probably also warn you about a couple of mature topics within this article. Don’t read this to your kiddies before naptime. Or ever, really.
The Buffalo Bills traded for running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy to bring a little “heat” to their backfield. However, this week’s news was not what the Bills had in mind. Multiple media outlets reported that McCoy posted an invitation to a private “females only” party, and the general response was disgust. Well, not to brag or anything, but I happened to attend McCoy‘s party last year, so maybe I could shine a light on what “Shady” is all about.
I received the invitation last July. Females only? That could mean only one thing: ORGY. Of course I was interested. I put on my best orgy outfit, laced up my fanciest orgy shoes, and I put on my prettiest orgy smile. I was totally ready to put more than several penises inside me. Yup, it was just like any Saturday night.
So, I get there, and there’s more security than I’ve ever seen. I have to give them several DNA samples, some “stem cells,” and all of my Social Security and banking information. This was a small price to pay for what was to be the wildest night of my life.
I can remember walking into the club; you could only imagine what I saw. Women as far as the eye can see, doing things that I didn’t even know existed…Spa treatments, facials, homeopathic massage. There was an omelette station that featured fresh organic kale. A Pilates class was in full swing. Sara Bareilles played piano. And in the center of it all, LeSean McCoy released a flock of doves flying in a formation that spelled out the word “FEMALE.”
I soon found myself exchanging recipes with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeliene Albright and Barbara Walters. I enjoyed a soy latte with Angelina Jolie. I was transfixed when Hillary Clinton took the stage and spoke about female empowerment. I laughed uncontrollably at the comedic stylings of Ellen DeGeneres. Then I finally I got what I came for: a little one-on-one time with LeSean McCoy.
He told me his heroes were Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, and his mother. He said that his nickname “Shady” came from how he loved to pick flowers on a shady autumn day. He said that he wished men could become pregnant; he yearned to have a life grow inside him. He read from his favorite Maya Angelou poem, and I held him as he wept.
I can only hope the young women who attend this year’s party have the same transcendent experience I was lucky enough to have. There is no more important feminist icon today than LeSean “Shady” McCoy.
Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.” Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences.
Back on October 6th, 2014, Men’s Health Magazine committed such an egregious faux pas, that the magazine was forced to do the unthinkable. They retracted an online article. In case you missed it, this is how the article read:
The Secret to Talking Sports with Any Woman (via Men’s Health Magazine)
Not all women share your passion for sports, in case you hadn’t noticed. The reason? They need story lines. “Most women don’t care about stats,” says Andrei Markovits, Ph.D., coauthor of Sportista: Female Fandom in the United States.
So while you’re enthusing about Dominic Moore’s scoring record, she’d rather hear about how he supported his wife’s battle with cancer—and even took a season off from the NHL at the height of his career. Treat your heroes as people and not just players on a field and you’ll suck her in. Just don’t expect her to wear the foam finger.
There are a lot of women who make a living covering sports.
Everyone who follows sports knows who Pam Oliver, Erin Andrews, Suzy Kolber, and others are, because of their visibility. The younger generation knows these names like they know their favorite players. The older generation will remember names like Jane Chastain, Donna De Varona, Jeannie Morris, and Phyllis George.
These women are considered the pioneers of women’s sports broadcasting in the mid to late 1960s. It is generally regarded that Chastain was the first woman to work for a large network (CBS), and thought to be the first woman to do play-by-play.
This lead to doors opening for women like Phyllis George, Jayne Kennedy, Leandra Reilly, Lesley Visser, Suzyn Waldman, Gayle Gardner, Gayle Sierens, Linda Cohn, and Hannah Storm.
In 1987 Gayle Sierens was the first (and so far only) woman to do play-by-play for a national NFL game. That Chiefs-Seahawks matchup was blacked out in Kansas City and seen by only 10 percent of the country. In 2009, Visser became the first woman to do color for a televised NFL game, a preseason matchup between the Dolphins and the Saints, and Waldman was the first woman announcer to do play-by-play for the New York Yankees.
The opportunities are there. Now, where is the talent?
Jamie Kelly, Founder and CEO of The Scoop, revealed to her Twitter audience this past Friday night that she had been given the opportunity of a lifetime.
