Toronto Metropolitan University's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1967

Portrait of Daniella
All Editorial For the Love of the Game Sports

Thanks for trusting me to lead this beat

By Daniella Lopez

Excitement and relief washed over my body when I got the call that I was named one-half of The Eyeopener’s sports editors alongside Ilyas Hussein. 

In the following days after receiving the news, my mind couldn’t forget one statistic I randomly stumbled across a few days prior.

Just 10 days before I was elected, the Pew Research Centre, a nonpartisan fact tank, released a survey on the genders and races of U.S.-based journalists. Unsurprisingly, only 15 per cent of women reported covering sports as their main beat. 

Not even two weeks later, I was voted in as a sports editor—the first woman in this role since 2010. It was heartwarming to know my peers trusted me, a Latina woman, to lead a beat that is historically covered by men. 

While I wouldn’t say being a woman in sports is my only personality trait, it is how many others look at me. In The Eye’s last frosh issue, my nickname was ‘Women in Sports!’ 

I’ve always known getting into sports journalism as a woman was going to be more challenging. There were times when I felt like my skills weren’t good enough or I wouldn’t be taken seriously. 

Yet, in most of the sports media places I’ve worked in since becoming a university student, that hasn’t been the case. I’ve felt accepted and treated equally. Sometimes, I felt the ‘Women in Sports’ label was unnecessary—until I got my taste for covering professional sports. 

Despite feeling welcomed by journalists from the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of women in the press box. Though it was disheartening, more so, it was eye-opening. 

My desire to pursue a career in sports journalism wasn’t something I would’ve ever thought about as a child. Sports? Yuck.

Yet, the pieces for my future career path began to fall into place after my dad took me to my first Raptors game when I was 14. 

It was a game seven, the most nerve-wracking but also most thrilling game for a sports fan. The Raptors were facing the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2016 Eastern Conference playoffs.

While the fast-paced game of basketball quickly made me fall in love with the sport, it was also the atmosphere—the fans, the chants, the jerseys and the signs—that made me want to continue watching and, of course, go back.

So I did.

While my dad got me into basketball, I’ve gotten my parents into Formula 1. Being a sports editor, I’ve even gained a newfound appreciation for sports I was once unfamiliar with. Now, almost eight years later, it’s a full-circle moment for me. 

Whenever someone asks me why I wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism, I usually tell them the same robotic spiel. “I like writing, talking to people and telling their stories.” I’m not lying when I say that, but I am omitting the biggest detail. 

I’ll let you in on a poorly-kept secret. The whole reason I wanted a job in sports media was because I wanted to work for the Toronto Raptors. I love watching their games in person and I enjoy writing. Sports journalism seemed like the perfect fit for combining my two passions and making it my career.

So, there it is, my biggest secret: the reason I want to chase my dreams is because I’m a sports fan.

Fandom is exactly what this issue is all about. As you flip through these pages, you’ll embark on a journey back in time, learn about the opportunities U Sports provides, ponder the differences between sports fans and fangirls and read many more captivating stories. 

Remember that whole ‘Women in Sports!’ label? I’m OK if that’s the only thing you go on to remember about me. 

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