Tag Archives: Sports

NFL Draft

What’s a football-loving girl to do when she lands tickets to the NFL draft in the middle of finals?The only possible answer is: head uptown to Radio City and spend the majority of her Saturday watching the fifth through seventh rounds. Though there isn’t traditionally a ton of excitement during these later rounds, there was still a lot of buzz following these rounds including the drafting of Alabama QB AJ McCarron in the 5th round by Cincinnati and Michael Sam as 256th overall in the 7th round by the Rams.

I had two sets of tickets available to me including priority tickets that I was able to get online and group tickets through a friend. I had invited my two teammates, Phebe and Julie, to join me so I opted to use the group tickets. After drowning in humidity for almost an hour, we finally were able to get our VIP tickets for inside Radio City. Once we were inside, we walked straight into throngs of NFL jersey sporting fans taking photos next to the Lombardi Trophy and just walking about. I was genuinely surprised at how low-key the event felt. After walking around and getting situated with the layout, we found our seats in the second mezzanine, which provided for a great view of the draft and plush seats to rest our weary bodies on. I saw a bunch of seats up towards the front row and urged us to walk around to see if we could sneak our way up there. As we walked around the floor level, a security guard asked us if we wanted to sit in the front – we happily obliged.

How many times in your lifetime will you get to sit in the front row of the NLF Draft? Hopefully,  more than once. Just another bucket list item to cross off my list.

No Excuses: Coaching at the Collegiate Level

            A lot has happened in the world of college athletics this past week. NCAA President, Mark Emmert, has been under fire from press regarding his dodgy past, former FGCU Men’s basketball coach Andy Endfield accepted a multi-million dollar, six year contract at USC, Kevin Ware received national attention for his brutal injury, but perhaps most newsworthy is the video that surfaced from Rutgers University showing former head basketball coach Mike Rice physically and verbally abusing his athletes.

            As a current NCAA student-athlete and aspiring collegiate coach, I could not believe my eyes when I watched the tape showing Rice throwing basketballs at player’s heads and using derogatory and homophobic language to “encourage” his players to work harder.  While coaching styles vary greatly – all the way from the passive recreational coaches of our youth to the most intense, undermining, chair throwing ones– there is no one style that has proven successful.  I’ve had my fair share of screaming coaches, who thought they could encourage a group of 16 year old girls by yelling at the top of their lungs, but perhaps my most influential coaches were the ones who actually treated me with respect, mentored me, and made the game fun, yet still competitive.

            This incident brings forth a number of questions with regard to coaching hires across the board in college athletics. While most coaches undergo basic training to ensure they understand the rules and regulations of their respective coaching division, there is a lack of coaching education in the United States, which unfortunately leads to cases like this. I do not recall in any of my classes or experiences, being taught the importance of belittling other people to push them the extra distance, nor do I recall ever being told that it was okay to abuse somebody physically. It just goes to show that reform within the NCAA is of the utmost importance at this point.

            On Friday it came out that Rutgers fired the athletic director Tim Pernetti, which may confuse some people. Although there are advocates for keeping the AD around, the athletic department knew about the abuse scandal because people had reported the behavior, similar to the Penn State Football (Sandusky Case). Ian Diatlo, a former student manager noted to the press that the Rutgers athletic administration “was really turning a blind eye to it.” It’s one thing to try to protect an athletic department, and another to protect an individual. The results will always be the same if you try to cover something up – the truth always has a way of coming out.

            The bottom line stands that no athlete should have to endure a coach that abuses him or her. Sports, for many, despite being über competitive at the Division I level, are a sanctuary, usually a place where athletes can escape the craziness outside the gym. Mike Rice ruined that for those young men. There are no excuses for Mike Rice’s behavior and the athletic department’s lack of action and in my opinion, they owe the school, the families of current and former players who trusted them, and the young men he coached a massive apology. While there is nothing Rice can say nor do to take back the horrible things he did, the only thing we can do is learn and protect future athletes from this horrific and shocking behavior.

Leveling the Playing Field

            On March 8th we celebrate International Women’s Day to commemorate the strides women have made in all aspects of society. This day has been observed since the beginning of the nineteenth century – a point in time where women were granted a number of rights and privileges amidst the rise of fundamental principles we value today. However, a number of women in the sports field, both fans and professionals alike, are still being sidelined.  Their “knowledge” of the game comes into play when people criticize female analysts and fans discussing a men’s game. The same rules don’t seem to apply to men in any way, shape or form. It’s time to change that.

