Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Christine Brennan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

A sports columnist for USA Today, she also is an ABC News, CNN, PBS, and NPR commentator. Not only was she one of the first female reporters in the Washington Redskins locker room, but her writing talents have also led her to become a best-selling author, joining the Huddle is Christine Brennan. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

WHAT'S UP Dave? Hey, guess nothing much. Doing a podcast today. You've been in Toledo, Ohio. I have it's the formerly known as, or maybe currently known as, the glass capital the United States. How do you know that? He's I think it was a sign when you drive in and says that. Wait, how do you remember that? But when you read a piece of paper you can't remember what to say. Like do you your long term members really good? It's unexplainable. I don't. It sounds like it might be unhealthy to there might be problemsed on the road. Hopefully not. You have ever been hit in ahead? Yeah, in a variety of ways. Jiffy, run into a wall. Well, yeah, well, one time I stood up with when the freezer was open. You know, I was looking the fridge in the freezer door was open full force. It was. Did you go down, like on one knee, and down I was. I was on all fours, unconscious, not unconscious, but had no I thought I thought there was an in shrewder in the house. I think there was like anner, like a TV dinner lay next to me and I knew what happened. That would have been a site. You're probably in your boxers like sure, like, yeah, Kelly, find you down. They're like, oh my God, he ate so much slobber. Yeah. But so our our guests on the show is from Toledo. I don't know how to many supports you play it in high school. I know I played three. I played one that's cut from golf all four years, but he did play baseball. But I played three. Yeah, which I thought was that too much, too much. Our guests played six, six sport Letterman. She Played Two sports every season. Amazing. Think how talented you'd have to be to build it, because you're not even practicing with one of them most of the time, right, you're just going to play the games and you're just so good. It's such a good athlete that you just can play for anyone anyway. She goes in northwestern, yeah, one of the top journalism schools, if not the best, in the country. Right, and then from northwestern goes to Miami and works for the Miami Herald. Yeah, covers some of the crazy games that we're going on with the hurricanes, Miami herricane. She was there at the you and it was just really becoming the you. Yeah, the eighty four orange bowl. Yeah, and then classmate of hers, Michael Willbon, which we know from he's on TV like onny is part of the interruption. Another great northwestern writer right recommends her to go the Washer Post. She goes to the Washington Post and has a great career there and she's there for twelve years covering the Redskins, like one of the first females ever to go into a locker room. Yeah, that as a writer for an NFL team. Yeah, it's it's really groundbreaking. Well, you know, and just to hear her stories about the coaches that were very accepting of that and saying this is what we're going to do. You know, this is where it's going. You got to let her in. This is you know, because before her and some of the other groundbreaking women that we've had on a show, that didn't happen. No, it was just a it was a boys club. That that was they did things the way they did things and they didn't. Yeah, people, and we heard from Leslie Visser when she started there weren't even men's bathrooms in the press box that she had the excuse herself from the press box and use like the commoners. Well, she had it said she had the one stadium she was in. She had to try and go down the stadium, across the field and come back before the team punted because there's no bathroom. Yeah, but anyway, so we've all these groundbreaking women. Now she works, she's with USA Today. She's been on CNN, multiple news outlets talking about equality and everything else. She's written several books. Well, ice skating is kind of a niche to write for our fans and like ice skating. She's an Aficion Otto and ice skating right and covered the Olympic Games and all of that. Just just amazing how she is been doing this for so long and still breaking the glass ceiling, so to say. We see her on TV all the time. If you watch if you watch a sports pasked on the weekend, you're going to probably see her. Well, and she's been on talking about Antonio Brown, because he's not only going little nuts, but he's doing things that are kind of sexist and everything else. Like I think there's something really wrong with that guy. She's yeah, and she's been on CNN talking about it and everything else. And Yeah, and how the NFL needs to take some bigger steps with all that. But we want everyone to hear our story. She has some some great tales when she was young and her times going through...

...all of our ex escapades, and so it's really interesting. I think we break it down and she's a great guess. So welcome into the huddle this week, Christine Brennan Day. This week in the huddle we have an amazing guess, Christine Brennan. She'll tell her all our all our accolades, because I don't think I can cover them all in one breath. But a lot of awards, a lot of awards. You know, one of the first female reporters that started covering the locker rooms way back when. I can't wait to hear some of those stories because I know I've had some issues with those before. But so in the huddle today, Dave, is Christine Brennan. Christine, thank you so much for joining us. We're so excited to hear how sports shaped your life and all the transitions you made. Gustin Day, great to be with you. Thanks, thanks for having me and yeah, I'm really looking forward to the conversation. Yes, so it's great to have you on because you have covered the NFL for a long time, but we really where we want to start is, what was that spark for you and where did that love sports come from for you? Well, it's a great question, Gus, and and it happened at a time when girls were not encouraged to love or play sports in this country, and by that I'm talking about the s and s when literally, if you were a girl playing sports, there was something strange about that, and it sounds incredible to say that now when you think about well, I can best describe it this way. If you're driving in your neighborhood now and you happen to go buy a field, whether it's a school field or just a regular feel whatever, and you see a bunch of girls playing Lacrosse or soccer or softball or you name it, you don't give it a second look. You just thinking there's a there's a team out there, there's a there's a you know, a whole bunch of girls soccer league or girls Lacrosse Lee or whatever. You don't even give it a second thought. The back when I was growing up, if you saw drove by that same feel you know what, thirty five, forty years ago whatever, and you saw a girl on that field, the odds are she had run over to tell her brother it was time to come home for dinner. Right, girls were not allowed, no girls allowed whatever, but I was lucky. I was allowed. I was encouraged. My mom jokes that I was born size six x and kept right on growing. I'm tall. I'm five eleven and a half now. So I was. I was a very tall and athletic girl, quinge UN quote, Tomboy, as you'd call it, in the neighborhood, and the boys wanted to play sports with me and I was good enough to play with them and in fact I may have been better than most of them, certainly at age five, seven, eighty nine whatever. So riding bikes, just throwing the baseball around, playing make little games, just on us, you know, on a field, nothing organized, not little league. And of course this is a time when we don't have organized sports for boys or girls. So now again for those listening who played tea ball from the age of five, boys and girls. Well back then boys weren't even doing little league to like second or third grade. So it was just a time when kids played sports and the boys, you know, I joined the boys in this and I couldn't get enough of it. My Mom and Dad. We're a little bit older as parents like you know this matters. Explain in a moment how they were in the late s when they got married. They were thirty two and thirty when they had me, what, the first of four kids. This is suburbs of Toledo, Ohio, actually in Toledo, and then we moved to a suburb of Ottawa hills, and so midwestern great lakes, you know, but big city near Detroit. So certainly not in the sticks or in the farm lands or whatever, but you know, it a metropolitan area for sure. They were from Chicago and south side of Chicago, and now they have got this girl growing up and they end up having two sisters in a brother. But this first kid is a girl and she wants to play sports and there were many parents at that time, guys, who told their daughter no, no, can't. And I know this because I see them and book signings or whatever. They come up to me and tell me they're my age and they read about what I had and they say, Oh, I wish I could have, but my mom said I couldn't play sports. My Dad said I couldn't. It must sound like I'm speaking of foreign language to anyone in their twenties and s now. But this was what our country looked like before title nine. And yet I had my own personal title nine. I had my dad and I had my mom too. Especially my daddy played football, really good high school football player and and also I track and feel, the athlete throwing shot put, etc. At Hyde Park High School in Chicago. Had A football scholarship to drake to play alignman. So he was one of those guys that defended, you guess, Offensive Defensive Line two ways back then. Played for a year at Drake at on a scholarship and then went into the army at the end of World War Two and so never came back to drake. But George Allis had gave him a look and had a try out with a papa bear Hallis and told him to come back next year and get in better shape. And back then, this would have been the late S, it was you could make more money as a salesman than you could in the NFL.