Kelly announced that she would be doing radio play-by-play for the the Joshua Owls-Everman Bulldogs football game, airing live at samsclassicrocknroll.com. Sam Meyers, aka Slammin’ Sam Meyers, said that he was thrilled to have a female voice on the air. Meyers said, “When I got thrown into the fire and had to start doing my own broadcast, I was very uncomfortable. When a friend mentioned Jamie, I said sure bring her out. I didn’t give it a second thought about the fact that she was a female. Before the broadcast I brought up the fact that one of my favorite local DJs was a female, and I would rather hear a female voice than a male on the air. So I had no issues with her doing the broadcast based on her gender.”
Meyers went on to say, “She seemed very relaxed, and no pun intended, just literally took the ball and ran with it. She has that natural talent and ability to do play by play. Give her a few games to get her feet wet and she will be just as good as any male play by play announcer out there. She has that passion and desire to do this. That right there is what will make her successful.”
Meyers’ station is the official football voice for the Joshua Owls, a class 5A school in District 8-5A in Texas, which includes state powerhouse Aledo.
I had a chance to visit with Jamie via email about this incredible opportunity.
RG: What brought about this desire to broadcast a football game?
JK: It has always been a dream of mine, since I was a kid, to do live play-by-play for a football game. However, being a female, I knew realistically that the odds were not in my favor. When my friend Dave approached me to see if I knew anyone who could fill in for a couple weeks to finish out the radio broadcast season for Joshua High School’s varsity football team, I took a risk and volunteered myself. I know this sounds crazy to most people, but it was a dream come true for me. All of the good things in my life have come as a result of taking a risk, and I saw it as an opportunity that may never present itself again.
RG: Tell me about the experience. What made it great? What surprised you about it? Did you have any preconceived ideas as to how you were going to “make a call?”
JK: I was truly surprised at how naturally it came to me. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. There were words coming out of my mouth, but they were just flowing from some place deep within my brain. I had to go back and listen to the recording to fully appreciate everything. You know, I may not be well-versed in all things, but I am very observant. I absorb everything around me, 24/7, and information comes back to me in the exact moment that I need it. I think that being able to spontaneously recall information is a necessity in this line of work, and I was grateful for the years spent at Soccer News USA which helped me hone that practice. You can’t write notes for everything.
RG: Are you thinking about doing it again?
JK: I will absolutely be back in the booth for Joshua’s last football game of the season this Friday, November 7th, and look forward to being a regular fixture in a booth next season!
RG: Aren’t you primarily a print news journalist? You have a new project on the ground running, correct? Tell our readers more about The Scoop.
JK: What a lot of people don’t know about me is that the bulk of my experience in media has been in television. Back in the late 90s, I was a reporter for a weekly show called Soccer News USA, which aired on Fox Sports Southwest and the Pax Network. It was insane to me that there were actual paying jobs in the world that would allow me to talk about sports, and I caught the bug BIG TIME. Sports writing is a relatively new arena for me, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve had the opportunity to cover the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, and Dallas Stars, as well as work for the Dallas Mavericks as a contributor to their official website.
The Scoop was born this past August after I decided that wanted to bring a unique voice to the sports media world; lots of people write game summaries and player profiles, but very few write about sports from a fun perspective. I wanted to create an outlet for people to write stories that represent conversations you might have with your buddies while watching the game and sharing a few cold ones.
The next project on the horizon for The Scoop is The Scoop Radio, which is set to make its debut next month. We have found an incredible partner to help us attract a large listening audience, and the best news is that you will not only be able to hear our show via a live Internet stream, but we will also be available on the TuneIn Radio app. It’s a major jump for us to go from shooting a Webcast using a webcam and a laptop to broadcasting live on a radio station with actual call letters! The details are still under wraps, but I’ll have lots more to share in the next couple of weeks.
RG: What drives your desire?
JK: I’ve always been one to try and prove people wrong. If you say I can’t do something, I’m going to move heaven and earth to make sure that I not only do it, but that I do it well. This felt like one of those moments. A female doing live play-by-play for a football game is practically unheard of; however, I knew I was perfectly capable of doing it. It was a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream, and to show the world that at least for one night, a female could hold her own in a role traditionally held by men.
RG: For anyone who still thinks what guys like Joe Buck, Al Michaels, and Mark Followill do is easy, what do you say to that? Is there preparation time, what about learning terminology?