            I’ve spent my whole life surrounded by sports. Watching football on Sunday was considered a religious holiday and my early February birthday was, and will always be
IMG_8212synonymous with the Super Bowl. I grew up playing on all-guys teams, because the number of
girls interested in playing sports in my community was dismal.  My mom introduced me to more sports than I can remember and coached my youth “recreational” days. My dad guided me through the college recruiting process, always making a point to sneak into the athletic facilities while on campus tours.  So when the opportunity presented itself to major in Sports Management and move to New York, home to over ten professional sports franchises, there was no question to what my answer would be.

            Living in New York City has been a dream come true. Coming from San Diego, where fair-weather fans are as common as the beautiful weather itself, it was a relief to be part of a city where fans bleed for their team.  That dream turned into a devastating nightmare when, over the course of the past two years, I began to notice an unsettling trend. Though the uneven ratio of girls to guys at local sports bars has yet to bother me, the attitudes of some of my fellow sports fans have begun to surface. The more people I’ve met, the more I’ve realized how quickly my comments about sporting events are dismissed and marginalized. By the time this past October rolled around, I could barely get a word in about Mathias Kiwanuka’s sack in the 49ers game, let alone comment on Victor Cruz’s yardage stats. I was stunned, confused, and quite honestly a bit angry. Why didn’t my opinion matter to my male friends? Was it because I wasn’t from New York and rooting for the G-Men? Or was it purely because I was a girl, which barred me from making a comment?

            The question stems from a simple, “is it because I’m a girl?” and develops into a more complex question – “is it because of our cultural upbringing?” Sports are valued as a sign of masculinity, which makes it taboo for women to watch ESPN with the boys. Our society has created such a competitive culture, that girls have to compete for their right to express an opinion concerning the questionable call in the MNF game. It appears to me that there’s something seriously wrong within the sport culture and the mindset of American sports fans.  The verdict is out: when one group of fans isn’t taken seriously, the ref needs to throw his flag and blow the whistle.

            Last week, Danica Patrick made history at Daytona. No, she did not finish first, nor did she break any time barriers. She simply made headlines by being the first female to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series, finishing eighth overall – the best finish by a woman. Though she didn’t get the result she was looking for, she made the news for being a female in a male dominated sport. She has proven that she can race, yet the male commentators failed to mention the strides she had made in the past five years – they only pointed out her differences, the fact that she was a woman and didn’t have what it takes to be the best. What they failed to recognize was that she wouldn’t be on the tracks, unless she could compete.  What failed to happen was recognizing a woman for her accomplishments as professional, not as a member of the opposite sex. This system of thinking as portrayed in various media forms has extended to all aspects of life for females in the sporting world – the glass ceiling for female professionals has yet to be broken and the same goes for female sport fans.  There is still an unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps us from rising to the upper rungs of the sports world, regardless of our education and achievements.  We’ve come a long way since allowing women into the sports world, why don’t we still have respect?

            But there’s more…

            Earlier this year, the New York Rangers posted a female fan submission to their website titled the “Girls Guide to Watching the Rangers”; to say that I was infuriated would be a severe understatement. This sexist article sparked a fire within me and led me to question my fellow
IMG_1037sports fans across the country and around the globe.  Just because I was born a girl, did that make me inferior to the Blueshirt next to me? Was I not allowed to scream at Lundqvist for letting in a soft goal because the gift shop carries pink sparkly t-shirts in my size? Though this article was quickly taken down, it was a wake up call to the sports community. The controversy it caused, brought to light to the number of female fans who take hockey, and any sports for that matter, seriously. But it also brought forward another important point – men aren’t the only ones to blame. Girls who take no interest in the game, yet ask if Gaborik scored a touchdown during the second half are at fault here as well. There is a large difference between learning about the game and being a bimbo wearing a Callahan jersey at a sports bar near MSG.

             I can only wish that the next generation of sports fans, will grow up and see women at a bar discussing the game and not question it. I can only wish that those to come will be as nonchalant about a woman analyzing a football game as our society is about a woman analyzing the latest spring fashions. We obviously still have some ways to go.