So my dad never went back for another try out. But my dad was a really good athlete and so he loves sports and here he's got his little buddy me. So we made sure early on that I knew how to throw the ball, baseball properly. I mean I never threw like a girl. I hate that term because of course if you're throwing like a girl now that means you're throwing the ball properly, because we're teaching millions of girls and women to throw the ball properly in this kintry. I learned early on to fire rare back and fire. If you think of most women my age, let's say generally late s into their s, you know they still might do that. That push or learned later. I never did that and so I never threw like a girl. So the boys wanted to play with me. PARTISI wanted to participate with them. My best buddies were the guys and I had this incredible positive experience with sports, playing it, going to games. We had season tickets for University of Toledo football, great teams in the Mac back then. Great season tickets at Michigan Football, just forty five minutes and Ann Arbor. So Michigan have state the golden days, Woody Hayes, Beau Chamberger. We were Michigan fans because Plato so close to Michigan. We go to Chicago, White Sex Games, we visit the grandparents, we do Detroit Tigers season tickets for the tweedo mud hens. So at this incredible sports immersion, I love to write. I kept a diary. I Love Sports. Put it all together and really, from Gosh, from the age of maybe seven, eight, nine, hundred and ten, we probably could have guessed that this would be where I'm sitting today as a sports journalist all these years. No, Christine, did your siblings also police sports? As a good question. Yes, my my sister, year and a half younger, played because, like we meet her and run downs for you know, running basses and things like that. You know she was a good game, part of game, I mean like as in she was willing to participate and she was fine. She played field hockey in high school. I was a six sport athlete in high school. People hear that and they go, Oh my God, he must been great. I was good and it was a small high school, but also no one cared about girls sports, so you didn't have to specialize. So I literally could run from first doubles in tennis to Field Hockey Varsity, you know, playing as the center whatever, Sot our half back, I guess, and then basketball volleyball in the winner and softball and track and field in the spring. I was good enough to do that. But also so many girls weren't playing sports and also no one encourage their daughters specialized because college scholarships were just beginning. Because title nine started in June. was signed by Richard Nixon in June of seventy two and I'm starting High School in June of seventy two or in September seventy two I graduated from high school and Seventy six and so so title nine really was ignored for about twenty thirty years in this country a lot of places. So I didn't really get the full broad to it. But so my sister Kate played, did some field hockey and softball. My brother Jim was a great athlete. He was a really good all district and I think even honor to mention all State Football Player, also hockey and baseball. Excellent, excellent athlete and could have gone maybe to a d three school, but went to Indiana and wanted to just have the college experience. But even at play senior hockey. I think even now coaches his son's hockey team, the whole bit there and then my youngest sister, amy, really she started. She's nine years younger. So talk about title nine. She started. They had warm ups, they had a special coach just for the softball team. We had one coach for all of our teams, a woman, say the Oster, and by nine years later my sister's got, you know, teacher who's also the softball coach, separate just to be softball coach. And they have signals and they are you know, and they've got warm ups and they've got uniforms and we basically wore tshirts and and Jim Shorts. Occasionally had one jersey that my mom would have to watch every every day wear it from volleyball to basketball. So you know, if you wonder if titleline was necessary, oh my God, I mean it was. And yet we didn't know what we didn't have. So when I tell this story guys sometimes people say, Oh, that's a shame, like almost like get a tear in their eye what we didn't have. But I loved it. I mean I'm glad it's gone. I'm glad girls now have equality, at least a proportional equality, and sports and we want that for our daughters as well as our sons. Of course we want that to make our nation stronger, to have kids learning about sports and winning and losing at the young age and teamwork and and being athletically physically fit. But, but, but, it's but no one should be sad because I had the greatest experience and that's what we had at the time and we did not know what was coming and and so it was. It was terrific. So yes, a lot of and real sports fans, I mean a big ten especially. I went to northwestern, my siblings, I went to Indiana. So we're all big ten people. Love Big Ten sports and to this day we're very much into, you know, going to baseball games and football and and all the nieces and nephews, all the grandkids, oh my gosh, great athletes, and the best of them all might be the fifteen year old volleyball player or girl, my niece, who is just a spectacular and like that would be pretty interesting you being able to report on them someday. Well, it's interesting. I that's a great point, guys, and I you know, I've thought about that, that I keep the kids out of my public life just...

...because there's enough people out there that don't like me. I mean there's lots of people, I think, that do. But you know how it is as a woman in a man's world. And twitter, just as things were calming down, twitter started, which I love twitter, but it also gives all those neanderthals and those awful people out there a chance to attach themselves and go after me. And there's threads and, you know, awful stuff that is said and I ignored or block them. I can handle it. That's what you can do on twitter, exactly. And Yeah, and if I listen, if I was offendable, I would have been hiding under a bed in one thousand nine hundred and eighty two and never come out. So you know, I'm fine, but I don't want people going after the kids. I don't want people thinking, Oh yeah, well, look at there's a Jersey with the school name on it. Let's show up and and you know, if they're if they're mad at me and and you'd say our world. You know, it sounds a little dramatic. I don't think that's dramatic. I don't think any of US feels that way after what we've been seeing in this country of ours in terms of people doing horrible things. So yeah, it's real simple for me, but I do think it's ton on nine, the fifty anniversary approaches of title nine, which will be in June of two thousand and twenty two, that there might be something there to be written about the difference in a generation and a half or so. Thinks changed so dramatically. That would be great and in one of the other things I wanted to ask you about, they talk about out nine, but just going out in your neighborhood and playing sports and you know, a girl playing with the boys. You know, that didn't happen a lot back then. So you had to go through the ups and downs of just playing sports in your backyard right day that. I talked about this with our guests all the time, up of how there were no parents, there's no referees, there's no Umpires, and so you just handled things on your own and you had to handle things on your own, probably pretty well, I would assume, back in those days, with all the boys into neighborhood. Yeah, and you're right, and I think there's that. That's what we've lost that you know, I think there's a lot of great things about kids sports now and certainly being aware of injuries and hopefully things that, you know, even things like kids wearing bicycle helmets and obviously all of us wearing seatbelts. You know, we just hopefully gotten smarter as a society in some ways right. But but there there's no doubt that learning how to fend for yourself and going out there as a six, seven, eight, nine ten year old and just playing, just playing. How many of our kids are doing that now versus that parent? And sometimes it's screaming at a kid. I've seen it. We've all seen it. We may have even done it. You know, even if it's just screaming out go, kid go. You know whatever, there's still that thing that the adult is there yelling at the game or yelling for the kid versus the kid just having fun in his or her world. And we did. I mean it was goddard field. It's still there, right across from the University of Toledo. We told Time by the big clock tower, Gorgeous Clock Tower of the University of Toledo, and you could see the clock, the hands on the clock. When I got to six o'clock. We've in the summer we'd race off have dinner meat back at thirty and then play till dark and it gets dark very late. And Toledo in the summer because it's on the very western end of the eastern time zone. So it's the same as bits DC, where I am now, but it's eastern time, so it's you get another hour of sunlight. So it's perfect and would be great, especially as a kid growing up. Oh, without a doubt. And then you run home and of course, like I'm thinking, my best friend David Hanson ended up being a rocket scientist, Little Jeff Jeffer pulsion labs and Pasadene. I just retired actually, and he's got plenty in his life, but he's retired from that. And you know, and David and his brother Doug and his sister Laurie, they were triplets. There are ministers kids or Presbyterian. So the Hansons and I would all run back and we lived for a while just one there was one house between us, so you know, you could be together. We'd probably then end up at someone's house for a couple hours and, you know, until it's time to go to bed and yeah, those kinds of things. It was it was wonderful. It was wonderful and are we missing some of that? The answer is yes, of kids just playing without adult supervision, he said, perfectly figuring it out yourself. Is He's safer out, is she's say for our well, figure it out. There's no warm here, there's no parent to tell you, and I think that those were very good days and I think they helped mold me and, I'm sure, my my friends into the people that we became. Well, we had our guest Dr Sarah Mitski on, who runs a woman's behavorble health in a cure and she has a great story about sports for her life and her thing was, you know, what I learned growing up was being able to take that punch to the gut, because she had brothers and you know, she was outside. She was kind of a tomboy too, but she said I learned that, you know what, you're going to take that punch sometimes and you got to get back up and she goes. I can't tell you how many times that helped me in my life when I was, you know, when she was going in med school and everything else she was doing and trying to figure out where her passion was going to lie. She said I just never helped me down. I never had a problem with any because those times when I was young taught me so much and I assumed...