JK: I studied up on the players for each team, records, playoff situations, recent games, etc. all week. Preparation is everything. As far as the actual broadcast, I went in with the plan of just being myself. I didn’t practice any lines, or try to come up with any silly catch-phrases. My goal was to describe what was happening from a factual perspective so that those listening at home could keep up with the action on the field. And I knew that once I got settled in, my personality would start to peek out a little bit, and I’d be more comfortable making funny comments (which I did). I’ve always enjoyed the radio stylings of Eric Nadel and Brad Sham. What they do better than just about anyone is make you feel like you are in the stadium, or at the ballpark, including even the smallest details like the color of the piping on the visitors’ jerseys. All of these live broadcast professionals, especially those who are tasked with being the eyes of the home listener for a game that moves at such a rapid pace, are personal heroes of mine. You have to eat, breathe, and sleep your sport. Doing live play-by-play for high school football is a tiny microcosm of the world those folks live in, and the respect I have for the incredible job they do is immeasurable.
Jamie has a business degree from the University of North Texas and completed MBA work at West Texas A&M University. She is obviously a learned woman. The interesting tidbit to this is while her background is firmly rooted in business, she is all about the sports business. One only needs to see her work to understand and be impressed with her knowledge of just about any sport. There is no doubt, that Jamie will be successful in venture at The Scoop, but you will probably hear from her on the airwaves, too. On a personal note, I was in the radio business for over ten years, doing the same thing as she has done. Broadcasting football games, basketball games, baseball games..it is hard work. However, if you love what you do, as she clearly does, then it is HARDLY ever, work.
It’s clear that Jamie Kelly is not a one hit wonder; she may wind up back on television, if she’s not careful.
There you have it, I may have just gotten The Scoop, for you.
Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @CapnDD.
By now, I am sure you have heard about the Men’s Health Magazine piece that caused a rather sizeable uproar. It created so much backlash that MH wound up removing that post/article/blurb.
In case you missed it, here it is:
Not all women share your passion for sports, in case you hadn’t noticed. The reason? They need story lines. “Most women don’t care about stats,” says Andrei Markovits, Ph.D., coauthor of Sportista: Female Fandom in the United States. So while you’re enthusing about Dominic Moore’s scoring record, she’d rather hear about how he supported his wife’s battle with cancer—and even took a season off from the NHL at the height of his career. Treat your heroes as people and not just players on a field and you’ll suck her in. Just don’t expect her to wear the foam finger.
What may have actually been a decent point was lost in the approach. The way the piece was worded insinuated that women are not as knowledgeable about sports as men. I disagree with that. For example, I know A LOT of women who are huge baseball fans, who can tell you about RBIs, ERAs, WAR, and RISP averages. I know some females who can keep a pretty darn good game book.
I decided to try the Men’s Health approach at home with my wife while watching football recently. Surprisingly, it worked.
I found that if I made the game personal for her, she was genuinely more interested. Rather than saying, “Jason Witten is a complete tight end,” I told her about how Witten won the NFL Man of the Year Award in 2013. I told her how much he does for his foundation, how he helps the inner city youth with football camps, and how he has spoken out on domestic violence issues. She’s in. Sure, she understands the game of football, but she hated watching with me because I “yell at the TV like a madman.”
I tried the strategy again when I watched the Cowboys-Texans football game with her last week. Yes, she asked a lot of questions, but when I explained certain nuances of the game, and added personal tidbits about players, she started to “develop relationships” with them. For example, when I told her that Cowboys WR Cole Beasley went to SMU, and is from the Dallas area, she became a fan. When I told her that LB Rolando McClain had some issues off the field with maintaining his desire for the game, but is now focused on playing for his two daughters, she became a fan.
My point is this: while Men’s Health may have had a reasonable point, it was lost in the condescending message. Yes, women like sports. No, they are not dumb. They are actually, in some cases, more rabid than the male populace.
My wife tells me that she is now more willing to watch sports with me, which makes me happy. The other good thing is that when I DVR the game, I can pause it as needed to answer questions, and or share interesting tidbits about the players.
I plan on DVR’ing basketball, football, and hockey, so I can watch with her and we can enjoy sports – TOGETHER.
Oh yeah, and on one final note. We hate foam fingers. Just sayin.
Ronnie Garcia is The Voice of Reason at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @CapnDD.