Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Genesis of That Sports Girl


My second job out of college was in Knoxville, Tennessee where I worked as a sports anchor/producer/reporter/photographer.   It is a beautiful college town, nestled next to the Smokey Mountains full of fun and, for the most part, lovely people. 

It was quite conservative and not quick to accept a girl "talkin' sports".   I was the first female sports anchor in the city.  A big deal in Bible-belty Knoxville in the late-90's.
Once I finally got a little notoriety in the market (not so much the good kind, mind you) people noticed me out and about town. 

Please remember this was small-market TV: I shot my own video, edited my own stuff, set up live shots, reported, anchored, produced the whole deal. I wasn't very good at any of it.  The funny thing was people had no clue what my name was.  They just knew me as "That Sports Girl".

"Look, Jimmy Don!!!!" screeched Earlene with an awfully thick West Carolina accent. 
"That's that Sports Girl!!!!"

"Dad-gum!" Jimmy Don would exclaim. "She's a big-un."

They were awesome.

Just learning the language and understanding the accent was half the fun (this from a girl who had previously worked in Guam).   Imagine one-syllable words becoming becoming: "it's hah-aht" for "it's hot."  Two syllable words stretched out to three: "I caaa-ain----t" for "I can't".   Yeah.

It kind of grew. I would shoot and report at high school football games on Friday nights and hear the chants from the crowd:

"Sports Girl!"
"That's that sports girl!"
"Sports girl, getta shotta me!!!!"
"Put me on the teeee-veeee!"

The "Sports Girl!!!" catcallers were so fun. My name? No, they didn't knew that but "That Sports Girl!!!!"?  

They knew that well.

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