...that, you know, when all the barriers that you broke in your life, all that had to help you. I think it did and, and you know, thanks for saying that. I also think that, having the parents I had, I grew up with this incredible confidence, guys, that I even marvel at some days. It's like why, at age fourteen or sixteen, was I so confident in myself? I was not a beautiful, gorgeous, you know kid. I mean many of us aren't at twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. Right, I'm back to Frank. You both tell us both word right, but I frankly, I think it's great not to be I mean, I think for any of us, anyone listening and watching us, you know out there when with it with your podcast here, if if you peek when you're in high school, well that's not so good, you know. So I definitely do not peek in high school. I mean I was clearly I was very academically ordinate. I was number two in my class, Lidatorian, I was a senior athlete of the year, my high school there was one girl and one boy. Obviously I was a girl and and I was a boy Tim Robertson. We each got these awards whatever. So I was very active. I was the editor of the High School Paper, actually co editor with a friend of mine, and so you know I was. I was very involved, obviously, but I do think you know when you kind of you know. I I'm sorry. Can we saw for a second. I just saw one thing. I'm sorry, just make sure. I'll be right back. What was our what was our sorry, I told us the train of thought. What about your talking about high school and and you know you got to get back up when you take a punch of the gut and and Oh, yeah, Oh, I thought got big. Yeah, okay, so we'll pick up here. Yes. So, so you know, when you think about not peeking in high school, that's a really good thing. And so I I was. I had a lot of friends, but I was so tall. That's another thing. I'm so tall. I was basically this height by age sixteen, almost six feet tall. And it a little high school, a hundred kids and my grant, a hundred kids in my graduating class. So fit basically, if you boys fifty girls. A lot of the boys were maybe like almost a foot shorter than I was, especially the boys in my classes and the honors classes or whatever. So it was it was a bit awkward, as as it is with probably ninety percent of people in high school, and so I wasn't necessarily one of the most popular kids. Well, this is the greatest thing that ever happened, because of course there was plenty of time for all of those things to happen in my life. But I do think that the idea of being so my mom and dad. I guess this is the way I looked at this and kind of figured it out. I wrote a book called best seat in the house, my father daughter Memoir back and I was six at came out, no six from scribner, and so I spent a lot of time writing that and thinking about where I was in my life, and I do think that my parents decided. I said, okay, we've got a tall girl here, is a great athlete, but but certainly not going to be the homecoming queen, let's put it that way. And that's okay, that's fine. So let's focus now. My Mama did never said this to me, guys, but I just I know that they did this. Let's focus us on substance. Let's not focus so much on style with this kid. Let's focus on substance. Let's focus on grades and and serious, you know, conversation about politics and sports and you name it, history, and let's follow her lead. And she is is. You know, I was inquisitive and curious and and Ovius and and felt very comfortable speaking. I I spoke at my high school graduation, I did the speaker's bureau thing at the school for a while and all that. And I think they just they focused on substance, not style. Not that there's anything wrong with style, and obviously it's great if you look great or if you're popular or whatever. I'm not against that, but they really so all of a sudden I got all this confidence like that. They and instilled in me that when my dad would say, and I'm not doing right now actually, but my idea was a stand up, straight, shoulders back, you know. And he he was a sergeant in the army and he was six feet tall, but he seemed like he was about six six in terms of the way he wanked in a room and his bellowing voice, and he was also the biggest softy I ever knew, cry at the Wallons TV show and all that. But but you know, people thought he was a commanding presence. Well, sometimes, you know, stand up straight, shoulders back, people are going to notice you because you're so tall. They're going to think you're older than you are. If you're sixteen or what? They're going to think you're twenty six. Okay, so they kind of got me in that mindset, even though I had no idea this was happening. And who knew that stand up straight, shoulders back was going to prevent prepare me to walk into men's locker rooms and and be able to do all the things that I've done? I'm not, you know, it's not brain surgery. I'm not. I'm certainly not representing our country as a member of the military and you know, thank you to them for their service. I'm not doing that. I'm not. I'm not putting myself up as something that I'm not. But in this world that I was going to enter, all of this, it...

...turns out, was so helpful and understanding what my path would be. And, for example, my dad, when other kids were doing some interviews, you had interview someone outside of school, like I think was like sophomore junior year of high school. My father suggested me. How about our congressman? Now my dad was a big Republican, I stressed Liberal Republican, George Herbert Walker Bush Republican. He was is vice share in the Ohio in one thousand nine hundred and eighty eight. So I know the Bush, Mr Bush, President Bush, quite well and was so sad when he passed away and so like. But this the congressman, and Toledo was a Democrat blood. Ashley actually is a good friend and classmate of George Herbert Walker Bushes at the time, although we didn't even know who he was. Because this is the s anyhow so or new? I'm hardly, but by bottom line is so I just call the congressman's office. Now most kids are like interviewing like their doctor or they're night star neighbor. And my dad is encouraging me to get the congressman well low and the whole the congressman, one of the longest serving congressmen and in the country at that point in the s says yes. So I'm interviewing congressman Thomas Ludlow Ashley and my dad was sitting there and went with me and, and I smile, I've got the paper somewhere, still in stacks. are in a cabinet. And I'm laughing, you guys, because my dad just walked in with me and, you know, said Hi to the congressman I don't think even knew on because my dad at that punt was an evolvement politics and they certainly weren't even on the same side of the aisle anyway. And I sit out, I introduced myself, my dad sits there quietly, just looking at me, not saying a word, and it's all mine. And so this man that I respect so much, my father, who is such a tough guy, to people quake in their tubs over Jim Brennan, and he is just listening and the confidence and the comfort level and the respect that he is showing his oldest child as I'm interviewing the Darn Congress for this little, you know, that couple page paper. I thought about that the other day because I thought, well, I guess said now it's kind of explains everything. And how lucky was I, you guys, how lucky was I to have the parents? My mom was the same in their own way. You know, they have these parents raising me and then of course my siblings. Extraordinary, extraordinary, and that's all lock boil boy, that's just a lot of lock and good fortune. It is. That is it pays to have just outstanding parents that can listen to you, understand what you're going through and then really push you in the direction that you're leading them. Yeah, I had a lot of us. Even with my kids, I try to listen to them, but I'm like now, you need to do this, and it's it doesn't always work out because it turns into a battle then. Yeah, Oh, and believe me, we had get there were there were some there were some good arguments and of course, you know, you're a teenager and stuff happens, but it really I think, as I said, I always wondered like how I felt like I always felt confident, and it's funny now that's when I go to northwestern Journalism School, Middle School Journalism. I figured it was best journalism school in the country. Did lots of research. I'm very biased, but I did that when under grind I go. Also got my masters and I'm very involved in northwestern now. So I believe purpose. Yeah, yeah, and but you know, I'm kind of nervous when I go there because this is the now, this is a big leap. It's college and I there's all these kids from all around the country who are journalists, you know, maybe, probably, maybe, better than I am, who knows right? And I remember feeling a little nervous and a little and I tell students this. I do a ton of entering and tell students this all the time because you know, here I am now, you know, with this confidence, and yet I'm also kind of a little scared. Well, it turns out years later, dear friends are to this day, many of them. We all laugh because I'm looking at them saying I'm nervous, I was nervous and worried and scared of you, or felt like I was already behind, you know, because you are already writing for the cup, the daily newspaper in this college, whatever, you know, northwestern, and they look at me they go no, no, we were scared of you. And so it's funny because I think it's also good to have a healthy little some fear, some butterflies. I mean, I guess I know you felt this way. I'm sure when you were playing, you want to you want to be on edge a little as you go into something important for yourself, right. I mean you felt that way well when in your career. Right, many, many times, every every you know there's not time that you haven't gone out there before the game starts and you know you're thinking about all your plays, what we're going to do, important game is. And then you're you get the first snap, it's a drop back and then you get hit in the chin. You say, okay, now we're ready to go. It's a lot better. Yeah, I always waited at that first hit. It always helped a lot. Sure, I go through that before every podcast. Right, yeah, all your way down. Still Work in my way. Yeah, right now you have the janitor, Dave, who just just you know. Yeah, we spar yeah, you get you ready for the podcast. Right. So now you kind of gave us a free you to this answer. I was going to ask you about northwestern. You obviously were way ahead of the game as a writer in high school. Is that what you wanted to be? You already saw yourself as that as a profession, like maybe an even high school years? Well, it's funny because again at the high school paper, my friend Shelly Wilson...

