I’m going to get right to the point here. I got pretty pissed off about how hard I was dissed by a local paper after winning my hometown triathlon. Now, when I say local paper, I mean local. I won’t name names (The Sports Department) ok, I guess I will, basically reports on all the sports happenings of regional elementary and high school teams and additionally covers some local races as well. I have no clue how big the readership or distribution is but I do know that this reader was excited to see this on the sidebar of the front page:
I think my exact words were “Holy shit! They covered the race!” because, to the best of my knowledge, this hadn’t happened in years past. Now Dave, the man on the cover photo, won the race overall and actually lives in my neighborhood. I don’t know him or his wife very well but we’re friendly when we see one another.
So, I hurry into the house to read the article and this is what I read:
…the highlight for me was “He also beat out the top female finisher Allie Burdick, who posted a time of 1:06:30.” I’m sorry…am I competing against the men? How exactly did he beat me out? I know I have short hair and muscles but I’m a woman and I compete against other women and I WON the race…for the women!
The rest of the article is more about Dave and then the race organizers. Where was my interview? Not even one question for me? WTF? My first reaction was obviously anger to which my husband responded: “Calm down. I’m sure the guy writing the article doesn’t know or doesn’t get it that women are in a separate category.” Seriously? The fucking sports editor for the local sports paper doesn’t know this? I then of course texted a girlfriend to get a female perspective. Was I being juvenile? Was I overreacting? Was Sheryl Sandberg getting to me? My friend confirmed that in fact HELL NO I wasn’t overreacting and that she wants her daughter to grow up in a world where women are recognized as equally as men. Ok, so now I’m justified. The next thing to do was email the Publisher of the paper. ..which I did… and then thought about not doing… and then I hit *send*! He called me within two hours.
His explanation was that he wasn’t able to talk directly with the guy who wrote it and perhaps that wasn’t the best way to include me in the article but the author really wanted to include my name. Oh thank you so very much for including my name in the article about the race that I fucking WON! Really? He went on to say that he was sure there was no ill intent and they did not mean to slight me and perhaps the author just couldn’t find me after the race. Try again. It’s a race of approximately 250 people held on the beach of a lake that is roughly the size of a basketball court ,and I was there until the bitter end, savoring my victory. Ok, maybe not but I was definitely one of the last people there and took a photo with the male winner (Dave) and the race director. Got anything else?
Look, like I said to the publisher, I’m not trying to be a bitch. I’m not naive. I know James Brown told me this is a man’s world and after living in it for 38 years, I get it! I know that elite female athletes don’t get paid as much as their male counterparts and women’s basketball doesn’t fill stadiums like the NBA. I’m certainly not comparing my little triathlon to any kind of elite competition but for me, it’s a culmination of moths of scheduling training around family life. I work my ass off to compete in these races. Unlike Dave, I didn’t “expect to win” but when I do win, I expect to be recognized in an article about the race.
If I’m being truly honest, I’m over it because it happened a week ago, but I’m curious to hear your take on it. Please don’t hold back and just tell me what you really think. Unlike Lt. Daniel Kaffee, I can handle the truth!
Ok, let me hear it…