Will Women Ever Have the Same Equality as Men on the Field?

I had many emotions when discovering Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had said it was “funny to hear a female” talk about football when questioned by Jourdan Rodrigue.

This occurred at the pre-match news press conference in which The Panthers, will take Detroit Lions on Sunday.

I was shocked than angry, then shocked again as if I was going through the seven stages of grief not only because of the comment but I respected Cam Newton as a QB.

What really struck a cord was this was almost a weekly occurrence for me as a football reporter last season covering Leyton Orient.

Not only that, back in 2014, when I worked for no money match reporting in the Scottish Highland League, I was told “sports writers are getting better looking” making me feel like I had no other substance to what I was doing apart from my looks.

Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess’ route running, which led him to smirk.

Unfortunately, I cannot count how many times people belittled me in my profession from little remarks such as “clever girl” when speaking about certain plays or rules because it is too many.

Not even just from men. A woman saying I could not have an opinion on whether Titanic was good or not because all I cared about was sports. As if that makes me less of a lady who could not hold that opinion on a romantic movie.

I had many dream jobs when I first became a “rookie” sports reporter, being a club journalist, TV sports reporter, match day commentator, to be told some clubs don’t hire females because “on away days we stay in hotels”.

So because I am a female and we stay in a hotel I cannot be a football club reporter?

In 2017, when NFL players are taking a knee for equality, shouldn’t the world already be showing equality for woman in sports-related roles?

I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, fighting my legitimacy as a reporter, being called “BAE” and someone shouting it’s ok you can’t write because “you are good looking”.

Even having one person go as a far as he completed a weekly social media tirade of how in his eyes I couldn’t write and had to ask constantly if I won a competition to cover Football because I was a terrible reporter.

I’d even go as far to say I might have even worked harder than some men to get to where I am just because I am a woman.

To be honest, I am sure Newton did not mean it in that way. The problem is he has done it and he was caught on camera.

On Thursday evening, Newton released a statement saying what he did was “extremely unacceptable”.

He continued: “The fact that during the whole process I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realise that the joke is really on me. I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this.”

He later noted that he himself is a father of two young daughters, he directed a message to his young fans: “I hope you learn something from this as well. Don’t be like me. Be better than me.”

I do think it is sincere, maybe partly because he realised he has lost sponsors and fans, but he came out and owned up (even though he did not mention Rodrigue by name when apologising).

However, the issue still remains and I can tell you these comments, remarks or looks happen every weekend to a woman working as a sports reporter.

Women should not be made to feel like undermined like they do not belong in this industry.

I know more about some sports than some of my male friends because I love it and partly because I may feel like I have too and even Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has backed me up on that one.

What is the saddest thing from this whole comment debacle, is the reaction on social media.

Men coming out and saying it was not meant, and we are blowing it out of proportion.

Female news journalists face the same type of scrutiny but by saying it is us taking things to far because of our “emotions” is another problem in itself.

However, I have been encouraged. While the minority few sticking to their remarks about females, other men have vented their anger and annoyance at the QB and others who made similar comments on social media.

It strikes me as crazy that remarks like these are still made. I use to feel once I moved higher up the rank, sexism and derogatory comments would be removed.

And sadly I was completely wrong, but I have hope, it will change.

Cam Newton-min

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Epping and Waltham Abbey racers finish well after tough start at Oulton Park

Ayrton Simmons demonstrated an inspiring comeback when he climbed his way from 13th to sixth in round 11 of the F4 British Championship at Oulton Park.

The Epping racer will take heart from his position as he crossed the chequered flag just8.998s behind leader Oscar Piastri.

This result means the 16-year-old sits eighth in the championship standings on 67.5 points.

He said: “Last Sunday was probably my most difficult race weekend of my career so far!

“I was dogged by throttle software issues until after qualifying. I actually qualified in position eight with only 90 per cent throttle.

My team worked hard to solve the problem but still had engine power mapping issues and this cannot be adjusted by the team. “In race one, I went from eighth to seventh at the start and then got tagged off on turn five. I had to stop for a new front wing but by then my race was over.

