I have no statistics to prove this, but I would guess that there are far fewer women than men seriously interested in professional sports. By “seriously interested”, I’m not talking about those who don’t mind going to see a game once in a while, and can name some of the teams and superstars of whatever league. My wife could probably pick Sidney Crosby out of a lineup, but wouldn’t know Alex Ovechkin from Alex Trebek. No, I’m talking about women who are “real fans”. They know all the players and teams. They can look at a trade and give you an informed opinion about it. They can hear about a player being injured and analyze how it might impact the rest of the team. Before you start to compose your email calling me a misogynist, I’m not saying women can’t do this, I’m just talking about numbers. There are simply far fewer women than men that are interested in sports to that degree.
So when you hear that the host of the only radio show in the United States dedicated to the sport of lacrosse is female, you may raise an eyebrow. [Correction: One of the only lacrosse radio shows – there is at least one other] When you hear that she also runs the only lacrosse blog of the 300+ blogs in SBNation.com, co-hosts a baseball radio show, covers baseball for two different web sites, and covers hockey for another, you would think she’s not only pretty busy, but she knows her sports and is a seasoned sports reporter and writer. But when I tell you that she recently celebrated her 15th birthday, well, you can pick your jaw up from the floor.
Marisa Ingemi is a high school student who lives in the Boston area. Her first interest in sports came in 2007, when she followed her sister’s interest in the Boston Red Sox, and jumped on the bandwagon when they won the World Series. She became hooked on baseball, quickly followed by hockey, football, lacrosse, and basketball. Of course, if you’re going to be a sports fan, Boston ain’t a bad place to be since each of their hockey, baseball, basketball, and football teams have won championships over the last ten years. I live in the Toronto area where other than the Rock, any season your team doesn’t completely suck is considered a success.
After the 2008 MLB season, Marisa decided it would be cool to write her own web site, and began writing news for a fake website at home. She soon created a real website, bestbostonsports.com, which only got a few more hits than her fake one, but it got her started. She started following the NLL during the 2010 season and in an attempt to learn even more about the league, she started looking for lacrosse blogs. She couldn’t find one that contained as much information as she wanted so she created her own, simply called The Lacrosse Blog. A few months later, the blog was moved to SBNation.com, becoming the first lacrosse blog in that group, and she renamed it In Lax We Trust. Over 1000 stories and 50,000 page views later, it is one of the most popular fan-run lacrosse blogs on the internet. [Full disclosure: I am one of the eleven writers on that site.]
But just one blog wasn’t enough for Marisa. She also covers the Pawtucket Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs, and Lowell Spinners (all minor-league affiliates of the Boston Red Sox) for both bostonsportsthenandnow.com and minorleagueball.com, and the Boston Bruins for Inside Hockey. She began her radio career in March 2011 with the creation of two different weekly internet radio shows: Lax Live and Beantown Breakdown. Beantown Breakdown features Marisa and a few other local bloggers talking about all aspects of pro sports in the Boston area while Lax Live is covers all types of lacrosse. But Lax Live isn’t just some fan yakking about lacrosse for 20 minutes; she interviews lacrosse reporters, bloggers, players, and coaches. She’s talked to such names as Andrew McKay, Connor Wilson, Teddy Jenner, Graeme Perrow (had to throw that in there), Dave Pym, John Tavares, Lewis Ratcliff, Ryan Benesch, and even NLL Commissioner George Daniel. Very few 15-year-olds even have a career highlight, but Marisa does, and it’s pretty cool: her first-ever interview was lacrosse legend Casey Powell after a Blazers game in 2011.
Considering she’s only been following the NLL for two years, Marisa is surprisingly knowledgeable. Ask her who the top goalie in the NLL is, and she’ll tell you (hint: it won’t be Chris Levis). Ask her who won the recent Brodie Merrill-for-Athan Iannucci trade, and she’ll tell you who and why (hint: she’ll say Edmonton and she’s right). She’s interviewed some big names in lacrosse and doesn’t sound all star-struck (none of this “OMG OMG OMG I’m talking to John Tavares! He’s awesome!!!!!1!”) and asks real questions that show insight. When she interviewed me for Lax Live radio last season, I mentioned that Toronto were having problems on transition, and she asked me if Toronto regretted trading away Ryan Dilks. I had completely forgotten that Dilks came from Toronto, so I was caught off-guard. I managed to sputter out some kind of answer and hopefully didn’t sound too silly. Before the interview, she had given me a list of questions she was going to ask but that wasn’t one of them, which tells me that when I mentioned Toronto’s transition, she thought about the Dilks trade on the fly. Despite being a touch embarrassed (which I know wasn’t her intent), I was impressed.
Marisa’s ultimate goal is to get a degree in journalism and then cover the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPN. There are thousands of people out there who share similar goals, and a good chunk of them likely have created blogs to get some experience and hone their craft. But I suspect the number of them who write for four different blogs, do two radio shows, and have press passes for the NHL, NLL, and minor league baseball years before even finishing high school is much lower.
Perhaps this article will be the first of many to cover this up-and-coming sports reporter. Hopefully she remembers me when she’s rich and famous.