Diane K. Shah
I can honestly say I never aspired to be a sportswriter. I desperately wanted to be a journalist, yes, and as a teenager I could talk sports as well as any boy on the block. But I never put together the two things that delighted me most. That happened serendipitously.
As one of the first female sportswriters – and then the first female sports columnist for a daily newspaper in the country – I had obstacles to navigate. The obstacles were mainly the gate keepers – the managers, coaches and owners who didn’t think a woman belonged in the locker room. (The Boston Red Sox were the worst, telling me that by allowing me into the press box I would destroy the American family). Still, I didn’t moan, didn’t complain. I simply spoke to these men. Nicely.
And always won.
Although I covered Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Championships, hockey, the Olympics, the Final Four, tennis, golf, etc., I also wrote many cover stories for GQ. One was about Cary Grant, who, if you can believe this, called me out of the blue because he liked a sports column I had written. To my amazement, many calls followed. I also wrote sports stories and Sunday magazines articles for The New York Times as well as stories for Esquire, ESPN the magazine, Playboy and many other publications.
I have written seven books. Four are mystery novels and two are memoirs that I co-wrote. One was Chief: My Life in the LAPD with Daryl Gates. The other, Relentless, is about the great sports photographer Neil Leifer. And then there is A Farewell to Arms, Legs & Jockstraps, my own memoir.
But perhaps what makes me proudest was the inclusion of one my columns in David Halberstam’s The Best American Sports Writing of the Century.