“People always say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Trust me, I know what I have, and I love what I do more than anything.”
Nashville Predators rinkside reporter Lyndsay Rowley smiled as she talked about her dream job, which is exactly where she is now. Growing up, Rowley had a different experience when it came to loving sports.
“My mom played volleyball in college, and my dad played basketball,” she said. “When my mom started coaching volleyball at a university, my daycare equivalent was going to whatever sports games were going on at that college.”
When it came time to pick a career, Rowley wasn’t sure which path to take.
“Part of me wanted to be a coach, but another part wanted to be a powerful business woman. I got my wish with a full-time job being that (business) woman, until I quickly realized how much I missed sports.”
Rowley’s competitiveness always made her take the road less traveled by. She knew how blessed she was with her current situation despite how she got there.
“I always tell girls to not take the path I took. But for me, I’m always the first to take a difficult road,” she said. “When I quit my business job in New York, I moved to Ohio and took an unpaid internship at a local news station that lasted for nine months. It was a very roundabout way of getting where I am now.”
Looking back on the sports industry, Rowley knew it would be difficult to get into. But, she still had her fair share of doubts.
“I shed tears while calling my mom and complaining I would never make it,” Rowley laughed. “I messaged every director in every sport asking for jobs. Only one NBA director got back to me with a yes, and I started working as an arena host. After I started working, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted. I felt like I only got hired to stand there and look pretty.”
That’s when Rowley started to notice the comments and criticism directed towards her.
“There’s a lot of old-school people out there who still aren’t sold on women in sports,” she sighed. “People look at me and think the pretty blonde girl doesn’t know sports. Those kinds of comments used to get to me, especially on social media. It’s hard not to respond to people, and it’s even harder when it comes from a woman.”
She recalled one person on Twitter who she couldn’t help but clap back at, but with class.
“Someone said I never interviewed PK Subban before and assumed I was a racist,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Two days prior, I actually did interview him, and it was posted on Twitter. I decided to stop holding back, so I responded with the link and told him to have a good day. It went viral so fast. People just want something to complain about.”
When talking about Nashville, Rowley couldn’t hold back her excitement.
“I’m from Manhattan, so back then I thought Nashville was a stepping stone. Now, I can’t imagine myself leaving,” she smiled. “There’s nothing like Bridgestone Arena. It’s like a big party. I’ve really enjoyed watching how our fans have jumped on with the Predators, even more so with our Stanley Cup run. Ever since, our fan base has remained that loyal. That really made me fall in love with the organization.”
Rowley claimed this is her dream job, but she hopes to chase a dream much bigger one day.
“To be able to cover the Olympics would be amazing,” she gushed. “Definitely hockey, but I would do whatever they needed me to do. My agent submitted me last year, but obviously things got moved around. I hope one day to be able to check that off.”
Getting the call to work for the Predators was an amazing moment for Rowley, but she also remembers a time that really made her proud.
“I got to host The Desk during the Stanley Cup run, and later on in the year, we won an Emmy for it. To be able to stand in Bridgestone Arena and watch the crowd go nuts over it, I knew I was living a dream.”
Rowley always tells young girls to get ready to work their butt off if they want a job in the sports world, because she knows how hard it was to get into it.
“Two years ago, if you came up to me and told me to hang in there and that I would have this job, I probably would’ve fainted,” she joked. “There were so many auditions and connections that led to nowhere. I’m thankful to be where I am today, and I work with the most amazing people. Because I proved myself, I earned that respect, and I hope to continue living this dream.”
Women in Nashville Sports Media: Emily Proud, WKRN-TV News 2
Over the next several weeks Laura Privott, of A to Z Sports, will feature women from across Nashville’s sports media.
Featured image via Lyndsay Rowley