Practicing social distance gives you a chance to do more introspection than we usually do. And with the coronavirus pandemic impacting all of us, we’ve decided this would be a good time to share some interesting things about the people behind the scenes at Outsports.
First up: me, managing editor Dawn Ennis, which is ironic because...
- I was that kid in school who always got picked last in gym class, when the two strongest and most popular students were selected to choose teams. It wasn’t so much that I was ever “chosen,” as much as one team or the other got stuck with me. I loved sports, and always have; I was just never very good at playing them. To the child of New Jersey’s No. 1-ranked high school track and basketball athlete, I was a major disappointment. I tried out for every sport: baseball, basketball, track and field, hockey, football and soccer. I sometimes joke that in little league my position was “left out,” as in, I was left to sit on the bench. And that was fine, because like I said, I enjoyed watching sports. My dad once asked me after a ballgame what I was muttering to the batter, while all the other boys were shouting, “NO BATTER! NO BATTER!” I told him I was praying, “Please God, don’t let him hit the ball to me.” My pop never gave up trying to turn me into the athlete he was, but his methods lacked, shall we say, a certain sensitivity. For example, he hoped to inspire me to be more of “a man” by constantly calling me, “Mary.” Yeah, no. That didn’t work. Like, at all.
- I was a child actor and a model from age 4 to 17 and appeared in more than 100 television commercials and advertisements. I modeled as a girl starting at age 12, working with Brooke Shields, Sarah Jessica Parker and others; it was a secret between my mom and me. My father found out when I was 16 and immediately put a stop to it.
- I still root for the Patriots, Jaguars and the Islanders — during the “Dynasty Days” we actually got a real, actual size hockey stick on “Stick Night.” But baseball is my first love, and while I’ll cheer on the Red Sox (and any team playing the Yankees), I was born a Mets fan and will always be a Mets fan. My dad was a diehard Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and growing up I learned never to mention the name O’Malley or the phrase, “The Giants win the pennant!” We’d go to Shea Stadium and my dad would tip the usher a few bucks so we could sit in the field box seats along the third base line, the ones that season ticket holders hadn’t shown up for. My favorite memory was when I was old enough to take my father to the Diamond Club, where fans and former Mets players would dine before a game. We met Cleon Jones, and it was a thrill.
- Best baseball game I ever saw: It’s a tie between Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, and a Father’s Day game at Yankee Stadium in the early 2000s. Now, I’m old enough to recall attending a game in the original Yankee Stadium when I was an altar boy on a field trip with the Catholic priest who was rewarding our good service. I sat a few seats from a pillar. But I don’t remember much else from that day. Like many Mets fans of my generation, the night of World Series Game 6 is ingrained in my memory. I even have a print of the ball going through Bill Buckner’s legs, may he rest in peace, hanging on my wall. God bless you, Mookie Wilson! That Father’s Day game was a special one because I treated both my father in law and my grandfather in law and my eldest son, then just a toddler, to a day in the Bronx. At one point, John Franco called me over from the visitors dugout and tossed me a ball he had autographed to give to my son. I can’t recall a better day of baseball than that one.
- I am a native Nu Yawka who grew up in Queens and on Lawn Guyland. I have also lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, Montclair, N.J., Los Angeles, Clearwater, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., Arlington, Va., Marietta, Ga., Yonkers and Cortlandt Manor in Westchester, N.Y. and Danbury and East Haven, Conn. I now live in a Connecticut town about halfway between Boston and the Bronx. My three children grew up here and we love our town and especially our neighbors. They’re incredibly supportive and I can’t think of a better place to raise kids.
- I married my college sweetheart, a journalist who became a special education middle school teacher, and we lost her to cancer in 2016. Now I am an adjunct professor at a local university, teaching journalism, public relations and advertising.
- I once went on a blind-date vacation with a woman I met only upon our arrival at Club Med.
- My favorite place on earth is Point Reyes Lighthouse, in northern California.
- I am the only female listed as a graduate of my all-boys Catholic high school.
- I had planned to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy with a goal of becoming an astronaut. However, my high school guidance counselor told me that because I wore eyeglasses, I’d never even become a pilot, and so he re-directed my ambitions to journalism. I wrote for the school paper and was an on-camera host as well as one of the directors at our high school television station.
- I won a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to college and got a job at CNN one month into my sophomore year internship. I worked all through college, until the show was canceled. After graduation, I got a job at 1010 WINS Radio and CNN and worked both jobs back to back, 80 hours a week from 4am to 7pm, for a year. Exhausted, I quit the radio gig and worked at CNN for five years, working my way up from production assistant to writer to assignment editor and assignment manager. From there, I worked at local news stations across the country as a writer/producer and news manager, as well as at CBS, NBC and ABC News. My two favorite jobs: being an executive producer at Politico and the news producer of the weekend edition of The Today Show.
- I was the first U.S. journalist to come out as trans in a network TV newsroom. I had a very rough transition under the hot media spotlight, and that led to me being the first one fired after coming out (for “performance issues.”) Transitioning changed so many things, most of all my marriage and my relationship with our children. I have inherited the best job in the world, of being a mom to my kids, who they call “dad.” But most incredibly, transitioning also changed my senses. My hearing, my taste and so much more seems to have switched “on.” I’m also 3-inches shorter and I have a much smaller shoe size. Not typical. Just me.
- Being transgender is actually the least interesting thing about me.