Sarah Spain was the captain of the Cornell Big Red in the early 2000s when the Ithacans began to dominate the Heps Championships like no team before. She has since waded into the male-dominated sports talk business, now serving as a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN 1000 in Chicago as well as a reporter for ESPNChicago. She also recently wrote a piece for espnW which linked to HepsTrack. That’s how we tracked her down and subjected her to our five questions. It was actually seven, but we bill it as five.
Since graduating from Cornell you have worked yourself into a role as one of the only female voices in the Chicago sports world. Why so few women talking about sports?
Well, there are more male than female sportscasters and writers in general, and Chicago isn’t any different when it comes to that. One reason, and this was true for me, is that a lot of women grow up without seeing a career in sports as a viable option. Growing up, the few women working in sports were sideline reporters, something I’ve never been much into because it’s such a limited role–not much time to be funny or creative. After college, when I realized I could combine my interest in TV hosting and improv comedy with my love of sports, I suddenly saw an opportunity to do something different and sort of break through traditional barriers. Most color commentators on television and radio are former players who draw from experiences in the NFL, MLB, etc. to do their jobs, so that’s nearly half of the major broadcasting gigs right there. There are other reasons, some of which are antiquated and hopefully on their way out (i.e. men preferring to get their sports from just men). It can be an intimidating field; you have to be confident, hard-working and have very, very thick skin if you want to hang in there with all the men. Continue reading