March is Women’s History Month. This is the month when we recognize great achievements, both big and small, made by women. We should also take time to acknowledge progress in the works. Double G Sports proudly supports ”Women in Sports” this month. I had a wonderful opportunity to interview Jayme Lamm, sports enthusiast and the creator of The Blonde Side (www.theblondeside.com). If you are not familiar with The Blonde Side, you should be. The website touches on a variety of sports topics from Jayme’s point of view. In other words, the truth, with the opinion of an intelligent, witty, blonde girl who knows her, ahem, “stuff.”
So Jayme you have a really cool website. I admire what you do. March is Women’s History Month and Double G Sports is focusing on the sports aspect of it. When did you start The Blonde Side, and what inspired you to start it?
I started it in January 2010. I had been working in sports for about four of five years working in front offices, and you’re not really allowed to have an opinion, you can’t root for a team. You work in sports, but you don’t really “work in sports,” if that makes sense. I realized I have a lot of interests and a ton of contacts in the industry, and there didn’t seem to be a big market for what I wanted to do, and so I decided to create The Blonde Side.
The premise behind my website is that it is very sports related. If you read my articles there are stats, and you can tell I know my sports and athletes. But I also try to find some parallels. I’ll compare an athlete to a song, or a TV show. I kind of pull the “gossipy” aspects of sports and talk about them that way. In the beginning it was kind of hard because people were trying to understand the site. And it’s funny because 60% of my readers are guys and 40% are girls. A lot of guys will ask me to write about soccer and “compare it to ’90210′ because I love soccer and I am interested to hear your take on the two, and I really want my girlfriend to love soccer as well.”
That’s very interesting! That’s good because it leads into another question I have later on. So, do you run the entire site yourself? Or do you have contributing editors as well?
No, it’s just me. I’ve had a lot of people ask to be a contributing writer. I thought about it but I want to have a column in Esquire, so my fear is that if anyone else writes something, and it’s the first article on my page, and it’s written by “Jane Doe” – I’m like crap I’m not Jane Doe!! So for now it’s just me. It’s just The Blonde Side.
Wow, that’s a lot of dedication, that’s awesome. So like I said before Double G Sports is acknowledging women in sports. How important is this to you?
I have a couple ways to answer that. It is very important for women to be in sports – just playing sports. I have played sports all my life. I played softball in college, I grew up around athletes, both men and women. It is very important because these female athletes are such great role models, even for me at the age of 30. I’m currently reading Jennie Finch’s “Throw Like A Girl,” It’s for a younger audience, like teen girls playing softball, but her message is one I wish I had read when I was 13 or 14 still learning about my own game. These women we watch in sports set the basis for professional sports. It helps girls have confidence.
I’m extrmemely competitive and I think that’s why I have succeeded in life at a number of things because I never wanted to lose a game. I never wanted to drop a ground ball or a pop fly. I sure as hell don’t want to lose a client or bomb a presentation, or something like that. I’ve written a couple pieces for ESPNW and Women’s Adventure Magazine, and there’s a huge market for woman in the world of sports. A much bigger market than you probably think. I think just paying attention to that and paying homage to the women who have paved the way is extremely important.
Do you see more women becoming involved in sports both professionally and as fans?
Absolutely. Your hear all the statistics. There was one when the Super Bowl came out saying 40% of NFL fans are females. That stat kinda bothers me because I wonder where they are getting that number from. Are these just women that are watching the game because they are forced to or ones that are dying to see Madonna perform? I think that being able to blog and having radio podcasts and YouTube videos; I thikn a lot of people consider themselves in sports, and they are! It’s (about) opening the doors. ESPN only has a certain amount of room for writers, reporters, and anchors. All these other outlets are really allowing women to be a part of professional sports. Sports are catering to female audiences.
Back to the Super Bowl, my guy friends were complaining because there were so many tampon and Mydol commercials, and women’s running shoes. They were like, “What the hell is this?” And the commercial with J-Lo and the Fiat? Most (football and baseball loving) guys aren’t going to be driving around in a Fiat.
