Almost as soon as I had stepped foot within the lift, the elevator operator's query, delivered with a keen edge, cut through the air.
"Where's your press pass?"
In the intimate confines of that cramped elevator, an ironclad camaraderie of seasoned, older male peers enveloped me. I stood in stark contrast — the only woman in the elevator that carried us all up to the Kenan Stadium press box.
I looked down at the lanyard suspended around my neck, the laminated credential it held swaying gently. Words were superfluous. I looked back at the employee and pointed at my press pass in a simple, silent gesture.
There was a swift, "Oh, I'm sorry,” followed by the dinging of the elevator.
I’d finally arrived.
This marked my inauguration into the realm of UNC football coverage last year. It was the first home event I’d ever covered at Kenan Stadium, and I already felt like an outsider. Yet, I wasted no time immersing myself in the task at hand — delivering the best possible football coverage to our readers.
My time reporting on college football has been less a fairy tale and more an ongoing test of resilience. My questions, though fueled by curiosity (and also knowledge), frequently elicit condescending smirks from colleagues. During games, well-intentioned souls lean in to offer unsolicited explanations of game intricacies — "That was a wheel route. Do you see how it takes advantage of the slow defender and..."
Yeah, I get it.