Elaine Day on Working in the Sports Field
As some may know, there are many different avenues an English major can take. My curiosity led me to explore the sports field. I had the chance to correspond with grad student Elaine Day on what it is like working in the sports field, empowering moments that she encountered in her field, who inspires her, and lastly some advice that she lives by that was given to her from a past professor.
Elaine Day is a first-year grad student who currently works as an Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant in the Athletic Leadership program. She manages the social media for Men’s Soccer, Rowing, Baseball and Men’s Golf as well as stat- and record-keeping and media relations. She graduated from Clemson in May 2017 with her Bachelors in English and Sports Communications. During her time as an undergrad, she was an Orientation Ambassador for the summer of 2014, a Writing Center Tutor for three years, and the Sports Editor for The Tiger for a year.
Elaine said that being a woman in the sports field can be challenging at times.
“You constantly have to demonstrate your value and belonging in the field—even though communications and social media should, in theory, be a welcoming environment for women, the sheer premise that you are covering sports can make it the opposite. My ability to both put my fandom aside as well as act professionally while working with male athletes has been questioned without basis in the past, and I have not heard of any of my male counterparts having the same issue when working with women’s sports.”
She also states that these challenges are what make it worth it.
“Being able to prove people wrong and do your job well is so rewarding, and the relationships that I have been able to build within my programs are something I would not trade for the world.”
Elaine recollected an assignment in an English class where she effectively compared the main characters of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona to the Clemson Baseball Team and how they function in the work and the lineup.
“My English professors were constantly supportive, and I appreciate them putting up with me somehow working sports into even the most literature-centric assignments.”
She also remembers a moment when her boss, who worked with the baseball team for seventeen seasons, finally acknowledged that he respected her baseball game-scoring opinion.
When asked if there is a woman in her life that she looked up to, Elaine pointed to her Mom.
“I was very fortunate to be raised in a family that was—and still is—full of female sports fans who have always fully supported and truly understood my goal of working in the athletic world. Specifically, I cannot remember a time when my mother, while a strong role model for other reasons—she has survived cancer and another life-threatening illness that, years later, I still cannot spell—could not hold an educated and informed conversation with me about any sports topic I chose to throw at her.”
Elaine remembers a time when her professor Dr. Rhondda Thomas gave her important advice during her sophomore year.
“We had to write a discussion board post introducing ourselves and our goals—the usual stuff. I talked about how I wanted to be a sports journalist, and in response, she told me that ‘you can write on whatever subject you choose. But even in 2015, you are a trailblazer. Expect haters. Never let them deter you from living your dream.’ I never forgot her words, and three years later, they still ring true.”
Written By: Hannah Rohaley