Meet Maggie, One of the Only Women in the Room

Name: Maggie McEvilly

Major: Sport Management and Journalism

Hometown: Leominster, Massachusetts

Favorite sports team: Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots

Dream Job: Team reporter/Media relations for the Patriots or Red Sox

When did you first know you were interested in sports journalism?

Sports have been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. I stopped playing competitively when I graduated from high school and came to UConn and initially had a difficult time adjusting to the fact that I could no longer identify as an athlete. I soon realized that even if I did not continue to play, I was not ready to give up the exciting and dynamic environment that sports create. Pursuing a career in the sport industry is unique in the sense that it will give me the opportunity to work in a setting that I am most passionate about and allow me to spend everyday doing what I love.

 

What is it that you love about sports/sports journalism?

I love how sports are universal and unifying in the sense that they bring people together in a way that nothing else can. The field of sport is unique in its ability to inspire passion and emotion in fans that leads to a lasting dedication to a specific team, athlete or city. Sports have the ability to teach lessons and inspire traits such as teamwork, dedication and sportsmanship among its participants. Sports are also, in a sense, reflective of society and can be used to understand the culture of an unfamiliar place. The tradition and sense of belonging that sports establish among athletes, coaches and fans is unlike anything else, and part of what makes a game so much more than just that.

 

Have you found any difficulties being a young woman in a stereotypically male-dominated field?  If so, what were they?

There are definitely some setbacks that come with being a woman in an industry that so is dominantly led by men. At times, I tend to feel as though I have to prove my knowledge of sports in order to be taken seriously by those who may question my abilities because of my gender. But I understand that there are difficulties that come with any career I would potentially pursue, so I think it’s important to acknowledge the challenges and have the confidence in myself to work to overcome them.

 

Was there ever a moment when you felt discouraged to pursue sports journalism?

Because the industry is so competitive, there have been times when I have felt as though a job in the field would be unattainable. It is difficult to work toward pursuing a career that comes with so much uncertainty and at times seems unrealistic. But because I am lucky enough to receive constant support from my family, friends, peers and professors, I have become more confident in my ability to accomplish my career goals and succeed in a future position in the sport industry.

Who are your role models and why?

One of my role models is Kate Fagan, an espnW columnist and feature writer as well as a panelist on ESPN’s Around the Horn. She recently wrote the book ‘What Made Maddy Run,’ which tells the tragic story of a freshman track star at Penn whose life ended in suicide. In telling this story, Kate utilized her platform to bring awareness to the issue of mental illness among college athletes who are faced with a constant pressure to be perfect. I am inspired by her ability to create these necessary conversations and advocate for those who are unable to do so for themselves.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

I have always put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed at everything I do and tend to stress about aspects of my life that are out of my control. I guess I would tell my younger self to be present and focus more on what’s going on right now and less on what’s to come. Everything will end up working out the way it’s supposed to, so it’s important to just take life day by day and appreciate everything that happens along the way.

If you could say anything to people who don’t believe women are capable enough to be great sports journalists, what would you say?

I guess I would ask them why they believe that gender has any impact on one’s ability to succeed as a sports journalist. A more accurate limitation on success in this field is refusing to understand that all people, regardless of gender, have the potential to be great at anything if they work hard enough. Those who are incapable of seeing that must not be willing to comprehend that a journalist’s content, performance and dedication are what determines greatness, something both men and women are equally capable of working toward.

 

All photos courtesy of Maggie McEvilly