...and I when we kind of Said, oh we want to write for that, the high school paper, you know, and as and you couldn't write till you were a junior. Are you took the class as a junior and then you did some writing and then the senior year you ran the high school paper, which was, I don't know, probably had fifteen issues or so. It was good. I mean it was a legit you know thing, and so I knew I wanted to do that. But here's the deal. You can, we could make a case here that growing up at this time, I mean I kept as an example here, I kept track, I kept score of an entire season of Toledo mud hens, triple a team of the tiger. So just you know, that was fun because if they got good they just went up thirty miles or sixty miles up the road to Detroit and we can watch them there and when they went up to the big club. So I kept track of an entire season of Toledo mud hens games on the radio. I kept score of an entire season when I was about ten or eleven. So I dare saying not only was no other girl in America keeping score of an entire season of Minor League Baseball Games from the radio in a score book. I mean like short stop is six, right field is nine, you know, the whole line yards. But that only is no girl in America doing that in the late s or early S, but I dare say there's probably no boy in America who is doing that. And I remember one time my dad came into the was in the living room. I just had an extra transistors, kind of doing homework but also keeping score of the game, and my dad like looked at me like oh my gosh. I mean he knew I was kind of doing it, but I think it just was like hitting him like wow, she is into this, and of course I was into it. I mean he taught me every all of it, so how to keep scoring, what have you. So anyway, so here I am. I am into this, into sports, I love it, I'm playing it, I'm would go to games, watching on TV as much as I could. There's no ESPN, of course, back then. And yet, and yet, if you asked me like senior year of high school, going into freshman in Freshman Year of college, what I wanted to be, I would have probably told you a political journalist, I would want to write about politics. Now, sports was always something I of course, thought of too, but I never ever saw or read a woman sports by line. The only woman I saw on TV doing sports casting when I was growing up was Phyllis George, who had been Miss America one thousand nine hundred and seventy one. And if you had to be Miss America, she was on this CBS. You know, the NFL today with very famous, with Jimmy, the Greek Bret Musburger and nerve cross, and if you had to be Miss America to get on network sports television. Well, that was not going to be my career path. And now I've got a know Phillis George. Her daughter, Pam Brown, is at CNN. I was just on a we can I have to go, I think, with Pam on the set, you know, and every time I say how do your mom and and so you know I love Phillis George. I'm not this is not against Phillis George at all. She's been very lovely and very supportive of my entire career. It's really cool. But my point is that was not going to be my path. I never saw anyone else doing this there's no yespn at this point. There's the Olympics. Donna da Verona, another good friend of mine to this day. Donna was on every four years a little bit, but she was an Olympic gold medal swimmer who's interviewing people. You know all I was not going to be Olympic gold manor swim so anyway. So I really thought I'd go into politics. So think about this guy's if you have got one of the arguably the biggest sports not on earth as a girl, certainly one of the you know one of them in this country, thinking that she is going to become a political journalist. What does that tell us? It tells us about the power of role models and about seeing someone who looks like you and making you think, Hey, I could do this. And so I never had a role model again. Phils George was great, but not going to be that path for me. So so I always kind of vowed to be the role model I never had, which is why I do more mentoring than anything else, which is why my website, Christine Brennancom, I paid extra to make sure we had a student Tab. So you can click on student Tab. There's advice for students. There's two embedded videos of panels I've moderated with Rachel Nichols, Leslie Vista and others. They're all in there right in the student Tab of Christine Brennancom if you have a daughter, or son for that matter, who wants to be a sports journalist, I send tons of people to that student Tab on my website. And but isn't that interesting? And here I was is driven and focused. I've described it dad. Stand up straight, shoulders back, you're you know, you're ready to conquer the world and I didn't know that I could do this. Now. What happened is I walked in the door of the daily northwestern first week of freshman year. You go to all these meetings and you meet you know, you've stopped in here and you talk to people here, see what you want to join with clubs, you know whatever. Soorty rush all that good stuff. And I went to the daily northwestern and I walked over the Sports Department because, even though I'm saying politics, I'm I'm might my head saying...

...that, my heart saying sports. Right, I go to the Sports Department and I see this woman and I meet her and it turns out she's The sports editor of the daily northwestern and her name is Helene Elliott, who is one of the most revered sports journalists in the country to this day, Los Angeles Times columnist and writer and someone who I have thanked profusely many times. holine again going to school with her. She was three years ahead of me at northwestern, but she went on to a career at the sun times and other places and now long time La Times columnist, award winning and Helene. I saw Hollie and then I realized, Wow, women could do this and that opened my eyes. And then, even though northwestern never had a sports writing class, because you didn't, I didn't need one and will want. And you know, I'm first day a freshman year, I meet, well, bond, you know, so Mike, well, but enough like brother and sister to this day, because we literally met first day freshman year and and go through all this together. And they're only a hundred, fifty of us, you know, as a class. So we all got to know everyone. But you know when you when you think of this. So now I start. NOPE, we don't need sport we don't have a sports writing class because we don't, I know sports. I need to learn journalism, which I think explains a lot of the journalism I do to this day, which is it's I kind of look at his like I'm a journalist who happens to cover sports in terms of big issues and things that we talked about, you know, and and so northwestern prepared me for that. But then in my summers I had for summer internships or for internships during my time at northwestern. Where would you in turn? I learned intern first at the Toelto Blade, my hometown paper, the first summer after my sophomore year. Worked at a bank after my freshman year, but I was covering the city desk. So I did I did county fairs, I did obituaries, I followed a mailman on his last day at work, you know, that kind of stuff. But I kept going back to sports and talk in the sports guys who I grew up reading as a kid. Because I mean that to little blade, I couldn't wait till the newspaper thunked down on our it was afternoon paper on our doorstep, because there's no that's the first time you get a chance to see a picture of a game. It's for time you can read about first time you can see a box score because again, there's no I mean maybe there was a highlight a yeah, there's no, there's no twitter, there's no, you know, there's no this, there's no you know, it's just, it's it's just, it's nothing until that. So anyhow, yeah, to Lito Blades of the next summer after my junior year. I've worked at SLETTA BLADE, the US Open, golf haill or when won the US Open at inverness, beautiful inverness or. I live right near there, and so covered some of that and walked through the press room and saw the names Dan Jenkins, Tom Boswell. And how many times did I tell Dan Jenkins, of course, has passed away recently, a mentor and and lovely man. Of course his daughter Sally's a friend of Mine and his son Marty also. And I told Dan, you know, here I am, as a twenty year old walking through the lines at the inverness and I see your name, and now, of course, and he goes, looks at me, goes well that other look at kids are looking at your name. I said yeah, it's pretty cool, pretty cool. It's just it's so fortunate and so lucky so tolto Blade Lexington, Kentucky Paper, was a northwestern internship and then the Miami Harold after between my Undergrad of my master's years and then that Miami Harold Internship in the summer of one thousand nine hundred and eighty led to full time job at the Miami Harold in April of nine hundred and eighty one when I started my career. Be a big difference going from northwestern to Miami. You couldn't get more of a change, two different areas and then covering the sports. So what was your big your first big story once you started full time at Miami? Yeah, well, it's almost different weatherwise. Yes, Daniel, we're in February playing tennis and swimming. That was different than than Chicago, where our looks turned purple as we walks the lake in January. February, interestingly, though, there were a lot of northwestern grants who went down to the Miami Harold. The Middle School of journalism sent a ton of people down there, so I probably had it was great because I had maybe, Gosh, twenty thirty friends and classmates at from northwestern were all at the Miami Harold at various guirls. Yeah, that's I love that because that happened to me when I left Pittsburgh went to Tulsa. Yep, a lot of my classmates were from western Pennsylvania. I graduate with twelve kids from Pittsburgh down and Tulsa. So it makes that transition a lot easier. It's sure does. You're far away from home and then, but then you know every weekend you're hanging out with your friends or going to wherever. Yeah, it's great. It's great. And so the Miami Harold. I was the first woman ever hired by the Harold full time. And and this is eighty one and so and I've said this and I think it's important to say these things and I think you guys know I'm nothing if not honest. Hopefully and fourth right on these things. If I'd been a white man, I would not have gotten that job, because people always asked me how hard must have been. Oh, sure, you know there are people didn't want women covering sports. Right. Yeah, of course, there's no social media, so they can't attach themselves. So they could write letters, but that's a very different thing. It's not threatening or whatever. But but now the Harold wanted to hire a woman. And again I'd said I had the summer, the simmer before, that I'd enter in there. So I proved myself. Yeah,...

