Sports: no longer a man’s world

SHENIECE CHAPPELL
Sports Editor

It was Oct. 24, 2009. Alabama was leading Tennessee, 12-10. Daniel Lincoln, Tennessee’s kicker, lined up to attempt a 44-yard field goal with hopes of creating an upset and the chance to knock the Crimson Tide from the No. 2 spot in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

My dad, brother and I anxiously paced back and forth in the living room not knowing what was about to happen. Were the Crimson Tide’s dreams about to be crushed? That was a question we were all about to find out.  Alabama had an undefeated season and a chance to play for a national championship. Everything was on the line with only four seconds left in the game.

With three timeouts left, Nick Saban, Alabama’s head coach, used his first in an attempt to ice Lincoln. I looked to my dad and said, “This is do or die. We need a miracle.”

Now, I must remind you, there are only four seconds left in the game, which makes this the final play.

As both teams headed back on the field after the timeout, you could hear the beating hearts of the Alabama fans. Or maybe that was mine.

The referee blew the whistle to start the play clock.

“Blocked again. Cody again. Oh my, Alabama wins,” were the words of CBS announcer Verne Lundquist. I could not believe my eyes of what just happened as the crowd went wild. That was the day my love for sports became official.

It was not until my junior year in  high school when I decided that I wanted to major in communications with hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster. After making that decision, it was hard sticking to the idea of being on the sidelines interviewing. That was mainly because the guys I went to school with always said women know nothing about sports.

I strongly disagree with them and everyone else who agrees with them. We women know just as much as men do, and some of us probably know more.

Jane Chastain was one of the first women to make it on the sidelines. She was the first woman to serve as a sports commentator on a Major League Baseball field and in the NASCAR pits.

Cheryl Miller was the first African American woman to broadcast in sports. Miller is a former college basketball player and coach, and now reports from the sidelines. She is also the sister of former National Basketball Association star and Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, so I am pretty sure she knows what she is talking about.

Then again, your background does not make you good at something. Although this job looks easy, it takes hard work as well as research to be a sports commentator.

If you love something and enjoy doing it, then nothing should get in your way from being your best.

The love I have for sports can not be put into words. I  am not going to let the “you’re a girl so you don’t know anything” attitude stop me from becoming a sportscaster.

Instead, I am going to use those words as encouragement and motivation to prove people wrong.

As I continue to complete the steps of accomplishing my dreams, I am going to have fun. For future reference you will see me on the sidelines. Better yet, you will see me at the round table.

Sheniece Chappell is a sophomore  communications major from Houston.