“I don’t think the problem is our quarterback as much as it our offensive line.”
The table of middle-aged men debating among themselves while occasionally puffing on a cigar and swigging back High Life came to an instant hush. Time seemed to stand still and all eyes slowly focused in on the strawberry blonde girl perched on the couch a few feet away. The little girl had freckles, a disheveled ponytail from playing outside with friends all day and spoke with a lisp, among other speech impediments.
“Think about it, if he doesn’t have time to look down field and throw because the line doesn’t offer any protection, even in the pocket, how is he going to be any good?”
Some of them looked shocked, some of them looked annoyed and some of the men mumbled in agreement. The little girl’s father laughed and said that she had been listening to too much sports radio with him and the little girl went back to reading her comic books quietly in the living room.
That was the first time I remember talking about football with my dad’s friends and having a mixed reaction. Since my parents separated while I was rather young, I spent plenty of time in the car driving back and forth with them on the way to their respective homes. With my mom, I listened to lots of Fleetwood Mac and grew to absolutely love them. With my dad? Little GAT was stuck listening to the flaming hot takes on sports radio before a time that Twitter existed, so trust me when I say these takes were scorchers.
I became well versed in the highs and lows of Carl Peterson’s reign as President and General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. I knew David Glass was supposed to bring hope to the flailing Kansas City Royals–no matter how long it took. There was a process and a method to the madness in the world of sports that I absolutely loved. Politics resulted in arguments, religious discussions divided crowds, current events were depressing and my intense interest in all things related to horses was surprisingly not shared by everyone I met. So I turned to sports. As a Kansas City native and fan through and through, I embraced the peaks and valleys of my teams and supported them regardless of their records. Loyal to a fault.
I have always been proud to be a female that loves sports and I roll my eyes at the notion that women have to fit a mold as a sports fan in order to be genuine. There is no proper formula to be a sports fan, male or female. That is what I love about sport. You can join in at any time and there is no “wrong” way to be a fan. While I am a strictly a one city sports fan, I know plenty of people that have teams all over the damn place. I just happen to love everything Kansas City and of course, my lovely college, Kansas State University.
I feel lucky to be a female that loves sports in this day and age. We are celebrated within the fan base, whether or not Roger Goodell cares about us. The fans in the stands appreciate seeing women out among the men cheering just as hard as anyone, which brings the fans together even more.
I have been an incredibly self assured individual since I was a child, stemming from parents that raised me to capitalize on my strengths and acknowledge my “weaknesses” in order to improve them. I never looked at being a female as a disadvantage, despite constantly being told that I couldn’t do something since I am a girl. One of my biggest strengths and also my biggest flaw has to be my stubborn attitude of not settling for anything less than what I want to do. As a child, I couldn’t pronounce the following letters: r, s, t, l and c. My name is Gracey Terrill. Simply speaking was a weakness of mine from an early age and now I talk for a living.
Not everyone has something as small as a speech impediment holding them back. For some, it is a stereotype of their gender, sexuality, physical scars, medical condition, religion, emotional trauma, financial status, education, etc. that holds them back from chasing their dreams. By building a world that celebrates differences, embraces positive change and supports good people with dreams of simply being accepted in the industry they wish to work in… we build a better future. This means working hard every day to help break barriers and show through example that people from all backgrounds, orientations and walks of life can excel in their chosen industries.
While I only mentioned my speech impediment as one of my “weak” points, there are plenty more. I’m a single mom of two amazing kids, have survived domestic violence and sexual assault and refuse to let any of the above stop me from accomplishing my goals. This wouldn’t be possible without an incredible network of people around me supporting my goals and dreams along the way, and to all of my family and friends… Thank you. International Women’s Day is for all of us that work hard to break barriers and also those of us that support women chasing their goals at the same time.
Being a female in sports media has opened so many doors for me and I am incredibly grateful to be a strong and outspoken woman in the wide world of men doing the exact same thing. I work every single day to tear down the stereotypes of women being confined to certain roles in sports media and do it by just being myself. My actions will always speak louder than my words, even when my words are incredibly strong to begin with. Make the childhood version of you proud, I know the little freckle faced girl certainly is. Be the change in the world that you wish to see and don’t restrict yourself to a hashtag warrior. Celebrate every day as if it was International Women’s Day.
I am woman, hear me roar* (my hot takes on Kansas City’s first ever female hosted sports radio show)