Thursday, September 11, 2008

Because I Played Sports

A couple of weeks ago, my publisher at Pretty Tough sent me a link to a new sporty blog to check out. As I scrolled through the amazing blog, I literally cheered when I read the site was founded by a former Haddon Heights High School athlete. Yay, 3HS alumi! I coached softball at HHHS for a couple of years and it's a great school. Small world. :) 

Check out this interview with Because I Played Sports Editor in Chief and HHHS grad, Megan Hueter. Yesterday, she posted a story about a female kicker who was 'kicked' off her high school football team because she's a girl. Hello? It's 2008. :(

I love the name of your blog - Because I Played Sports. How did you come up with the title? 

This is a really interesting question, primarily because I've been thinking about it so much lately. I'm so glad you like it. 

When I first started my blog, the purpose was to convey a message that participation in sport is vitally important as we grow into adu
lts. My site would seek to find those stories and tell them. Then in, writing and reading, I realized that my passion primarily lies in women's sports, so now I have the female focus with a general mission of bringing a voice to women's sports online. I hope to tell more stories of how participation sports has affected successful women as I progress my writing and interviewing. 

One of the biggest messages I wanted to convey in the beginning and would still like to see more of is that of providing a supportive environment to young female athletes. I have to thank my parents for enrolling me in sports at a young age. They did a great job raising me, and were never overbearing on pushing on athletics, which (I believe) is a reason I love it so much to this day. I was taught teamwork, the importance of diversity, leadership, goal-setting, what it feels like to succeed, and what it feels like to fail. I've learned the value of hard work and the importance of asking for help. My parents have always been supportive and let me make my own decisions. I think that type of environment is important and necessary for development, and is a message I'm looking to develop as my blog continues to grow. 

Since I've shifted the focus to be more upon women's sports news lately (largely due to the Olympics) I've reconsidered the name. I've tooled with the idea of changing my site to "Because She Played Sports" to drive home my primary mission of bringing a voice to women's sports, but I've received mixed feedback. Many say that I should keep it, "Because I Played Sports" so it's not perpetuating stereotypes that already exist in the industry. What I mean here is that because a lot of sports coverage separate what is "female sports new" from what is "sports news", it's important that I remain with the neutral "I" in the name. I haven't made a decision, but I think I might keep it the way it is (to be different). But I'm always open to new feedback. 

What inspired you to start your amazing blog? 

My boss once asked me what my "dream job" would be. These days, I'd have to say that it would be to become a thought leader in the female sports industry. 

Down the road, I'd love to dedicate my entire career toward contributing toward its growth - in a fight to generate consistent, quality coverage in the media and overcome the obstacle of generating some much-needed continue corporate sponsorship. 

In a little while, I'll be revamping my site and will hopefully offer the ability to have guest bloggers. I hope to bring more voices and more stories, which will add value to the content and visibility. 

Tell me a little bit about your sport's career - highlights, best moments, honors, and awards. Do you still participate in competitive athletics today? 

I played high school basketball at Haddon Heights High School in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. My best moment is winning the conference championship my senior year. For the first time in 30 years, Haddon Heights women's basketball beat Haddonfield (school rival) in the Colonial conference championship. We did it coming from behind in the second half of the game, and performed in front of a packed gym. I don't think I'll ever be able to describe what that feels like. I'm still very good friends with many of the girls who I played with, and I'll never forget that moment. In high school, I also played softball, and it enjoyed it very much, though basketball was my true love. 

After high school, I played basketball for The College of New Jersey (Ewing, NJ). I played all foour years, and was captain my senior year. At TCNJ, my best friends (for the most part) were my teammates. During that time, I learned more about myself then I ever though possible, and I have to credit my teammates for a lot of that self-discovery (as well as some of my professors).

I still participate in competitive athletics on a recreational level. I play in an adult competitive basketball league, both coed and women. I've met some great people in DC, and I highly recommend every young professional who has (or hasn't) played sports to enroll in a local league as soon as possible. It's a great feeling to play sports for fun again (I almost forgot how that felt). It also helps keep me healthy. 

What is your favorite sport to cover? What is your favorite sport to watch? 

This is a difficult question. Since I've been blogging, I've learned so much about so many different sports. One of the things I like most about this experience is learning about events I never thought could be interesting. Living "outside the box" is a great way to look at the world and the sports industry. Women are competing on all kinds of playing fields, everywhere in the world, and they're kicking ass, which is a truly great thing to see and follow.  

Because I'm a competitive person, my favorite sport to play is, of course, basketball. That said, I'm open to new things and look forward to finally finding the time to take up new sports. I also coach AAU basketball for a group of eighth graders in Bethesda, Maryland, and I'm enjoying every second. I'm finally able to give back - it's all coming full circle for me. 

Tell me about your job. Do you work in the sports field? 

I work full-time for a public relations firm in Washington, DC. I work in online public affairs, primarily for healthcare accounts. I've learned an incredible amount about the online space, how it works and how messages are conveyed. Although I'm constantly incredibly busy, I love my job because I've learned more than I ever thought possible in such a short period of time. I hope to utilize these skills in the future. 

I don't work on sports accounts - this is purely a hobby of mine which I hope will one day turn into my dream job. Right now, I'm still learning. 

I'm in graduate school at Johns Hopkins - so I'll be going to school at night for a MA in Communications. Right now, my goal is to get my feet off the ground with my blog, lean as much as I possibly can and see where my knowledge and voice can take me. Hopefully, it's somewhere good. 

Wow, thanks, Megan!! 

In the News:  
1. Nancy Vaiu, author of SAMANTHA HANSON HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD, is donating a dollar to The National Park Foundation for every person who comments on her launch this week. Check out her launch here
2. Don't miss Jennifer Lynn Barnes's interesting post about Stephen King's comment about the Young Adult genre. What do you think?

As you know, today is September 11th. Eerily, the weather is exactly the same as this day seven years ago. The skies were clear blue until later, when the smoke drifted from New York and hovered over New Jersey. We will never forget.  


PJ Hoover said...

I love how much you support girls in sports! It is really so fantastic.
Great interview!

keri mikulski :) said...

Hi, PJ! Awww.. Thanks. I truly believe finding anyone's passion, whether it's sports or science or music is so important. I don't know what I'd be doing with my life if it wasn't for the lessons sports taught me. :)

Anonymous said...

Cool post, K-
And thanks for the shout-out about the 2k8 blog!
whose only claim to high-school-sports fame is that she played on the water polo team---the BOYS water polo team!!

keri mikulski :) said...

HI, Nancy! Of course. I love to support a fellow South Jersey writer. Especially someone as awesome as you. :) A water polo team? What high school? :)

Angela said...

So cool that you found that blog.
I'm going to check out the links you posted. How great of Nancy to donate based on comments!!!

BTW I was a not so talented forward in field hockey (but got the award for team spirit). I was better (but not great) at running track!

keri mikulski :) said...

Hi, Angela! It is a great idea by Nancy! Field hockey always looked so tough on the back. Glad I choose soccer. ;) Hope you're having a great weekend!

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