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Happy (belated) International Women’s Day

A few thoughts, if I may.

Ashley Davis

Good morning, Coug fans!

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve written anything silly, or anything straying from analysis, really. We’ve been fortunate to have so many important sports moments going on! But, I thought I’d take a more sentimental crack at things this week, if you’ll humor me.

As you may or may not have known, International Women’s Day was this past Wednesday, March 8th. There’s been a lot to celebrate for the women’s sports programs here: Pac-12 tournament champions, Maribel Caicedo representing the Cougs in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, swimming heading to the CSCAA National Invite Championships, The Crimson Girls killing it at Nationals, and don’t even get me STARTED on tennis, there just isn’t enough time (check this out though).

I also remain excited about soccer and volleyball, although we have to wait a little bit longer for that. Also I would include cheer, but they’re a co-ed team and I will not promote the narrative that it 1) isn’t a sport, or 2) it’s “only for girls” - which, shut up with that anyway. If that’s your thought process I’d quit reading this now, you’re gonna hate it.

Plus, congrats to Coach E!

Okay, I think I covered most of my bases up there. If I missed a sport or accomplishment, it’s not because I don’t care, I promise. Instead it just gives you guys the opportunity to remind me of more, and celebrate it below! (See what I did there...)

But okay, the point. All of this greatness has me thinking about what IWD means to me, especially in the position I’m in.

I’ve been hesitant to call myself a “Woman in Sports” because in my experience, I’m never quite sure where I fit. I’ve been fortunate to hold a few different positions in sports media, and something that started as a hobby I wasn’t quite sure how to share has morphed into something that’s truly given me friends and family I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

I have just a toe dipped into what this industry really is. I worked under incredible women over at Flagrant Magazine, who incorporate talent and grace into sports media to a much more proficient degree than many of us know. I watch interviews of our head coaches, and their confidence and strength is inspiring. I watch our athletes celebrate wins, take losses in stride, and set astounding examples for girls growing up wondering if there’s a place for them at this table.

There is.

And those are just examples from my direct personal life! There are so many other fantastic examples of women in this industry doing the dang thing.

I often joke that I was the personality hire of CougCenter. The content I usually write is full of jokes, or that’s the idea anyway. It was my goal when I came on board to show a side of sports community that we often lose.

I can’t control the outcome of games. I’d love to win, obviously, but I can’t hop through my TV screen and take the ball myself (also NO ONE would want that, I have zero athletic abilities).

But, I can make light of plays, tease my friends who root for other teams, and bond with my fellow fans. And write silly things. I can do that too.

I write these things because, for a while, I was unsure if I had the chops to write anything else.

Many of you know I did not attend Washington State. Instead, I went to school in Chicago and studied Comedy Writing. That is another male-dominated field, and when I was younger (sigh, I know I’m still young but just work with me for a second okay) and more unsure of my place in the world, I felt inspired by the prospect of proving I’m worthy of walking in the door. And it’s a much easier door for me to walk through than it is for my colleagues who are women of color, LGBTQIA+, etc. But as I got older, I think I started to let the idea of that challenge scare me. Aside from bursts of confidence, I feel like a fraud sometimes. A lot of the time, actually.

But then, since the purpose of Wednesday was International Women’s Day, I think about how GENUINELY nerve-wracking it must be for our actual athletes who are international. These women moved across the world just to get a chance to play on a bigger stage. And my nerves get smaller and smaller, not because I compare my experience to theirs, but because I let the strength they exude inspire me. And I think about how we need more confident women reporting on confident women. Or athletes in general. But more confident women regardless.

This website has done its very best to celebrate and share content surrounding our women’s sports programs. I remember when I first started writing for CougCenter, I mostly wrote jokes about football. I wanted to gain your trust because I was intimidated by you. You- the person reading this. I wanted to make sure you liked me before I started pushing any envelope, but then I peeled my eyes away from my own computer and saw my male colleagues pushing it. And I’ll never be able to describe what that meant to me.

I’m not saying I’m perfect at this job, and I’m not fishing for any compliments, but I am saying that I’m just really touched to be here. And I’m glad I get to celebrate the talented and strong women who play for my wheatfield underdogs. I want to do that every single day I can, but especially today. Err, well, Wednesday- but you get the point.

Moral of this long story: happy (belated) International Women’s Day. And Go Cougs!