So, you can tell women are watching sports more. Whatever the driving force is, whether they are getting more information about sports or their boyfriend or best friend likes sports, it’s definitely there. I think that’s why my column is here. I’m trying to write for an audience that lives and breathes sports and and not an audience that is trying to just tolerate it. It’s fun. Sports are on TV all the time. You’re either for it or against it, but thankfully, sports aren’t going anywhere, so saddle up!
Well that leads into another question I had. What advice do you have for women who are not interested in sports, but their significant other is. For example, you said 40% of women watch the Super Bowl. I know out of my friends that are girls, I’m the only sports enthusiast, and they watch it for the commercials, then leave the room when football is on. So yea, that’s a shaky statistic – were they really staying there for the game?
So what is your advice for women that hate Sundays when football is on?
My advice, and I got this from a lot of my readers, don’t fake it. Guys hate when you fake anything and your interest in sports is right up there. If you don’t like sports, don’t pretend you do. There’s an awesome aspect of women trying to learn the sport and wanting to get involved. I encourage those women to reach out to me or any other knowledgeable sports source. If they have questions, want a one-on-one on a sport, or want to know about a player – reach out. Those are article ideas coming in and I’m happy to help. I hate watching a sporting event with people that don’t want to watch it. I get really excited and anxious! I ask if someone saw (a play) and rewind it, and throw things at the TV…I don’t want to watch a game with someone that has no interest because I can’t contain my emotions.
So if you don’t want to be sitting there on Sunday afternoon watching the Eagles, go to the mall and buy me an Eagles shirt instead. If you do have a genuine interest, like a lot of things in life, if people don’t like certain things it’s probably because they don’t understand them, and they don’t ask questions. If you have a real interest in learning football, or learning the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers because that’s your boyfriend’s team, ask. Ask your boyfriend. He’s going to want to tell you and inform you. Or do your own research. Look up blogs about Pittsburgh Steelers. There are ways to gain interest.
It’s learning about different pieces of the game every time. Turn a drinking game out of it. Whatever it is, my biggest advice is don’t fake it because it won’t be fun for you, and it’s not going to be fun for the person who wants to watch the game It’s like if you’re a hard-core Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fan and your boyfriend sits down to watch it with you to make you happy, and he’s constantly checking his phone getting game stats, or he’s changing it every time a commercial is on, you get really pissed! It’s like, go do something else you jackass! It’s definitely the same thing with sports. Be proactive and find out what you want to know, or shut up and watch the game.
I totally agree. My father is now starting to yell at me! He played football, and I’m the one who’s actually rowdy when we watch, and he’s like “Really? Do you have to curse so much?” And I say, “Yes!”
My dad’s the same way. My dad doesn’t really get what I do. I just wrote this article the day before Valentine’s Day called “Field of Dreamy Players.” It’s probably the most feminine piece I’ve ever written. It’s about baseball players I think are hot. There’s a line in there about Ryan Braun. I said the only thing no so hot about this guy is that he produced a line of affliction T-shirts, gross, and the fact he might have herpes. My dad writes me this long email saying, “Jayme I know you’re really into sports but you shouldn’t say that a player has herpes. It’s just not professional and I don’t know why you would write that.” So I googled “Ryan Braun Herpes” and told my dad there are 9,230 articles right now about that exact subject. The reason he claims he didn’t pass the drug test is because he was on herpes medication. My dad goes, “I just wish you didn’t talk about STD’s and swear so much.” I told him I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t use a bad word like, every other sentence. I’m not Catholic but I thought about giving up bad words in my writing for Lent, then I realized that was a ridiculous thought.
It also makes your site what it is.
Yea you gotta add some flare to it. It’s what sets me apart. It’s like the flare for Jennifer Aniston’s uniform in Office Space, except it’s part of my every day vernacular.
So what’s your favorite sport and favorite team?
