This past week I was preparing a feature on some of the legendary men who have done baseball play by play on radio and TV over the years – names like Harry Caray, Vin Scully, Russ Hodges and Mel Allen. Suddenly a mischievous question ran through my mind. Why are there no women on that list?
I dug around a bit more and I couldn’t find one female who has ever called play by play in the major leagues of baseball, football or hockey – not one!
When I started in broadcasting in 1970 there were almost no women on the air at all, so it wasn’t even a question then. But now, 43 years later, many women are in prominent roles in broadcasting.
Here in Canada, two of the three network news anchors are female. As we watch the flood drama in Alberta, we’re reminded that women are now in charge of half of the provinces in this country.
There are lots of women who cover sports. As the CFL season is underway, there’s Sara Orlesky working the sidelines for TSN, asking coaches how they feel about their team being three touchdowns behind at half time. Sara is at least as knowledgeable about the game as Rod Black or Chris Cuthbert. Why not give her a shot at play by play?
In no way am I trying to diminish the work of fellows like Bob Irving, the voice of the Blue Bombers, or Rod Pedersen, the voice of the Roughriders. I’ve had the pleasure of working with both of them, and nobody does it better, on either side of the Canada-U.S border.
The audience for professional sport is at least 50% female, and in my experience the women in the stands are seriously into the game more than the guys.
It’s 2013 already, and I think it’s time to break some ground.
I’m Roger Currie