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Weekly Woman Crush: Always Crushin on Katie Nolan

ESPN by West Point is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Weekly Woman Crush: Always Crushin on Katie Nolan

Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Fierce. Funny. Quick-Witted. Badass. Trailblazer. Ray of Smart-Ass Filled Sunshine. These are just a few of the ways I could describe this week’s Weekly Woman Crush.

Researching and writing has been hard these past couple weeks for this empathetic warrior-and yes I’m talking about myself, but positive self-talk is vital and I’m new to its magic. The news has been a cluster bomb of depressing, stress-inducing, rage mongering, helplessness. , overdramatic? Nah. Refresh your twitter feed or turn on your TV or radio, and basically the sky is falling and everyone is pissed or offended about something.

So, this week I thought it was more important than ever to submit a lighter piece for you rad and wondrous readers. I don’t mean light in substance, because this week’s woman has got it all in spades. I mean something that will elicit a smile instead of a frown, a chuckle instead of a sigh. You get the picture. I am fully confident that anyone who goes down a clip filled rabbit hole after entering two words into YouTube after reading this, will spend a much-needed amount of time laughing and sending thanks my way for dropping these words in your lap. The two words are obviously the name of my lady love for the week, Katie Nolan.

After all the craziness of the US Open and the blatant racist, sexist backlash surrounding it, I had intended to drop a piece on the toxicity and inequality in the world of sports for you all this week. When I first began furiously pounding out my thoughts on my poor Macbook, the words and angle flowed effortlessly. Then, as umpires started to say they were going to boycott Serena’s games and cartoonists started drawing vile things about the Queen of Tennis I began losing my gusto. Straight talking, I started becoming blinded by my rage. I couldn’t find a proper journalistic angle other than, women are sick of this shit and I’m so not surprised by this I am surprised by this. So, I surprised myself by tabling the piece and taking a beat.

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The break I subconsciously desperately needed lead me to Katie Nolan’s new ESPN show, Always Late with Katie Nolan.

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I first fell in love with Nolan way back in the “Garbage Time” days, for which she eventually won an Emmy much-needed.  Back then before she was mainstreamed her shows were raw and slightly unpolished. They looked like something I could do in my living room with my husband’s photography lights and I mean that in the best possible way. I recognized her. She was accessible, she reminded me of me and my girlfriends when we chatted about sports.

Hell, I wanted to be her friend. Still do, Hey Katie, What’s Up Girl?! When I first started watching her I felt a sense of pride deep in my gut. Here was a woman who at times talked like me, cursed like me and was clearly as passionate about sports as I was and people were actually watching her. When she got picked up by Fox Sports I was fired up. Here was this woman being unapologetically herself, sharing sports views and breaking in to the male dominated arena. I was stoked.

Her take on the Ray Rice domestic violence incident was a turning point in her career and a moment I remember falling madly, deeply in love with her. Watch the clip and tell me you don’t want to high five her while kissing her? I know I do.

Nolan wasn’t afraid to say the difficult and controversial things. Frankly, at that time I recall feeling as though everyone in the media was getting it wrong. Hearing Nolan’s monologue on the matter gave me hope for a woman’s voice to shine during a time when the male response was dominating the news cycle. Sadly and may I add also eerily, this video rings true today just as much as it did back in 2014. Progress, am I right?

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As Nolan put it, it IS time for women to be allowed at the “big boy table” and it’s long overdue. I’d like to think Nolan’s jump to ESPN and friendship with Bill Simmons is showing us we are edging closer to the kind of representation women who love sports crave. She’s a true trailblazer, so I’ll forgive the Boston fandom. 

Her new show, Always Late is 2 episodes in and I highly recommend adding it to your viewing lineup. Who doesn’t like their sports news paired with funny bits like these amazing shenanigans and games with celebs like Keegan. In today’s climate, where sports aren’t just polarizing due to ride-or-die fandoms, we need some joy. Katie Nolan dishes that joy and sports news with a side of sarcasm, seasoned with a humor we all can devour.

My Crush on Katie Nolan may not be new, but the timing of her newest venture really gave me life these past 2 weeks and I wanted to throw some of that life your way.

It’s a tricky world we’re living in. I am continually grateful to be a contributing writer for The Turf. I am a proud woman who loves sports and a proud feminist. But sometimes even that feels like a burden. I am constantly reminded I’m a woman in the sports media world or at least someone trying to be in sports media world. Heck, even here at The Turf, our editors are badass, compassionate allies in the movement and our male writers are supportive in a way I’ve grown accustomed to thanks to my four big brothers. But even here, I’m 1 of 6 contributing female writers on a team of 27. That’s 20% of the team. Sadly 20% is a pretty high chunk compared to women in other sports media venues. Thank You Turf, xo!

Take Katie Nolan for example, how many women can you name with their own sports show? Now name all the male ones. There aren’t many of us and some days, hell even some weeks I’m torn between talking about the things I feel I need to because I’m a woman and simply ignoring them. These past two weeks I chose to table most of those topics, not because I’m scared to speak up, but because I’m tired and in need of a little self-care.

Just because one rests doesn’t mean they are quitting, it just means they are in need of refueling. I would love to know what it feels like to not have this weighted sense of responsibility. Instead to be only worrying about either writing a piece about Cheetah Tyreek Hill (it’s coming) or a preview on tomorrow’s Boxing.

Alas, my brain doesn’t work that way and I feel a strong obligation to not only talk about the issues affecting women in sports but to highlight women who are paving the way for those who come after them. So, to my fellow female, football loving, fierce, warrior Katie Nolan: Thanks for the laughs this week. Thank you for speaking up over the years and being a voice for many of us. Thank you for showing young girls and women that you can succeed by being authentically you. You make the sports world better by your presence in it.

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***Bonus Tip: This week in addition to episode 2 of Always Late, we were treated to Nolan’s voice on Bill Simmon’s Podcast. I highly recommend giving it a listen and if you aren’t subscribed to Bill Simmon’s Pod, A.) what’s wrong with you? B.) Get on it!

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15 years and counting NY implant born and raised in Die-Hard Chiefs Country, but born a Yankees fan. Walking Contradiction. Weeps during sports movies. Professional sports arguer. Lover of goats. Will wear the same shirt during the playoffs if her team is winning. She IS the crazy blonde woman screaming during all major sporting events that you are either afraid of or in love with.

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