My favorite sport is football. Here in Texas, high school and college football combined probably has more fans and gets crazier than the NFL. Being from Virginia, we didn’t really have a lot of college football or at least it isn’t as tops as it is here in Texas. It’s just not what we focused on. My favorite team is the Eagles.
Oh man. I’m a Jets fan.
Oh no! Well at least they’re both green. I actually wrote a blog about why the Eagles are my team and it’s my favorite. In Virginia we don’t have a hometown team. The Redskins don’t count – they don’t even play in Virginia. There were my family’s favorite team, so I wanted to be a little different. I wanted a Starter jacket for Christmas one year and my parents waited until the last minute, and the only thing left was an Eagles’ jacket, like an extra large! So they bought me that. I also got Encyclopedia Britannica, and the only book I ever opened was “E” for the Eagles. I did this full report on the Eagles because I didn’t want the boys to say, “What do you know about the Eagles?”
So I became obsessed with the Eagles, their stats, and the facts. Luckily in Virginia they were always televised. So I’ve been a hard-core Eagles fan since 1991, I’ve been to a lot of games. But being in Texas, I do root for the Houston Texans. They are a fabulous team and their organization is great. (And we’ve only played the Eagles four times, so it’s not a huge rivalry. You’ll see me tweeting about the Texans, but it comes nowhere close to my Philly love.)
That’s how I am about the Jets.
What do you think of Mark Sanchez?
(Laughing) On the girly level or professionally?
I always – it’s so funny – because when a girl defends him, everyone thinks it’s because they “like” him. And it’s difficult, which is another whole aspect of girls and sports that you can get into. I always thought he had potential. He’s still “new” compared to some other quarterbacks in the league. The coaching – I don’t think they gave him a chance. I think that when he plays under pressure and thinks for himself he plays better, for the most part. And I agree with him when he says his numbers were the best this year – but they’re just numbers. It’s just like saying you aced school, but your test scores sucked. That doesn’t mean I’m not smart. Professionally I think (Mark) can make it. He’s obviously going to have to step it up this year. I think he’s a good quarterback.
I think it’s hard because he’s playing in New York and has a lot more on his back. Whereas other quarterbacks are “allowed” to be mediocre for a number of years. Look at Matt Schaub. His numbers are fantastic now, and he’s always had good numbers, but his first couple years he was just mediocre. There are a number of quarterbacks who were mediocre their first couple of years and there was no uproar to take them off the field. I personally don’t think Sanchez is great, but I think he can be groomed to be great. I just don’t know if New York’s going to give him that chance. I know one thing’s for sure – if he were playing in Philly, those fans would have his neck.
Yea. That media push doesn’t help. The media in New York, I think, is the worst for sports. There’s so much pressure. Well, we’ve changed up the coaching staff for the Jets, but they’re keeping Cavanaugh so I don’t know. I’m still doing some research on it. Everyone’s like, “Rex Ryan is so loud,” and I don’t think it matters. He’s saying what he wants to happen. You can’t blame a coach for saying he wants to go to the Super Bowl. He’s being positive. Half of it is just media though, unfortunately. Pay attention to the game, no one cares about that.
Are you interested in pursuing other avenues in sports, such as broadcasting or more writing?
I’m definitely focused on writing right now. In 2012, I’m focusing on pitching to bigger magazines and publications. The thing with my blog – I really don’t like the word “blog,” but that’s what it is. I want to get people to notice it, read it, and like it. Right now I’m trying to get everything I write published somewhere else. It’s funny being a woman in sports. A lot of people suggest I should get into sideline reporting. I’m okay with that, but I think some woen get into sports to become the next Erin Andrews, or something similar. That’s not what I’m doing. If the opportunity presented itself, I could do it.
However, if you notice on my website I have one picture of myself – no clips or videos. I’ve done plenty of interviews, but I am not writing to get to a different platform. I am writing to be a better writer for a better place. Guys don’t get that. They tell me they have radio contacts and you’ve got such a good voice and a good personality. I always ask, “Does that mean I’m not a good writer? Or I would be that much better on camera or on radio?”