...obviously enough that they wanted to hire a full time. They were not taking a flyer on me. But if those who complain about Tokens or a quota higher you know, or we hear those words every now and then in politics or whatever, right. Well, I was a token, I was a quota. You Bet right here, and let's talk about that, because I don't. There's frankly, there's nothing wrong with that. You want to have a newsroom look like America, look like your city. You want you know your community, and the Miami Harold knew that it was way behind. I am nothing to do with this. I'm just I get hired. I don't. I want nothing to do with the past pop policies. And most newspapers at that point had one or two women sports writers, the big ones, Boston Globe, New York Times, La Times, you know, Chicago Tribune and coca, sometimes other places. And the Herald was behind, and so they that's so. But I never looked at myself as a quota. Whatever their reason for hiring me, as my dad said, honey, just go in there and blow the doors off the place, you know, in terms of just keep doing your great job. Don't who cares why they hired you. Just go. And of course I never let I never even spend a second thinking about that or analyzing it. I talked more about it now as a way to explain this stuff and but I never felt pressure either. I really didn't. I just wanted to walk, figure out where to park my car on the first day and what elevator to come up. You know, I wasn't thinking the lofty thoughts of Oh, his history, woman, sports writer, first one. Now I just you know, I'm just I'm ready for this. I've been launched out into the world by northwestern. I am so prepared for this. As I've described my background and sport. It's my background in writing. Westerals of go to cut you kidding me? So I'm ready and put me on the Florida gator beat and eighty one. So I cover. I went up to Florida or to the wherever they play in the SEC. That was Charlie Pell's years. Wilbur Marshall was on those Florida teams. I'm trying to think of who else was around then. Well, all over luck was playing for West Virginia. I it was Florida against West Virginia and the Peach Bowl. And so ill over lack father of Andrew, and there are others that were floating around, you know, at that point. And then covered the gators second year and eighty two. And then they move me to the Miami Hurricane. Be One thousand nine hundred and eighty three. Now this was a promotion for the Miami Herald, but for me I was kind of bitter sweet because I love going up to gains so Florida. I mean it was fun. The writers were great, all men except for me, basically. Maybe one other woman occasionally showed up. But we'd have great parties, you know, media parties on Friday nights. And then you're on this quick, great campus and you're in the SEC and I'm a big ten person, so have fun just to see what the SEC schools will look like and would look like. And you know, you've heard all this about Alabama and I'll miss and Lsu and now I'm there. I mean that was fun. I'm I'll always been one for adventure and new things and and so I love that. So now I'm going to cover the Florida the Miami Hurricanes. So it's promotion. But now half the Games are going to be in Miami, so there's no travel. Then you're dis that. Eighty three three, and so this is before the you was the you. But so they but of course I want the job. Of course I'm taking this job and kind of cover the beat because of course it's important and also, I mean they're that's what my editor said. So I'm really so the first game, actually before that. You have to have the big story is this is a long answer, but that that before the season, eighty three season. How are Sellenberg in the head coach of Miami? Jim Kelly's gone and I covered him because I did some coverage of the team as a backup beat writer, you know, when he was there. So I knew Jim. And but JIM's graduated and gone USFS, usfl first for Houston gamblers before he made his way back to the Buffalo. And so they've got this quarterback controversy and they've got three young kids, a guy named Kyle Vander Wendey who really might have gotten a job, which is kind of amazing when I'm about to say the next two names, and then too, Freshman Bernie Kostar and Vinnie test of Verdie. And I'm watching this every day as it plays out and shallenberger announces I'm able to break the news. They get broke it anyway. Certainly other media were there too. I guess that he picked Bernie Costar to be the starter. Miami goes and plays Florida. So the my the new beat. You're not a fan of the team. I'm covering the team. I'm not a fan, I'm not cheering, I'm writing. So I don't I think people don't understand that. Sometimes you don't want me to be a fan of the team, you want me to cover it and the my my response was to the readers, not to the players. Obviously you will course treat them right and of course you treat the coaches right, but you're writing story. So you know, I have teams I cheer for. They're not Miami or Florida or anything like that anyway. So, but the first game Miami's playing Florida. So the team I just covered for two years is now playing Miami and Miami gets pummeled Florida wins. I think of twenty eight, two three, I'm like, Oh great, so Florida is going to be good this year. I'm no longer on the beat. Yeah, and Miami just lost. Now they have a kind of a cream pup schedule, but great, you know, and I got this, you freshman quarterback, they're probably going...

...to be five and six and oh whatever. Well, as as you as Stute sports fans out there, no, Miami lost that game to Florida. Never lost again, beating Houston and Cincinnati and West Virginia and purdue and Notre Dame and and Eastern East Carolina and Florida State, unless I can field goal. and was then picked to go to the Orange Bowl and they were playing none other than number one Nebraska. Everyone thought they were the best team in the century, like Rogier and Turner Gil and Irving Friar Tom Osborne's team, of course, and they're going to win by a mile. Right. It's Miami one lost, Miami team ranked fifth in the country, against Nebraska, right, number one, and the two three schools in between. Well, whatever. And I did. I worked so hard. This is probably the biggest story I've ever done in terms of well, not ever done Tinya harding and the Olympic stuff and whatever, but in terms of just sure like thinking it through, I said to my editors, why don't we talk to all sixty eight P pole pho orders and ask them what they would do if Miami were to beat Nebraska? And this is before cell phone, so I'm calling hotel rooms, I'm calling sports departments asking where would I find that particular voter. We got the names of all of them and I spent a couple days that week and I was able to get enough information to say that if number two team was Texas, number three was Auburn. For was Illinois, I think, or was to George. Any way, Texas George were playing and Auburn and Illinois and do the scenario said so that what would it take if Miami beat Nebraska? Would they be number one automatically leap frogging from five to one, or would they have to have another team loose? And I was able to play at all the scenarios and able to report that as long as the number two team lost and the Florida or the the Texas Georgia game, then I didn't matter what happen with Auburn and Illinois. Miami would be number one if they beat Nebraska. But people laughed like Doug Luny of sports illustrated, said Yeah, I'm I live in buffalo and I have more chance of sunbathing on new years day. You know that kind of stuff. Anyway, and sure enough, one of the greatest games ever played. I covered every second of it. Of course, in the Orange Bowl Tom Osborne went for two. There's a great little thirty minute thirty that I'm in on that ESPN three thirty about the decision to go for two. And he did and it was flicked away by get him Ken kill. Calhoun is a little fingertip just bats it away and and Miami wins a game, wins the national title because everything played out as I had reported a few days earlier. I scooped AP on their own Po Pole. It was really fun, I think. From that point out AP never gave out their names of their voters again because this kid journalist is scooping them on their own poll and and I covered the national champion. I was the only outsider who was every there, every day from August to January. Second wrote a book and, as luck would have it, my dear college friend Mike will bond was covering the game for the my for the Washington Post, and I didn't know this, but he took all my articles, including that big breaking news story, put him in his suitcase, brought him up here to Washington DC, threw them on the desk of George Slom in the sports center of the Washington Post and Michael Bond says hire my friend. And what eight months later I'm walking in the door of the Washington Post. Wot Work. The head to be big, the head to be big for you. But I got to meet Howard Schnellenberger when I was getting recruited for college. He was the head coach at Louisville. He's a different type of character. I would say it was he like because he's old school. Yeah, he's really old school. But a couple thoughts. One is I like powered very much. I we still stay in touch a little bit and it's fun. It's really a nice relationship to have and I would say the same with Joe Gibbs and I've really you know, I really try to work with people and I understand sometimes it can be difficult. Now, not so. I mean women, and there's thousands of women covering sports in the country now, but back then, you know, these were first you know you're dealing with the first of this or that. So I got that. I totally understood that and and was very respectful of the situation. But I will say this about how much Dallenberg. He let me in every locker room. So whereas like the Florida gators were like, I had to wait outside. And then they bring the top players, quarterbacks again in Wayne Peace and there are other people. They bring them out and pretty soon all the other writers, the mail writers, would stand there with me because they'd get them first with me, you know. So all of a sudden they just didn't know how to work the locker room and I respected that. We weren't filing a lawsuit from the Miami Herald about Florida gators. You know that point. I'm twenty three and twenty four. These players are basically my age, their college players. They're not getting paid, as we hope they're not getting paid. Joke there. And so you know, that's why they would lay you in the locker room. Well, exactly. So we weren't. Again, we didn't file law suits. I mean I think some people out there think oh, every journalist is out there to cause trouble and women are out there to no, no, no, stop it. You know, don't. Don't pay attention to all the garbage. You radio's fake news. Don't you know? There's real news here and and there's real places that are doing...

