For all two of you who were wondering, I am the new Deadspin intern. Naturally, I'll be the "Emtern"—you know, Ben, Bentern, Emma, Emtern. But if I know Deadspin at all, I'll probably be remembered as the Femtern.
This experience will be good for me, in that "building character" kind of way from Calvin and Hobbes. I am a working case in desensitization. I went to a liberal arts college where the words most overheard in a classroom were "problematic" and "hegemonic," and my sports column for the weekly newspaper read a lot like a sociology essay. But since my first entry, my dad's only emailed me twice to ask if "this Deadspin thing is really such a good idea." Thank you for that. I'll be fine, though. If my brief sportswriting career has one recurring theme, it's humiliation.
In college, I wrote for the athletics website and also played for the basketball team. Usually, those two duties wouldn't overlap, but the website was understaffed, and nobody wanted to watch 15 games of shitty women's basketball, so I ended up on my own team's beat. This was awful in the same way that writing about the Nets is awful. Our record over two years was 11-35. We lost by 20-point margins on a regular basis. We lost 13 straight league games in both seasons. It was miserable.
There is, however, a certain advantage to the player-writer role. You develop a different kind of in-game awareness; you get inside the game by thinking about the story of the game. And then afterward, you aim for something like neutrality. Because after all, about 11 parents in the Northeast will read the article online that night, and they'll want an impartial account of the game. Writing about the losses became something of a coping mechanism for me — when I put the game into a cut-and-dried story and tallied up our appalling stats, I could understand why we lost. It helped in a way that our coach playing "I Believe I Can Fly" in the locker room before a 6 a.m. practice did not. (That actually happened.)
We had one senior on the team my freshman season. We also had one win in league play, and on the afternoon of our last home game (her "senior day") we had a real opportunity to defeat the other 0-13 team in the league. Looking back, the shame is relentless: We had balloons up and signs bearing inside jokes and the senior's nicknames, and there were about 80 people in the stands, which is actually a notable turnout for Division III women's basketball. Together, the two teams on the court had won a single league game and lost 15. If there is any purer representation of parental love — or of wasteful spending in higher education — I've never seen it.
I ended up on the court late in the game because our starting forward fouled out. We were down a basket, and we had possession under our own hoop with about five seconds to go. Our coach ran a play that was meant to set up our 6-foot-3 senior center for an easy lay-up. Predictably, she got double-teamed, and when I sealed my defender off the screen I was wide open. Predictably, I missed the lay-up. The senior cried, my teammates cried, and I took a shower and then went upstairs to file my story. I can't find it online, but I think I wrote something like, "The home team had a chance to send the game into overtime, but a last-second shot by freshman Emma Carmichael was off the mark."
So, yes, I'll take your inevitable Femtern jokes, and I'll raise you that time I blew the game and immediately wrote a story about it; or maybe that time I had to bike 10 miles to wait to interview an 11-year-old Little League pitcher while he got a hot dog; or when I asked the question, "Can I get a scream for the Jonas Brothers?" on camera; or every article I wrote for the campus newspaper as a freshman, including about four features on the seven-member Aikido Club. My journalism career, you see, has been one extended facepalm.
I'll be here about two nights a week to provide you with some content, and I hope we'll be friends. One disclaimer: I'm too broke for cable right now and too broke to post up in a sports bar with my laptop for more than three drinks, but I'll do what I can on Monday nights. I'd like to send a big shoutout to Title IX for, you know, everything, and to Ines Sainz for inspiring a post about giving up writing that then landed me a writing internship (see what I did there?). And as your Femtern, I look forward to setting a record for Deadspin stories cross-posted to Jezebel and perhaps providing an occasional antidote to the masculinity hereabouts that I promise to never call problematic or hegemonic. If you ever have weeknight tips or real feedback, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please, no penises.
And lastly: Fuck Greg Paulus. Ever heard of Carmichael Arena?