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How Come Julio Always Gets to Write the Really Funny Stuff?

Stir Frey

By Jennifer M. Frey

Julio always wrote the light stories, the funny stories. He used top 10 lists and ridiculous metaphors and embarassing quotes.

I was supposed to be the serious one. Julio wrote about "hockey gods" eating popcorn in Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse. I called for RPI hockey Coach Mike Adessa's resignation. Julio gave a stream-of-consciousness account of sports in the year 2000. I did a series on the law and women's sports.

So here I am, writing the final edition of "Stir Frey" (which, by the way, is a name I absolutely hate) and trying to think of something serious to say. It's not easy.

Everyone has told me to write about women and sports. According to students in Harvard's "Women and the Law" class, I'm an expert on that stuft. I've published articles, written academic papers and given interviews about it. Still, it's hard for me to figure out what to say.

Don't get me wrong--I like knowing that I attend the school that has the most varsity women's sports programs in the nation. The most meaningful sporting event in my four years at Harvard happened last weekend--the women's lacrosse team won the national title. And it is satisfying to know that the outstanding athletes in my class--Char Joslin and Meredith Rainey--are women.

When I applied to be The Crimson's sports editor, I said that I thought women's sports deserved more attention in The Crimson. I won the job, wrote a three-part series on Title IX and women's athletics, then proceeded to cover men's sports--hockey and football--for the rest of my Harvard career. It's not something I like to explain.

I've already written about what it's like to be a woman sports writer. I've been accused of bringing about the "end of sports as we know it." I've been mistaken for the coach's wife. I've been thrown out of locker rooms. None of it has surprised me.

After graduation, I have jobs on the Detroit Free Press and the Miami Herald. If I had covered women's swimming and women's lacrosse--two of the best, most deserving teams on this campus--I wouldn't have a story "worthy" of sending to potential papers as a clip. I wouldn't have been able to get a job at the Podunk Town Crier.

There are no women covering major league baseball this year. There are two covering pro basketball, three covering hockey, and maybe five or six following NFL teams. I'd like to do all of those things.

Facts are facts. I won't get a job based on my experience covering a women's lacrosse team--even if they do win the national title. I'm better off covering a men's hockey team that goes 13-14-1.

So, in a lot of ways, I have sacrificed my opportunity to boost women's sports at Harvard for my chance to be a woman sportswriter. For that, I apologize to the women athletes at Harvard. Women at Harvard have won more Ivy titles and more MVP awards than the men. In the past four years, women's teams have been dominant in swimming and basketball, lacrosse and crew. Some of the top women's teams in the country have participated under the Harvard name.

Professional women sportswriters have told me that the only way to make changes is to make it to the top first. The Harvard women's lacrosse team made it to the top last weekend. And when they took the field for the NCAA Final Four, they wore uniforms adorned with orange ribbons--ribbons that protested the cancellation of women's lacrosse programs at UMass-Amherst and Rutgers. They did not celebrate their triumph without recognizing the battles women in sports have fought all over the country.

I hope I can do the same.

Editor's Note--Jennifer M. Frey can drink a great deal more beer than you can. She is also one of the best writers on the Crimson, and a great friend. We will miss her lots.

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