...real news and and you know. So that. My point is that we went by the Florida's rules. Well, Pretty Soon Charlie Pell was saying, Oh, just let her in, for Heaven's sakes. And so I was walking in and and there was you towels and there were anti rooms. You guys know a locker room. You you there's ways to get a coach off in a corner. And of course I'm not looking around because I'm a professional and I'm there to do my job and I carry eight by eleven notebook sometimes, so I'm looking down at the notebook. If chance someone's there and maybe not wearing a towel or not wearing his uniform stole or not in close. But I'd always wait till someone was closed to go over to their locker, always because you don't want to have a guy be I want to make sure that they're they're not embarrassed and I'm being respectful of them. So men could walk over and talk to a guy naked. I would wait. Maybe that's not fair, but I just felt that was always the right thing to do. And, Gosh, thirty eight years later, I guess. I guess it's worked out. So anyway, Miami Hurricanes, Snlimberg, old school. HOW OUR SNLIMBERGER? He just said you're in the locker room and of conversation. What was that? Guys? I think the part it was he had a little older team. Some of those guys were maybe twenty three and twenty four. I mean not really old, but I mean that you had some guys who maybe had a your or two before they got into college. Much more urban kids, and I'm saying whether. I don't care what the color of their skin was, but just much more, I think, from Miami, from a couple were from Akron Ohio. You know. Bernie was from youngstown. You know these guys. Then he was from New York City, you know, from Long Island. You know, just more with it. I think you know more, and I'm not saying in a bad way or good way, just just more aware and maybe more mindful of women's place. You know, as opposed to like maybe more of a small town feeling. I don't know, I haven't spent much time thinking about it, obviously, but point is, Miami Hurricanes, I'm in every I'm in the lock room every day. So for all those guys like Sam White and those other guys are like, oh no, we don't think women should be in the locker room, oh my gosh. And of course that's again we're talking the s. This is resolved and done, and it's been done for decades. Asking if women go in the locker room is like asking if women should vote or if someone of color should own property. I mean, that's how awful, you know, it sounds. It asked that question now and men go into women's locker rooms. Of course they do, and I'd be the first to stand outside with the man waiting to if, for some reason there was a you know, if he was barred, which he's not. But of course we don't care about women's team sports as much as we care about men's team sports. As of why? You've never heard that. The clamoring for that, but I heard that, like women's locker rooms, the teams will be way better about saying here's robes you know, here's here. You know, make sure that you're covered up in all this, because I've been in a situation of plenty of times where I'm just getting out of my shoulder pads and the press is already in there and now I got to get undressed and it's like it's just it is a little bit of a strange feeling. You know what I mean? No doubt is they stray. I got a shower and get dressed and doing everything in there's there's fifty people that I've never been in a locker room with before in my life, you know, and and even worse, cameras right and I always tell us. I told you the story about the Sante Shanko when we won that when I played for the Vikings, you know, eight, and he was completely naked, sanding behind the coach and the owner. We won divisional championship and the cameras were just right on them and all my friends were blowing up our phones saying he's completely naking it, and it was just, it's just, it's sometimes it's crazy and of course that's what I've always felt, you know. I mean, obviously I'm a professional and I know you, of course agree. I'm mean, I know there's not saying anything about that. Like nurses or doctors are professionals, right, so I know what I've signed up for. But think about the camera. The catches the Naked Guy, right, and there's a three year old watching at home. Yeah, exact problem. It's not it's not the woman sports journalists at all. It's the you know, it's the kid that kept, you know, the family back home with a with a live shot, a TV shot, because I'm not even say it's just women in alarm saying it's everybody in a locker room, like you know, it's just it's just a strange feeling. There's all these clothes people and you're sweating and I'm ready in the coach. Just got done talking to you. You you one of your loss and you have all these emotions going through and all of a sudden they can come up and talk to you at any point. You know, right, you could be just standing there in your jock strap and that's how it is. And I'm sure I don't know how it is in a female locker room because I've never you know, but I'm assuming it's the same. But from what I've heard is that. You know, they do a better job of seeing. Look, go get ready, get a robe on, do something that come back out and talk to or evil. They're so desperate for for publicity. Obviously they're so and I say desperate in a good way. They're so willing and so friendly and helpful that they'll just sit there on their sweaty clothes. Usually they don't even they don't even go to the shower because they get so little coverage compared to men. I mean, there's so many issues here that this could be a whole separate you know, a podcast. But yeah, that's unfortunately the shame of it is that they get so little attention that they're so happy, and understandably so. I mean I agree that. Yeah. And so where the NFL is so spoiled, there are in Major League baseball and they're great guys like you. My goodness,...

...when I was covering the The Washington NFL team, I the name is terrible. It should change, you know, just off. I mean, I said it a million times but I'm trying not to say it anymore. You know, you imagine calling a team that with any color skins. You know right, it's horrendous. Horrendous name and it should you know, they should have changed it along time ago anyway. So the end of question. You know, I I mean, of course, offensive lineman. I mean I was dealing, you know, some of these guys. I was dealing with Mark May and jeff bostick and Rusty Graham and Joe Jacoby, George Stark. Oh, they're great, you know, great monty Coleman, Neil oakelewitz. I mean they were terrific and and they they totally understood because it's so yeah, moving forward, I'm the first woman to cover Washington's NFL team. So the mean, you know, Harold in the Miami Hurricane Situation. Shellenberger was great. I mean there were we had moments, of course, like any basically, of a beat writer and a coach are not getting along, that means we're doing our job properly. So how was Joe Gibbson at whole scenario? Fantastic. Here's and here's what happened, and and so Schnellenberg was great. And then so I come up to the Washington Post and within a cover the NFL in the fall of eighty four and then they put me on the beat and the skins in like January eighty five. So I covered the team eighty five, thred and eighty seven, finishing with the January. What January webs at thirty one, a super bowl that Washington's went over Denver in that Super Bowl, Doug Williams. And then I moved right on to the Olympic beat and when came home, emptied out my suitcase of warm weather close from San Diego, put in my sweaters and went up to Calgary to cover the Calgary Olympics in eighty eight. And so so this isn't this is even a bigger deal because this is, I mean, bigger deal for the city. So you've got, as you know, guys well, you know this this team. Will will bond said it best to me when they put me on the beat. He said, he said, you know having a deal in this is. I said, yeah, I know, obviously been in Washington for a few months. He goes no, no, you don't know, and you know typically, can you hear? Wellbon, you don't know. You know. Said Yeah, I know. And because again we're like brother and sister, it goes no, you don't know, and I said okay, you tell me and he said so Reagan and Gorbachev are having all these meetings, you know, all these these these high level summits. And so Reagan Gorbachev could announce world peace, but if Washington Beats Dallas, that will be this the screaming headline. Washington beat Salas and then, oh, by the way, Reagan Gorbachev World Peace. And you know there's some truth to that. And so I knew this in a part of some of that. Yes, you have, oh, I know you have. And so this is you know, I'm twenty six fish and I'm put on the beat and I'm ready for it, because is now. I've described. I've had all these years at three years, just only three and a half years, but three and a half great years, pressure packed. I also did a lot of coverage of the dolphins, and Don Shula might be the best of all. He just issued his players robes and said that's it. I'm here. He is. He's a guy, Catholic guy, goes to us every day. You could say Don Shula might be the most conservative person right. HMM. Here you have robes. This was one thousand nine hundred and eighty two. You still have like goofballs like Sam White and everyone else arguing about it. Like ten years later, Don Shula done robes and whatever. And one time I was in the dolphins locker room just doing a sidebar. I never was the beat writer, but I helped out. I'm covered a lot of games, Super Bowl, etc. And I my arms getting tugged and I'm kind of spin around because I'm interviewing someone. I'm kind of like, who's bothering me? It's Sheila, and he goes and know the Oh coach, and he goes, just want to make sure everything's okay in here. Yeah, and you did. Everyone's treating you fine. It's like, Oh, don't yeah, he's a class act. You he's the best. Never heard anything bad about him. He's said he is. He is great, and Gibbs also. So here's the deal with gifts. So now now the post is putting a Washington Post. It's putting a woman on the beat first time ever. That washed it that the team will have a woman in the locker room and it's the post. So you know there's if there's a bigger institution than the NFL team in town, it's a Washington Post. Right. And I K Graham has my back and been Bradley as my editor, and George Solomon. I mean it's pretty cool. Bob would word, you know, is wandering around. So it's I walked in the pages of a journalism textbook and I loved it and it was fantastic. And so I know I'm again confident, comfortable and no problem, I'm ready for this. So the at this time you still had a patchwork of team. So, for example, there were some teams I would go in the fall of eighty four covering eat games each week. Sometimes I'd be allowed in the locker room and then sometimes I wouldn't be, and you can imagine how hard that is to do your job. So you've got NFL teams not allowing the Washington Post writer into a locker room but allowing the New York Times writer in because it's a man. Leslie Mster was covering for the Boston club. Sometimes Leslie and I would be standing outside. You've got two of the five biggest newspapers in the country, Boston Globe and Washington Post, standing outside. That could not continue. Yeah, and so he rose. L Pete Rosel, obviously Super Smart Commissioner of the League. Pr Guy Explains Everything about the success of the National Football League and how it took over as our number one sport easily in the country and over the last, you know, fifty years or so. Pete Roselle issues an edict after talking in the sports are rushing post or Solomon a few others.