            Similar to some of my male counterparts, I am not a casual fan, either. I’ve spent a pretty penny on my fair share of athletics gear and events – I emptied my bank account for tickets to playoff games and paid more than necessary on sports memorabilia at various stadiums around the world. I’ve woken up at absurd times to watch World Cup matches and blown off parties to catch highlights on Sports Center. I am simply captivated by the stories of the underdog athletes; by every flip on the uneven bars, every kill on the court and of course every slide tackle on the soccer field. Athletics are beautiful in a million different ways – the tears shed are compiled of a little more than hard work and dedication, and the smiles are purer than the gold medals hanging loosely around each neck. So when you say I don’t know what I’m talking about, or ignore my comment, I take offense. You’re killing my livelihood. You’re killing my dream as a sports fan.   There is a large number of female fans that bleed their team colors, that don’t want pink and sparkly rhinestones on their jerseys and most importantly know more about what is going on during the game than many men.

            I’ve gotten used to it now. I entered into this field knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy.  The stares are icy cold, the comments are as callous and uncultured as the calluses on my feet, and the confidence in us (or lack thereof) seems to exude from the pores of my fellow fans.  “You’re just a girl, what do you know?” The words rattle my bones, and light a fuse within. But it’s time to change our sporting culture. It’s time to stand up and be the twelfth man. It’s time to root for the girls. Next time you’re with one of us, watching a game, please, before your blurt out “what do you know?” or quiz us on the roster, take the time to listen to us.  Give us a chance. We aren’t just female fans, we’re just like you. Give us a chance to prove ourselves. Let us sit with you on Sundays and cheer on our team. We’re all rooting for the same side, why should we stand divided?


First Days of School

What a week it’s been! The first day of school started off in a great direction when I a) couldn’t find my classroom because 11 East 42nd St. doesn’t exist, b) I couldn’t find the subway station at Bryant Park back to Coles so I took the 5 express down to Union Square and then hopped in a cab who proceeded to try and rip me off (yes I caught him and made him turn off the meter) and c) ran into Coles grabbing cleats and gloves than back to the vans all while tripping over my own two feet. While at practice I was totally fine, but I once again got sloppy: losing my laundry bag amidst the ruckus that is club fest (Thank God I found it),  and somehow ripping part of my cute lace shirt while zipping up my jacket – I am a klutz on a good day; I would not know what to call myself last Tuesday.

First Day of School

First Day of School

I am not late. Ever. It’s more of a lifestyle choice than something I’d prefer not to do; regardless I detest being late. Unfortunately for my OCD brain and my numerous calendars, this semester I have to succumb to arriving a little later at practice because on Tuesdays I have class in midtown only minutes before soccer starts and on Wednesdays I have another class that runs 45 minutes into our session. Regardless, I think I am quite a scene to see running around the village and lower Manhattan during the week.

Other than that, class was fine on my first day (especially since I only had Business Development). My professor played college soccer and we bonded over that, which is pretty nice. The other awesome thing about my classes this year is that they are filled with sports fanatics (for the most part) and they don’t judge as critically about my choice of sweatpants and running shoes to class. Aside from BD, I’m taking Sports Accounting, Sports Law, Writing I, Applied Research and Professional Seminar II – it should be a great year (Fingers crossed)!

I also had my first day at Heisman where I was put straight to work! After getting a tour of the beautiful office, I  started going through, watching and organizing videos of past ESPN announcements and dinners – they made me so excited for Heisman weekend this December! I can’t wait to get back to work there.

First Day of Heisman

First Day of Heisman

With one week of school, four games (we’re 2-2) and my first day of Heisman and work now officially under my belt (except for my Sports Law class), I can finally say I’m starting to get into my routine. Here’s a quick snapshot of what an average week in the life of Meg Patten looks like minus some down time!Screen Shot 2012-09-10 at 11.07.29 PM

I’ve got to get back to some work but here’s a song that I’ve recently become obsessed it and some pics from this past week!

Zach Attack back at our Foodie Brunch

Zach Attack back at our Foodie Brunch

Amelia the Chef and Some Yummy Apple Thing

Amelia the Chef and Some Yummy Apple Thing

Oh and we had some awesome fans at our first game!

Oh and we had some awesome fans at our first game!


Jam of the Day: “A-Team” by Ed Sheeran – I’ve been listening to him lately and he really gets me in the mood to be productive 🙂