At 47, it’s not very often that one gets to be the “first” to do something, but today I hit that milestone, proving that it’s never too late in life to achieve something; to break ground; to trail blaze.
Today, I got to sit on a motorsport media panel of not only my peers, but also my long time motorsport journalist mentors, and in the process was the first woman to ever do so.
These are all the major motorsports reporters for the nation’s top newspapers, plus radio & tv personalities… and then there was little ol’ me.
Now full disclosure, I was essentially a “seat filler” (think the Oscars) for Jeff Pappone, motorsport writer for the Globe and Mail, who had to cancel due to the weather. (I KNEW I loved snow storms for a reason!) But there were other “males” in the vicinity, one of whom has sat on the panel a few times, who could have been placed in that seat, as well as another female, with connections… but yet I was asked.
I was terrified. In fact I almost said no. I immediately told myself all the reasons I didn’t deserve to be on that stage with them. (OH the inner dialogue that I battle with every time something good falls in my lap) But then I told myself all the reasons I DID deserve to be on that stage, and to seize the day because these moments only come along once in a life time if ever, if you’re lucky, and you’ve been busting your ass for 10 years trying to convince everyone you belong here as much as anyone else, and well, if not now, when? Not to mention, there for sure is someone circling like a vulture ready to take the opportunity if you don’t.
So I accepted the tentative offer. (it wasn’t 100% confirmed until today)
I didn’t even tell anyone, save for 3 people privately, that there was a remote chance this would happen. One, I’m not a braggart, and two, I just thought that if I were to put it out into the universe, that something or someone would take it away from me.
Even up to five minutes before it started, I played mute. It was only as I approached the stage, and the men leading the way saw my name emblazoned on the placard in front of the microphone, that they all clued in to what was happening.
“Too late to do anything about it now boys!” I thought to myself.
I was Darla, and I was encroaching on the door to the club house, and there was nothing that Spanky, or Alfalfa or Buckwheat could do about it.
But they didn’t get angry. In fact they were all very gracious, and welcoming, even as I took my seat in the centre of the panel (!!) And once my face stopped burning, and my lips and hands stopped quivering, and I remembered to just breathe… I was fine. And I belonged. And I was in the moment, floating in a silent bubble of “now”.
The hour went by so quickly, in fact we went over our allotted time, and then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, it was done.
And I had held my own.
And I was proud. So proud.
And after years of being the girl in the front row, asking the questions, I was the girl on the stage answering them.
And except for some “stank faces” in the crowd, which I expected, the reviews were good.
I am a writer.
I am a motorsports writer.
I am a journalist.