“Race two saw me start at P13 and I had the chance to shine and I got up to P six in four laps. “Unfortunately the race was stopped at the halfway point as Jamie Caroline (the championship leader) barrel rolled into the tyre barriers.

“I saw it all as he was directly in front of me. I feared the worst but luckily he walked away unscathed.

“It is now on to the next race at Croft hopefully with more engine power!”

Elsewhere, Waltham Abbey racer Ben Green endured a tough Saturday in round seven and eight of The Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup at Oulton Park.

Green started the race in position eight after he put in a solid qualifying time despite difficult track conditions.

Green, along with his teammate at Century Motorsport Declan Jones, both had good starts but with the former putting in a very fast first lap.

Unfortunately, the bad luck hit and an early wide corner for Green saw him pick up a slow puncture.

The tyre soon disintegrated entirely and this meant he had to retire from the race.

The damage left his team with a lot of work to get the 19-year-old ready for the second race.

However, on Sunday, Green had a particularly good start and managed to finish in position four.

The end of Sunday saw the driver finish fifth with 131 points for the 2017 Supercup.

Century Motorsport Team principle Nathan Freke said: “It was looking very promising at the start of the weekend and we were showing good signs of pace. It was very difficult conditions, but Declan and Ben did a good job.”

Motorsport is a secret hobby of mine. Well maybe not to such a secret. I just love the noise and atmosphere it has when you are standing beside the paddock cheering on your favourite driver.

What is more entertaining than that? I decided to change up my blog a little bit. The season got too hectic to keep writing about local fish and chips shops although I am partial to throw one in now and then.

This will be more of a document of all things I write in my full-time job along with any added extras!

Watch out for my video package I will be adding to my youtube page. It is very visual and exciting. Simmonnnsss.jpg

Review: Historic play one of my favourites

The sound of Clapton Orient fans ringing out in The Greater Game play at the Southwark Playhouse gave us an instant connection to the story.

A hundred years on from the Battle of the Somme where three of the team, now known as Leyton Orient’s, best players died, Richard ‘Mac’ McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott, the star-studded cast featuring Charlie Clements and Nick Hancock brought home just how many were affected.

It begins with a scene from the Western Front where Noland ‘Peggy’ Evans, who is played by Benidorm’s Danny Walters, signs off with ‘how did we end up here?’ A poignant question which enticed the audience.

The rest of the first half followed suit with a flashback to when Mac and Jonas became best friends back in Newcastle and when Mac was first signed for the O’s for £150.

It then went on to show with what so significant about the Football Battalion, which was the instant bond and banter between teammates and the manager.

Orient was one of the top team at the time playing the likes of Fulham and Burnley and Mac scored 21 goals in his first season.

Watching the story unfold to the day they all signed up for war en mass was gripping as we were transported into 1914 when everyone thought the conflict would be over by Christmas.

Billy Holmes, the then manager for Clapton, said: “You are all heroes” and back then they were not just heroes for their country but for the fans and for the O’s.

Writer Michael Head, who also played Herbert ‘Jumbo’ Reason, intricately wrote the first and opening scene of the second half to connect the dots, how did they get there?

Another plotline showed how the wives and family coped back home such as Isabella Mac and Mary-Jane Jonas, portrayed by Laura Webb and Patsy Lowe.

And the regular updates sent from the team captain Fred ‘Spider’ Parker to the gaffer Holmes about their efforts on the front line.

The stage was perfectly set, in the round, so the audience felt part of the group and there was light relief for everyone watching and for the cast too in the character of Jimmy Hugall.

Hugall was the comedian, who played in goal for the O’s and having survived the war continued to play for the team.

As soon as the plot unfolded you felt as though you were an O and you were there with them which was an interesting set-up.

Many are affected by the tragedies of World War One to this day and you do not need to be an Orient fan to appreciate the hard work and detail that has went into the play from director Tilly Vosburgh and the entire cast.

A lot of people did not know what they were in for when they told to fight for King and Country and each scene hits you with a harsh reality and some tender and cherished moments.

Star Rating: *****

This was a review from a play I reviewed back in October. Unfortunately, I do not think they are touring at the moment but I do hope this comes back at some point.