Right now I have no desire to do sideline reporting or anything like that. I’m good behind the computer. I take a lot of time to do my research. I basically want an editor to come across it and think, “I want to copy and paste her article and put it into my magazine.”
I take time to find angles. I don’t want to write about “timely” topics. (For example) when Tiger cheated on his wife, I didn’t write about it. Everyone else was writing about it, and it was “timely.” If you don’t write about it within the first 24 hours it happened, no one’s going to read it. (When I wrote) “Valentine’s Day Field of Dreamy Players,” more than likely those guys are going to be cute for the next few years…The Eagles – they’re going to be my favorite team until the day I die. I try to pick things that will be longer lasting, if you will.
That’s good. That shows you’re truly passionate. And again, as a girl that’s important. (An off-track conversation leads to Jayme stating the following):
You will alienate women in your field if you use your looks to your advantage. You either play the middle ground where no one pays attention to you, or you take one side over the other. The most popular thing I’ve written is about the Texans’ cheerleaders.
I think a lot of girls thought they were just bimbos in skimpy outfits. They had no idea that they were full-time moms, or students in med school that practiced four days a week. The guys of course loved it because there were pictures of Texans cheerleaders. It’s funny because I’ll write about the Texans’ cheerleaders, and men (and women) go bananas. There’s proof in the pudding; when you put up a picture of really attractive girls, even if you say she’s educated and works hard, they don’t care, they love the picture.
Good point. The barrier is hard to break, and I think it’s unfortunately always going to be like that.
Getting men to want to read my column and not a man’s column is a big push. That’s why I try to be different and funny. Anyone can report on the same stat or batting averages, but it’s how you do it that matters. If I have to do it with a couple extra bad words, so be it.
In order to obtain your information, do you travel often?
I am on the road a lot. I started doing the column full time in January 2011. Last year I took it upon myself to just show up at events. People came to me offering credentials, and the nI kind of morphed into a sports and travel writer. I’m on the road all the time. I’ll be away for about two months at spring training, then doing some hockey stuff, followed by NBA, and snowboarding.
What woman do you admire in the sports world? They can be athletes, broadcasters, whatever.
That’s tough. I definitely admire all women in the sports world. It’s not easy to get there, and I don’t care how you got there to be honest. Definitely Erin Andrews because she proves you can be feminine, fun, and personable, even though she’s a Florida Gator, which I’m not a big fan of (laughs). She does her job flawlessly. She knows her sports and she does her job well. I think that’s a hard line to follow. I think a lot of women in sports try to fit in a man’s world so much that they ruin the fact they are a female. They are allowed to wear lip-gloss. Amanda Rykoff of ESPNW has a good wit about her and I like reading her stuff. I also really like Amy Jo Martin. I wouldn’t necessarily classify her in the sports world. She runs Digital Royalty. She was one of the Nike women and works with athletes all day, every day. She’s always pushing buttons and pushing limits. Whatever she does, it’s guaranteed people are doing it two months later.
That’s awesome. Maybe I’ll see you in New York soon!
Yea, I come up that way fairly often, and I can call you when I’m up and we can meet!
So, there you have it. After this interview I was floored, and definitely inspired. Jayme has a goal and is not afraid to state her opinion, no matter what it takes. So listen up my fellow hoteliers – support Jayme Lamm when she stays at your hotel for a sports event! Follow Jayme on Twitter(@jaymelamm), and subscribe to her on Facebook, and you will be fully informed about the sports world from a confident woman’s perspective.Previous Women’s History Month Interviews: Tina Cervasio (MSG Reporter) Jennie Finch (Softball) Jen Royle (Reporter) Carolyn Blank (Sky Blue FC) Chantal Sutherland (Jockey) Jessica Quiroli (MiLB Writer) Brittany Lincicome (LPGA) Jessica Mendoza (Softball) Amanda Pflugrad (Reporter) Kylie Fehnel (Lingerie Football League) Chloe Sutton (Team USA Swimming)