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Q&A; with Angie Mentink

ROOT Sports Sportscaster & Reporter

An Inside Look at Being a Woman in Sports Journalism

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After an All-American career as a softball player at the University of Washington and being an original member of the Colorado Silver Bullets women’s professional baseball team, Angie Mentink had already led an envious life. But it’s her post-playing career job as a Sportscaster at ROOT Sports in Seattle that has led to some of her most indelible memories.

“I went up with the Blue Angels. I also went up with the Thunderbirds (Air Force) and I didn’t pass out or lose my lunch with either” recalls Mentink, safely from the ground. “I jumped out of a plane and I just recently repelled down the side of a building 510 feet. The things that working in sports TV has allowed me to do are just amazing… sometimes I have to pinch myself.”

When did you decide to pursue a career in Sports TV?

Mentink: In my junior year of high school I decided to pursue a career in journalism, but I wanted to do news… not sports. What a knucklehead, I just really didn’t like the style of many women doing sports, I have since come around and it was a great career move!

Angie Mentink’s Sports TV “Stats”

Education: University of Washington

Production Jobs held: Sportscaster, Sports Reporter

Stations: Fox Sports Northwest, ROOT Sports

Best piece of advice: For a woman looking to work in sports TV – If you want to be taken seriously, then act like it, dress like it, study, do your homework. Be prepared for everything you cover. If you don’t know something – find out.

What was it about a career in Sports TV that originally lured you?

Mentink: Again, I really liked news, I was a political junkie. I really enjoyed telling stories, things that had a beginning a middle and an end… and maybe made you laugh or cry… at the very least, think.

You went to the University of Washington, how much did it help you in your Sports TV career?

Mentink: When I went to the University of Washington it was back when the communications dept had a television station. It was great; it was like a first job. You shot all of your own stories, wrote them and edited them. It makes me laugh now it used to take me 7 or 8 hours to edit a minute and a half piece.

Where did you land your first job in Sports TV?

Mentink: I say this with reverence. It was at FSN in Seattle. I was lucky, it is not the norm. Go to a small town, make your mistakes and then go to the big city.

What’s the hardest thing about working in Sports TV?

Mentink: The hours… and in the beginning the pay. It depends on what schedule you work, but it is usually really early or really late in this business. I never make afternoon barbeques in the summer. I have always loved what I do so I never really minded the awful pay or terrible hours.

Would you do anything differently if you could go back to the early stages of your career?

Mentink: Go to a small station and wear several hats for longer, that way I wouldn’t have made so many dumb mistakes in front of such a large audience.

What is the most difficult thing about working in Television?

Mentink: I don’t know that it is difficult, but you have to have thick skin. People are going to love you, and they will hate you but that’s a good thing. The worst thing anyone could say about you is “I have no opinion”. When people hate my work it’s harder on the people that care for me than it is for me.

What type of challenges have you endured being a woman in Sports TV?

Mentink: For every door that has been shut for me because I am a woman, 3 have opened.

Generally speaking, have athletes embraced you as a journalist or have you had an uphill climb to gain respect?

Mentink: I think it has helped tremendously that I used to play sports… sometimes coaches will still throw me a glove and ask me to warm them up. Hopefully I continue to earn that respect by asking educated questions.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get started in Sports TV?

Mentink: Do it. If you want to do this, do it. Don’t look at the numbers, don’t let anyone tell you how hard it is to find a job. If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, I love what I do.

Would you give any specific advice to a woman looking to work in Sports TV?

Mentink: If you want to be taken seriously then act like it, dress like it, study, do your homework. Be prepared for everything you cover. If you don’t know something – find out. Ask questions to people; don’t say things like “Can you talk about your defense”. Ask a question about their defense.

Favorite Sports memory?

Mentink: I am going to go back to my playing days. I played for the Silver Bullets women’s professional baseball team. I used to train at the University of Washington with the guys from their baseball team. I would just rotate through the drills like the rest of the team. On one day The Naval Academy baseball team came in to watch practice; they were going to play the Huskies the next day.

I just rotated onto the field to face live pitching and I swung wood bats because that’s what we played with. The first pitch I got fisted, and broke my bat…it was at this point that I think the entire Naval Academy team started to realize I was a woman on the field. I could hear them saying “is that a woman, she doesn’t play on the team does she?” My brother was a third generation graduate of the Academy, so all of a sudden I am feeling so much pressure, the next pitch was a ball, the third pitch was a slider I lined into right field. I still smile when I think of that hit. Most might view the same hit as a meaningless hit in a meaningless practice but it wasn’t for me. Not even close.

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