It was a delight to watch.

My seriously seriously late blog – Carlisle away trip

WOW. I have been super duper lazy with my away travels – I say lazy I mean work has been super duper busy and I also went away to New York and I was going to do a blog on NYCFC – to follow maybe – to follow.

So much has changed since my last blog about Leyton Orient. They sacked Andy Hessenthaler, brought in Alberto Cavasin and have now gone seven games without a win.

But I feel their fortunes will turn around. And there I was in Carlisle on September 10 but this time it was not a jaunt to the local fish and chip shop – which I did miss.

My brother had traveled down from Aberdeen and came along to the 2-2 draw with me and afterwards we had dinner at Hipping Hall.

Hipping Hall was one of the restaurants Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon visited in the first series of the trip.

It was a lovely dinner but not something I would do every week after a football match mostly because I cannot afford it – awks.

We had a six course tasting menu consisting of Trout, beef , cookies and cream and tomato curd.

What is a curd do you ask? Beats me! But I would recommend it for a once in a lifetime sort of meal as the grounds are quite pretty.

This weekend it is on to Hartlepool so no more beef and Trout for me it is back to some fish and chips or maybe some northern delicacy!

Until then!

Shona x

 

Danger Russell Wilson is correct – NFL is back!

Russell Wilson hobbled for majority of the second half but just like magic he stepped for the Seattle Seahawks in their 12-10 win over the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins were dominant all game but what happens when their best unit is without two of their main players – Earl Mitchell and Mario Williams?

A last minute drive and game winning touchdown from Wilson himself – a 75-yard scoring drive.

Many questioned whether the Hawks could continue without their beast Marshawn Lynch and they leaned heavily on Wilson but if that is what he can do not at full strength – the NFL will have to look out.

He threw a career high of 43 passes, many which came after his ankle injury, and he did not miss a snap as glided his throw to Doug Baldwin Jnr – a dramatic finish at the CenturyLink Field.

One touchdown, one interception and 258 yards passing – Wilson still remains one of the most interesting and exciting quarterbacks on the scene.

After the third quarter, the game was 6-3 in favour of Seahawks but Cassius Marsh stepped up and made things interesting.

A standout special team’s defensive end player for Seattle he blocked a 27-yard field-goal in a move that instantly made him the player of the game.

Marsh gained three solo tackles, had one blocked kick and one sack on Ryan Tannehill. He was described as ridiculous.

And he was, he more than made up for his miscue when he missed timed a run which allowed Miami to rip off a 50-yard-pass as Seattle allowed only five pass plays of more than 40 yards all of last season.

Tannehill did manage an efficient 86-yard drive that appeared to secure a huge upset for prior to the magnificent partnership of Wilson and Baldwin.

CenturyLink’s 12s were once again out in force and Wilson climbed up in the record books – 47 quarterback wins as he moved into seventh place for most regular seasons wins for a quarterback in their first five.

Seattle always adopt sayings before during and after their games and this week it was, protect home turf, build a bridge and the difference between a mob and a movement is a follow through.

It is their work as a team that has allowed them to come as far as they have in the past few years, one trophy and two Superbowl finals, they are most definitely a team to watch in postseason.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks

 

I experienced a little bit of history and of course ate some fish – Morecambe

As I was set to travel twice in one week up to the north of England, I decided to get the train from London Euston to Morecambe.

The train took just over 3 hours and I felt calm and relaxed ahead of watching Leyton Orient win 2-1.

I met a lovely O’s fan called Jeff who kindly offered me a lift to the Globe Arena and it was there I heard something truly fascinating.

Morecambe’s tide goes out for miles from the coastline that it stretches to almost one mile and a half out, it goes out so quickly that sometimes you cannot even see it!

But it also comes in at a rate of knots too that it seems to be one of the fastest tides in the UK.

I had enough time after the match interviews to walk through the town and back to the train station and you guessed it! Grabbed myself another portion of a sea side’s town first and chips.

What was quite sad is, I bet Morecambe was a great seaside town to visit in its hayday.

