I’m not a writer.
That’s what I’ve been telling acquaintances (and my mother) for years. I’m an editor. A copy editor, mostly. My job (when I have one) is (usually) to improve a piece of writing that already exists. I don’t create, I perfect.
Okay, but what if I want to create? A little bit. Sometimes. Like, as a treat. What if I wanted to pick back up with the college sports column I launched for WaPo Express three weeks before Express was abruptly shut down?
It was supposed to be called Amateur Hour. Get it? My editors wouldn’t sign off on it, concerned that it would imply that I didn’t know what I was doing.. By the time I came up with another option, Receiving Votes, it was too late.
If you know me, you probably know that I moved to D.C. in April to work at Express. I was newly divorced, had lived in Kansas City less than a year, and was recovering from a long bout of unemployment at my new content marketing job. It wasn’t a good time to move across the country, but the sports editor position was so perfect for me that I had to take it. For five months, I loved every single minute of being a journalist at The Post (in that building! The fancy one with the sign!) and then one day it was gone.
If you really know me, you know that I don’t get out of bed most days. I mean, I take the dog outside a few times a day and wander upstairs for food, but then it’s back to bed. I am not so depressed that I can’t make it to the grocery store or even an occasional happy hour that I can’t afford and feel guilty about, but I don’t enjoy the things I used to. The Chiefs, my favorite NFL team, who play at a stadium 60 miles from my childhood home, won the Super Bowl after a 50-year drought and all I felt was numb, and then eventually kind of alone. The medical interventions designed to keep me alive — antidepressants I’ve been taking for years — are doing their part, but the light inside is gone.
There is one thing that makes me want to keep trying: female sports writers being excellent. Watching APSE awards roll out recently and seeing names like Mina Kimes, Sally Jenkins, Jenni Carlson, Mirin Fader stick out in a sea of guy names reminded me that I’m chasing something. They’re all writers, of course, and we’ve already established that I am not a writer. But 90 percent of sports editors are men. Being in that other 10 percent made me feel like I was special, like I could really do something cool, like I could really be excellent.
This is a long way of saying that my newsletter will be about college sports, mostly. It will include links to the best stories I read that week — by women, mostly. It will also include a photo of my dog, Lavender. My hope is to stoke that dim, fragile little flame inside of me enough to stay warm.
I’ll try not to write it from my bed.
Here is the photo of Lavender, as promised.
Now, on to the links!
This week was the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant. A lot of words on the internet were (understandably) devoted to Kobe and his impact, but Mirin Fader explored how we’ll remember Gigi in The Legacy of Mambacita.
You heard about the Zamboni driver who stepped in for the Hurricanes to stop eight of the Maple Leafs’ 10 shots and become the first backup goalie to ever win a game, right? One of my favorite beat writers, Sara Civian, broke down this incredible storyline for The Athletic: The Leaf’s didn’t ‘lose to a Zamboni driver’ — the Hurricanes won for Dave Ayres.
If you don’t know about Sabrina Ionescu, you’ve got some homework to do before next week. Start with Natalie Weiner’s piece on the first Division I player to reach 2,000 points and what it all means: Sabrina Ionescu’s triumph shows how much we gain by embracing women in sports.
This is technically from last week but is especially relevant to my interests: How boosting its coverage of female athletes rejuvenated Telegraph Sport. Lindsay Gibbs (who has her own newsletter, called Power Plays, about sexism in sports) spoke to sports editor Anna Kessel, who saw there’s a market for women’s sports and went after it.
Did you read something cool this week? Shoot me the link and maybe I’ll include it next week.