I've never said it's because of me being put on the beat, but I think it's pretty clear that when the Washington Post decided to put a woman on this huge beat in DC that the NFL had to do something. So again, I don't know if it was exactly because of me, but there certainly was a kind of a critical mass of being reached. And Roselle said all all of the clubs, every team, had to have equal access for male and female reports. That could been closing at the locker room. That's fine. The Dallas Cowboys did that. They had an interview room. So everyone has to come to the interview room. Well, you and I both know. You guys know that if someone's fumbled three times they're probably not going in the interview and so what happened then is obviously for access purposes, you have to have that guy in the locker room. I mean you got the good in the bad if the NFL is going to continue. Now with the Internet, it's different, but newspapers, in addition to covering a team, also gave an incredible publicity that the NFL needed. So you got to have access, and so that's why I'm be fine with anything. But when you don't have half of the team showing up in the interview room while then you got to do something. And what happened was the League decided, even though it's imperfect, although it's been working great now for their over thirty years, is that you just let reporters you have a cooling off period, talk to the coach and then you come into the locker room and and that's male and female reporters into the locker room, and and so anyway. But Gibbs last thun on gibbs. He's a very religious man. Reese's Bible every day and he was interviewed by one of the local broadcasters. Glen Brenner passed away a few years later and Glenn interviewed him and I someone alerted me to this. I never my boyfriend at the time. I think I think dv or vh Estape, you know, whatever VC arded for me, whatever you call that because I literally would never see. Now. I was at the camp in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where they trained, but that Gibbs said I don't believe a woman should be in the locker room. I sent a letter to Peter Roselle saying I was against it. There's a butt coming. But Pete Rosel got back in touch with me and told me the rules were the rules and she would be in the locker room, she meaning me. And so gibbs said to Glen Brenner on television. So that's the way way it is. Those are the rules and and this team will abide by those rules. And guys, three years covering the team, never once did I have a problem and Dexter Manley would yell out and a Chris, come on over here, I got something to show you. I'd be thirty feet away and I say yeah, right, Dexter, and I keep walking the other way. Of course, again there's as Leslie vis her once said to me laughing, you got to be a little blind and the little deaf in the locker room. Right. I knew I was. I knew I was on their turf. I had day butts come up to me saying hey, if you're going to be in any when I'm naked, I think you should be naked too. You know what? I laughed. That's not funny now, obviously in me too. It was funny in the S. I was on their turf. I had total respect for them. They ended up having total respect for me. Joe Gibbs, what he said was all my friends were outraged, like he's writing letters against you. I said, I don't care about that. Look at the end of the sentence. Right, fine, and gibbs was terrific and we had a wonderful relationship and and I love covering the team and it was tough and it was strong and it made me the journalist who I am today. Christine, earlier you mentioned Tanya harding and some, I think some of your most recognized work has been in the world of figure skating. You for several books about figure skating. Now that's quite a contrast from the NFL. Like tell us about that. How'd you get involved with you're skating and how would say was that different? I mean I to you, yeah, Oh, yeah, no, no, people have asked. You're not the first and it's I'm laughing because it is funny. So I come for the Olympics. So after covering, and I'm still do NFL stuff. You know, I just wrote a column the other day about Jane Goodell, who I know quite well, Roger's wife, who also former broadcaster, newscaster, who's done this wonderful movie on the For Women Owners, the oldest women. You know, George Allis, the daughter Virginia, Alice Mc Caskey, Martha Ford, Lamar Hunt's widow, norma hunt, and Art Rooney's or Dan Rudi's widow, Patricia Runey, of all for these women owners and their history, the founding mothers of the NFL. So I still do you know, it's not like I don't do other things and now is a columnist for USA Today, no longer a beat writer. So I know topics as they pop up, I'm writing about them, of course, including the NF. But after covering the NFL back and in the Super Bowl back in eighty eight, as I said, I moved right into the Olympic beat for us or for the death time Washington Post, and so I covered Calgary and soul and and Albertville, Barcelona, Lolahommer, Atlanta. For The Washington Post, I covered the La Olympics as my first for eighty four for the Miami Harold and I've covered every Olympics after the Washington Post, once for USA Today. So eighteen in a row, winter and summer, going back to eighty, which was your favorite, a winner, lillahommer. Ninety four because of the Timey Nancy Saga, and never see a story like that ever, ever, ever. That's...

...why I started doing a lot of TV work and summer. It's a tough call. I mean I love each one for different reasons, the stories they've produced, the interesting, you know, emotions and all the amazing things that have happened. But I think I might pick Athens and know, for just because to be at the Olympics where the marathons began, in Marathon, when you're an ancient Olympia, watching the shot put in two thousand and four, when you're, you know, just being at the birthpace place of the Modern Olympics and and the ancient Olympics in Athens, Greece, was spectacular. So I did love that and the storylines. They are where it was the first Summer Games after eleven. So they were incredible risks and wonder and stories about security and about terrorists, terrorism and which I don't like. But as a journalist, I you certainly being able to break and work on those stories are important to me too. So, so anyway. But yeah, the so the Olympics. So I'm covering the Olympics. And if you're covering the Olympics for US newspaper, US News Organization, the Summer Olympics you needed to really be an expert on swimming, gymnastics, diving, when Greg Lucanis was around, track and field, Carl Lewis, Jackie journer, curcy Florence, script of joiner, all that whole game. So those were the things you really need to be an expert on the winner Olympics, you needed to become an expert on figure skating, and so I'd always watched figure skating. I'm being the height that I am. I never, I mean I skated. We would freeze our backyard and Patio and Toledo and we skate and my brother was a hockey player. My sister actually could do like a single sal cow, but I was that wasn't my spore. But I could skate backwards and forwards whatever, but I was never a skater. But so just as a journalist. You just had to get to know this sport well. This sport had everything and as I'm covering it, starting in Calgary in eighty eight. That was the battle of the Brians, it was battle of the Carmen's, Katerina Vit the gradies German who I know well now is a friend. And Yeah, you're just covering this and it's got everything. It's got the Cold War, it's got judging controversies, it's got costume controversies, it's got crazy parents, it's got compelling personalities and the TV ratings through the roof Tanya and Nancy when they finally skated in ninety four in Lolahammer. It's covering every day of that, from the attack on Nancy Carrigan January six nineteen ninety four in Detroit. I was there all the way through to the story and Norway for a month when they finally skated in the short program in Lolahommer and a February of ninety four. That became the six highest rated show in television history and it remains that to this day. Last smash who shot Jr from Dallas an episode of roots, is third. Two super bowls involving Joe Montana, fourth and fifth and the forty nine and six all time Tanya Nancy Short program not sports all time ratings. Forty eight point five rating. Half the nation watched. It was eight hours old. Everyone knew the result. Tape to late. Half the nation watched. You'll never football super bowl gets a forty now. So that we didn't have as many TV's then in ninety four. Therefore, the forty eight point five isn't the most TV's ever, but it's the rating. That's how big a deal skating was. No one had ever done a journalistic look at the sport. So it was waiting to be done and I was shocked at some of my colleagues who covered the Olympics at that point. I'm with the Washington Post. Other colleagues from other newspapers didn't jump in and write a book. I had just written Tracy Austin's on a biography with Lisa drew, a scribner and William more on than Scribner, and so Lisa gotten touch and I said, well, how about skating? No one's ever done a journalistic, you know, report a story on this, on this incredible sport that has nothing but TV ratings. You go to a book store, you see dozens of books about tennis and Golf and baseball football. You see none on figure skatings. That maybe like the Scott Hamilton story or something, and that's not what I'm talking about. I was talking about serious look at HIV and AIDS, the tragic loss of life in the sport due to you know, ment, and this is again the s we weren't talking about, you know, gay men and and or straight for them matter. But you know in AIDS and HIV, the way we are now, of course. And so I broke all that news and talked about judging controversy. So inside edge became a best seller. I kind of knew it good and so and then, but I just jumped into that because I saw that opening and saw that opportunity for me to really do books. And then that change the course of my career, because then I left the post. A year later I started writing columns for USA Today, but I start doing speeches, a lot of TV work, everything my whole world. I became kind of my own boss, and all because of Tanya harding. Thank you, tany wherever you are, crazy but true. Jeff Galuley, to Oh Jeff. Yeah, and we only laugh about this, all joking aside, because Nancy Carrigan, who I know very well and I like a ton of covered her. She recovered, and that was the most famous Bruis knee and sports history and she recovered to have the greatest performance of her life. Should have won the gold. The judges decided the silver for her, but if she had been seriously injured it would not be funny at all. But yeah, Tanya, what a goofball and ridiculous, and her gang of men around her just the game that couldn't shoot straight. But yes, that certainly changed my life and Yep,...