A lot of it seemed to be run down but that is surely no fault of their own. Many families prefer to go abroad and it seems out of them all Blackpool has been the only one to miss the cut to visits to the seaside for a holiday.

But now to the fish and chips! WOW! For £5.80 for fish and chips and a can of Vimto I was delivered a HUGE portion.

Now, while I cannot quite compare it to Grimsby as I sat in a restaurant there rather than got a takeaway, the fish was so fresh and it was from Atkinson’s just off the main seafront around a 15 minute walk from the station.

The weather was not great, but as I waited for the train back to Lancaster the food kept me warm and was absolutely delicious – it is highly recommended.

So it is Au Revoir to Morecambe and onto the next seaside visit in October – Southend on a Tuesday night!

This weekend is a jaunt to Carlisle but I am stretching the barriers out ever so slightly and heading to the Lake District for a lovely dinner – I’ll keep you updated!

Shona

 

 

I recommend visiting the chip shop! Grimsby – Match day.

So while Grimsby is not the most exhilarating or exciting places to visit, a part of my job is to follow my club around the Country and this weekend it was Grimsby.

The O’s won 2-1 but my major highlight of the day was getting fish and chips from Steeles Restaurant in Cleethorpes, a 25-minute walk from the stadium or a six minute drive.

The restaurant itself allows you to step back into a time where fish restaurants were the range and they were on every street corner in every small town in the UK.

Not to mention, there is a queue outside if you have not already booked! Luckily I had, but it just shows how much people love their fish and chips from where Young’s is based.

The Pier itself is actually quite therapeutic once you pass the arcades that you see on any beach front.

It has a lovely restaurant where you can get smoked mackerel and mussels for £16 along with a pint! Not bad for lovely fresh sea food.

While at Steele’s, you also get bread and butter, and a pot of tea included with your fish and chips meal and the marvelous stack of mushy peas you get with them!

It was all for £9.95, not to mention the delightful banana split for £3!, and certainly left me waddling back to the car for my Journey back to London.

I would highly recommend for a day trip with the family, as it has something for all.

Until next time Grimsby!

 

Landing in the Turkish capital I was filled with instant dread and excitement all at once.

One of my dearest friends was getting married and I did not want to miss her big day, but the fact we flew over a mere three weeks after a political coup did not put my mind at rest.

As soon as you stepped out of the Airport you could see everyone was eager to pledge their allegiance to Erdogan but most of all their allegiance to being a democratic country.

Turkish flags draped down the side of every building and hung from every balcony to show their utmost support.

But what people fail to remember and do not wish to see is how truly beautiful the city is.

It is one of the most ancient cities on our planet and was ranked in the top 25 places to visit around the world.

Not everyone is walking the streets at demonstrations or rallies they are continuing with their day to day lives, opening their businesses, drinking there Turkish teas and celebrating marriages.

Do not get me wrong, I was one of those people who instantly thought the city would be crazy, but I was instantly proved wrong.

It’s culture and history swept my eyes before I knew it and the five calls a day to attend the mosque sounded in my ears.

I find it a true shame that a remarkable beautiful city and country is attracting less visitors due to the nature of the coup but at the same time understand why so many fear travelling there.

While controversy still surrounds as to who launched the coup, no one can take away how friendly the Turks are.

They will greet you, cook food for you, embrace you as one of their own while you learn their own dance and all about their homemade delights.

I would recommend visiting the city as you can truly embrace within their culture and also visit a water park while you are at it too!

 

 

Ankara

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone,

So I am a sports reporter and I absolutely love my job but I also have a healthy obsession with travel and the excitement it brings.

While this mostly will be a travel blog I will upload some lifestyle pieces as well as my favourite sport articles.

I am venturing off to New York next month, one of my favourite places in the world. Not only is it breathtaking, it is steeped in history which makes it a remarkable place and I will be blogging about my trip whilst I live it up like a New Yorker – cheap pizza all round.

But what is most important is if you have ever thought of taking that extra step and doing that something a little bit scary DO IT. Nothing worth doing isn’t a little scary. It is also exciting,

I’ll leave you with Muhammad Ali’s wit and wisdom: Don’t count the days, make the days count.

Until next time!

Shona x