It isn’t every day you find yourself on a Zoom call with Sammy Toa-Schuster and her son, who’s an enigmatic personality of the Pittsburgh Steelers – wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster. But that’s exactly where Morgan, Sam, and I found ourselves this past Wednesday for our debut episode of Yinzhers. Which, by all accounts, is a revolutionary venture in itself.
An all-female fronted sports podcast, Yinzhers really is the first of its kind. Our goal is to not only champion women’s voices, but encourage them, empower them, and lift them up – and we came out of the gate swinging. We talked for close to two hours with Sammy, and JuJu jumped on for the final 20 minutes. He wasn’t even born when I became a Steelers fan. But over the course of conversation, I couldn’t help but feel that those moments, being on that call at all, were all the culmination of dreams I dreamed up as a little girl, dressed in game-day garb like Kordell Stewart, believing there was a place for me in sports.
Back then, it was the spot on the couch next to my dad on Sunday afternoons.
Now, it’s writing for Steeler Nation.
Now, it’s growing a platform on Twitter to engage with people across the globe who love the black and gold as much as I do.
Now, it’s hosting podcasts.
Now, it’s talking to athletes and their moms and sparking nationwide publications to pull from our episodes.
None of this could be more mind-boggling to me.
Women have to endure a lot, overcome a lot, pursue dreams and passions through a lot. We wade through the industry having to produce a litany of credentials before we are taken seriously, like a resume before an interview. We don’t have it harder. But we do have it way different. Sometimes, honestly, that feels harder. And I’ll tell you, that makes those moments – the ones with Sammy and JuJu and my fellow passionate female fans shared over Zoom – so much more special.
What we are trying to do and accomplish through this platform is inspire the girls who dress up like NFL quarterbacks or wear bedazzled jerseys and team-branded leggings, who cozy up inches away from the TV with eyes glued to footballs and first downs and end zones, who love the game so much they feel it in their bones, that their voice has every right to speak into the life of the game as those of the men who stand beside them.
We aren’t trying to edge people out of the industry; we’re trying to show that there’s room for everyone. Even women.
And that we shouldn’t have to go out of our way to prove we’re real fans just because of it.
We are Yinzhers. And we hope you’ll ride this wave of the evolution with us.