I'm probably the only serious journalist who will ever say Tanya harding changed my life. But in fact, as she and those idiots who did that, they sure did. Yes, so that you had kep special or something came out a few years ago about Tony already and a that whole thing. Was it a series or was it a one time show? He was thirty. Well, there's thirty thirty that I was involved with until they made at the Tanya harding show and then I wasn't. Then NBC, there's a really good one. Mary Carillo did it one MBC that I'm on with Phil Hirsch, Chicago tribute also. I think it's really good. You can find that just Google Tanya and Nancy and NBC Mary Carrillo. And then there's also then the movie I Tanya, yeah, which they didn't let the facts get in the way of a good story. They made Tanya look like, you know, the victim, and of course she was not the victim at all. But yeah, no, she was. She's as only one person to blame for not winning two Olympic medals, because the Olympics were ninety two and then they came back with ninety four to get them off cycle from the summer. So Nancy Caragan, Tiania, where that age group born in nineteen seventy, really had an advantage of getting two metals. Tanya was a chain smoking asthmatic. She just didn't train. She made horrible decisions and she has all and great talent, and the only person she has to blame for all that, for her mistakes and her troubles and her failures, is herself. Her Mom was kind of a nightmare. Two if I remember. Well, there's that, yes, there's no doubt. But as a lot of people who have had tough upbringings who have succeeded. Yeah, one last thing we do. We appreciate you coming into huddle. One last thing we do is our no huddle and we just blast a bunch of questions at you and and have you answered as quick as possible and it's just kind of fun thing we do at the end of every interview. Sure won't shoot. Okay, Christine, if you could be commissioner of one of the major leagues for a day, what rule would you change? Good question. Wow, may. Well, I gut guys. I'd easy one. Probably get rid of the DH. I love seeing pictures bad. So if I was in charge of the national or the American League, we get rid of it DH. Like I agree to. It's going to be a hard day for me when the ML probably finally goes the other way. It's going to be upsetting to Sally's really. What about pet peeves? You have a you have anny pet peeves. Well, yeah, I mean journalistically that we call it the final four and not the men's final four, because of course there's a women's final four and a big pet peeve. Again, in the the the adjective world, the adjective pet peas that there's still a few women's teams that call themselves the lady this or the lady that. It is idiotic. Tennessee, I mean I love pet summit. I'm sorry she's gone. Lady Valls. No, you go to Tennessee, you're a volunteer. What this is is selfimposed sexism. You're saying that we're not real volunteers. Were somebod like a little bit less, were the lady whatever. I know they don't think of it that way, but in two thousand and nineteen it looks terrible. Everybody. Get rid of lady. If you got a girl playing sports and they call the tournament the Lady Keystone thing up in Pennsylvania and like my niece went to, get rid of that. Just don't call there. You go to school or you're an athlete. You're not a lady this or a gentleman that, or maybe they should start calling it the gentleman valls right. So stupid. It really does. Y just you go to tennis, you go to northwestern, you're a wildcare. We would have punched someone in the nose back in the S if they tried to call us the lady wildcats and and it just sounds ridiculous. As you know, we don't say you're a lady senator, lady congresswoman and not already. What is your you've been in sports for a long time. What is your favorite sports movie? League of their own, the great movie about with Gina Davis and and Madonna and others and Tom Hanksaid. Just a spectacular movie and I got a chance to interview Penny Marshall, the only Penny Marshall, who of course directed that movie. A League of their own. She came to DC and we did an event where we had a couple of the older women who were still alive, the women's baseball players right join us on a panel after watching the movie screening of the movie, and then I enter. I was the moderator of that and that was a real delight, a highlight of my career for sure. Yeah, definitely, great cast and the Great Kiss. What about if you could be one person in history for one day, another one day question. WHO WOULD THAT BE? Well, that's a good one. There's a lot of choices, but I'll say I'd be able Ham Lincoln and I would not go to the theater that night. I'd be smart, I'd be wise. Well, would this country? This country might have looked very different in terms of reconstruction and and getting all, you know, the North and south head of Lincoln lived. I know it's kind of a weedy answer, but I think it's certainly something I think about every now and then. All right, so two more, one more. If we were schooled through your phone, who's the most famous in Christine Brennett? Most famous person in Christine Brennant's phone right now? Or maybe surprising? Yeah, let's see WHO's the most famous? Well, I mean friends people have known for a long time. The Shriver's, Maria Shriver, Tim Shriver, obviously lovely people. I knew their mom. You Know Shriver. You know Kennedy Shriver. Well, she would invite me to their home up a couple miles...

...from here and in Maryland suburbs, and also she was such an advocate for it. Started the Special Olympics and and invited me to events and also sometimes just sit next to me at a Special Olympics event and just asked my opinion. This is what I was at the Washington Post in particular, and I was honored to write a few columns about Mrs Shriver including after she passed away. And so Maria, I know I've known over the years very well and and really respect Maria, and then Tim, her brother, who runs Special Olympics. My goodness, these are just some of the Great Americans and great people in our society. And the way that Mrs Shriver and her family gave back when you think they didn't have to do that as members of the Kennedy family, but they did. So you know, I've got a lot of athletes since and others in there too, but I certainly think that there's a couple, right off the top of my head, pretty cool, wonderful people and just great, great Americans. Okay, last one. If you go back in time and tell a young Christine Brennan one bit of advice, would that be great, great question. You know, I was probably I was driven type A personality, probably as many journalists are. No surprise, I'm sure, do you guys or any of hers, and I definitely now I'm at the point and long since, as I described, after the after the books did so well, because I had another book after after that, you know, to skating books back to back that did so well, and and and now my life. You know, I I just do what I want and I'm really carved it out exactly as I want it. But I think early on I was like at the Miami Harold, you know, I was Aunty. I was really antsy to get up north. I love my career there. Three and a half years at the Miami herold, great times, but I was kind of chopping at the bit to get up. I was hoping could with the Washington Post ever hire me. You know, that was my dream job, right, and of course they did. So maybe I'd go back and tell twenty two, twenty three year old me, it's gonna be fine, you're going to get the jobs, it's going to be great. Not that I didn't enjoy it even then, because I did. I have great memories, but I remember kind of being a little, you know, aunt sie, like, you know, let I want to my career to take off. I really wanted to be what I hope it would be, and I think I might tell myself, you know, it's going to be you don't don't worry about a thing. But then again, I would say that made me who I am and it made me competitive and strong and and continue to work super hard to get you know, to get the places I wanted to get to, but it maybe something like that. But, as I said, I feel like I've certainly taken that advice for many years now and I feel very, very fortunate to be doing exactly what I love to do. I love it more today than the day I started. Great. Well, thank you so much for coming on and being part of the huddle with us and and you know, it was just an amazing story and I hope our fans get a lot of about all the transitions you made in your life and where you are today and how you got there. Well, Gus and day, thank you very much at delight. Guys. I know I never really covered you when you were here in Washington, but it certainly I know our paths have crossed with a lot of wonderful people that we both know, and so thank you. It's been an honor and, of course, Terry Schulman, got to say a big shout out to Tarry, who I've known for a long time and who made all this possible. Thank you really a delight and I wish you the best. Let's talk against him, all right, thanks for thank you very much. Thank you, guys. Thanks, thanks really enjoyed it. Hey, we want to thank you for joining us today on how Dole up with guests, where we talked to a wide range of guests about how supports shaped to life. As always, I'm joined by my great friend and Co host, Dave Hagar, and we want you to be able to follow us on all of our social media at huddle up with gusts and we really appreciate you and thank you for your time and listening to our podcast.

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