Updated: Feb 4, 2022
It's about hockey! ...Or maybe it's about me.
My family has been long-time Dallas Stars fans.
I always tell people when they ask how I got into hockey that my parents were going to the playoff games in ’99 when the Stars won the cup. And eventually that fanship got passed down to me somehow.
I say somehow because no one in my family has ever played hockey. My dad has two younger brothers and they were probably involved with every sport under the sun growing up- except hockey.
And I was pretty athletic myself, having played basketball in growing up and in highschool. But that didn’t really explain where or why the love for the sport grew so deep.
Maybe it was a bandwagon. Maybe since the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999, they just decided from there they were hockey fans and from then on out that was it. I was suckered in by extension.
But it’s more than that.
I went to my first game around 6-years-old. From the likes of the gold face painted star you would think my sister and I went to a carnival or fair or something.
I don’t remember much, other than the Stars were playing the Vancouver Canucks and at the time the Sedin twins were still on the team. I couldn’t make out that there were 2 of them and kept getting confused about where the puck was.
And then the Stars won in a shoot-out, and I felt bad that the other team got scored on and lost.
Now… not so much.
Now there is no mercy when I’m yelling in the stands of a crowded home arena. Class, yes (I would like to think I have that as a fan).
But this isn’t where I became so entrenched in the sport that I decided I wanted it to be my life’s work.
Let’s take it back a step.
I don’t remember going to a game after the shoot-out versus the Canucks. Not up until I was around 15 and a sophomore in high-school. My uncle took me and my cousin to a Stars versus Panthers game. There was a big fight, and my intrigue was through the roof.
I had never seen a sport let the players hash it out before, and the speed of the game was alluring. I liked the energy in the rink. I hadn’t felt that alive in a long time. It’s like the energy was humming under my skin.
I got home that night and sat my dad down, who had recorded the game earlier that evening, and made him explain EVERYTHING to me.
I was a woman obsessed.
We would sit down every night after dinner and watch the Stars. I would ask all kinds of questions and he would know the answer or look it up for me.
I learned enough about the sport to become proficient in understanding within two weeks of the Florida game.
When I watched on T.V, the Stars had a pregame show with Julie Dobbs, who was a roving reporter. She would travel with the team and deliver the best stories of the stuff happening off the ice. The team knew her well and they were so acclimated to her that a lot of her stories were personal to the players and her in-game reporting was amazing. Her knowledge of not only the stats and little nuances here and there, but the players themselves made her excellent at her job.
I realized that I could maybe be good at that, or that I wanted to be.
After going to games here and there for about a year my family started splitting season tickets with 2 other families, and we got to go quite a bit. And it was so fun.
I got the privilege to go to a few playoff games over the years, and I really thought I would major in Sports Media so that I could continue my odd little obsession as a career.
I scouted the best sports journalism schools in the country and narrowed it down to 2 I would actually be interested in attending. Arizona State and Alabama. I toured both and ended up deciding on Alabama for the whole experience it would provide me, and I felt like it was settled.
My parents were very real with me before I started college. They weren’t trying to scare me or shame the industry. I think they just wanted me to be aware of what was out in the world.
They told me how sports is a male dominated industry.
They told me that women in sports media have a harder time establishing themselves professionally because of that, among sexism and harassment.
And it scared me.
I switched my major 7 times before starting school that fall. SEVEN.
But the thing is, that is not an anomaly unfortunately.
Things like that take place regardless of the industry you decide to go in.
And I learned- eventually, that I was unhappy as a finance major, much to everyone's shock. (Not really!)
But during the time I was procrastinating my calling in the sports media industry, I stopped watching hockey- mostly due to lack of cable in my dorm but alas… I thought that because I wasn’t pursuing it as a career, I couldn’t enjoy it anymore.
Which was wrong, wrong, wrong.
I remember my winter break coming home after my first semester at college, and my sister, our best friend, and my cousins were all obsessed with NHL trivia and stats after a game we had good tickets to. We would quiz each other like Bardown and see who could answer the most right, or come up with the best questions. We would all get together and watch the games at home in the comfort of our living rooms, and I think I fell back in love with the sport then.
After 3 more miserable semesters as a finance major, I was ready to call it dunzo with Alabama. I thought I was homesick. Turns out I don’t have a passion for numbers or those stupid little graphs they make you plot for economics.
But I do have a passion for sports, and how they bring people together, and what makes an athlete human instead of a celebrity, and how do we tell exciting game stories, while also having fun, and telling people the moving stuff. The stuff that they need to hear.
So I switched my major.
And it felt like my life went to full-speed acceleration.
I thought it was too late for me to get back into the swing of things half-way through college, but a whole new world opened up for me.
I interned at a radio station, doing talk breaks between music. But I was also covering Men and Women’s basketball for the University through the station, and got to do a press conference with Nate Oats.
I remember on that zoom call with at least 30 other beat writers or reporters that I was the only woman.
It was my first professional press conference, and I was sick with nerves that I was going to ask something stupid, or all the men would laugh, or that Coach would berate me after arguably their worst loss of the season against Arkansas. But I sucked it up and actually asked a question.
Nate Oats was very nice to me considering the circumstances. I definitely fangirled a little after the conference was over.
But it felt like a good step. Like a start.
After that I weaseled my way into the broadcast department for Alabama Hockey, and somehow became the Head of Broadcast after only 8 months working for the program.
And it has been a dream.
Not everything has gone smoothly or the way that I wanted it to. But it felt like that big looming question of “who am I? What am I meant to be doing with my life?” has been answered to some degree. Like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my life.
And if it wasn’t for Delaney I wouldn’t be here a part of that program, or starting this insane, wonderful platform and typing this out to you guys.
I feel like she’s my platonic soulmate- she’s the yin to my yang. Where she excels I struggle and where I excel she struggles and our whole working relationship is building each other up and having the other person fill in the gaps where needed. We complement each other well in many degrees.
We have similar visions. We both have a passion for sports and we want to help other people skip the mistakes that we did, or know that there isn’t one linear path to doing what you want to do and becoming who you want to become.
“There isn't one linear path to doing what you want to do and becoming who you want to become."
And I’m not going to sit here and say that we did it the right way or that we’re perfect. I know I still have a long way to go to be who and what I want professionally, but I think it will be fun if you get to learn with us. If you can come along for the ride.
All of this to say, this is a topic so close to my heart, and I am thrilled not only to be sharing my passion and love for sports, but to create a platform that can give insight and mentorship to girls that are in the same position I was in: unsure if this is an industry they could make it in, or feeling unprofessional because of a lack of experience.
I want you to know this platform is for you.