Sunday, April 1, 2012

Britt McHenry I Bid You Adieu


In the world of news media turnover is not uncommon. Reporters come and go and every once in a while some find their market and never leave. The Washington DC area has been blessed to have news anchors such as Jim Vance, Doreen Gentzler, Andrea Roane, JC Heyward, and Gordon Peterson as local anchors for the better part of the past 30 years or more. In sports we had the late, great, George Michael.  When it comes to weather and sports many believe that the women that do the reporting are all looks, little brains, and know virtually little about what they are reporting on. The DC market is far from that though. Over the years we've had Lindsay Czarniak move from NBC to ESPN, Sarah Walsh move from CBS to ESPN, Sage Steele move from CSN to ESPN and now we're losing my favorite, and the best looking of the bunch, Britt McHenry, to Fox Sports San Diego.

Brittany May McHenry grew up in Satellite Beach, Florida and in 2007 graduated magna cum laude from Stetson University, where she played soccer, before earning her master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She interned at ABC News and Fox News in Washington DC before joining the ABC7 and News Channel 8 teams in DC. She began as a community reporter and anchored weekend morning shows on Channel 8 before doing weekend sports reports on ABC7 and hosting New Channel 8's High School Sports Final. Among the sporting events Britt has covered are Super Bowl 42 and the 2008 Men's NCAA Tournament.

Let me get the obvious out of the way. Britt McHenry is a freakin’ HOTTIE, easily one of the most beautiful women that I’ve ever seen.  Fans of Britt have compared her looks to that of Katherine Heigl, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and a blonde Rachel McAdams which is not too shabby of a hybrid if you ask me. In fact to think that Britt isn't on the rise because of her looks would be short sighted. "Sex" sells and in this case it’s in the gender format. Everyone can agree that one of the best ways to get people, mainly men, to keep an interest in a sporting event is to have some eye candy. Football and Basketball have cheerleaders, Hockey is starting to get Ice Girls and in the Caps case Red Rockers. On TV it’s the hot sideline reporter, and watch out Erin Andrews you're about to become forgotten…fast.  Britt has quickly risen up on lists of hottest sports reporters on sites such as BleacherReport and Busted Coverage, and deservedly so although I would beg to differ with any list where she's not at the Top or in the Top 3-5, though I'm heavily biased. Plus it’s only a matter of time before other online sites and magazines that appeal to men, like Egotastic, Maxim, and Playboy begin to take notice if they haven't already. I also share the sentiments of Twitter user @robyontz “Feel sorry for Britt McHenry's parents knowing every red blooded male under 65 has impure thoughts about their daughter.”

I was late to the game with Ms. McHenry, only happening upon her in June of 2011. The former college soccer player won me over beyond just her looks with her array of sports knowledge, enthusiasm, pop culture references, smile and laughter that she displayed with every report that she did. While sports reporters are supposed to be impartial they are also fans and she never had a problem letting people know that she's been a long suffering fan of the Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Cubs.

Britt isn't just an athlete and reporter, she's also done modeling and been a cover girl. In DC you could find Britt on the February 2012 cover of Washington Life Magazine, on the March 2012 cover of On Tap Magazine and a few years back you may have seen Britt on the cover of Prevention Magazine. Britt has also been the emcee for events in the DC area, most recently Alexandria's Toast to Fashion. Remember how I said Britt was an athlete? She isn’t afraid to show off her sports skills or admit to her struggles. In the past year she’s played in Mia Hamm’s Charity Soccer game, taken part in a Wounded Warriors Softball Game at Nationals Park, done a little batting practice in heel/boots and tried her hand at golf.

As I stated earlier Britt’s appeal goes beyond her looks. She’s not one that has to read from a script written by someone else or that gets put in front of a camera just because she's pretty, or at least that's what most stereotypes would lead one to believe about the majority of attractive sports reporters. Britt is one of the more approachable and outgoing people I've come across.  She has always been one to invite fans to meet her at an event or game she's at, though I’m sure the pepper spray and taser aren’t too far away in case someone tries to get touchy feely. She’s also active on Facebook and engaging on Twitter. Britt comes off just as humble and sweet as she appears when she does her newscasts and as many of the other local media have reported her to be, namely The Junkies. While we have conversed via Twitter, follow Britt at @brittmchenry, and Facebook (fan page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Britt-McHenry/310850325629734) in the past and she has even used one of my quotes during her one of her sports reports, I have not yet been lucky enough to meet her. Though it seemed like my chance was going to come March 14th at a charity event that my work held it did not come to pass due to an opportunity of a lifetime which presented itself to her and I for one cannot blame her one bit for jumping at the chance she was presented. So while I myself have not yet had the honor of meeting Britt I’m sure that will change one day down the road. During our interactions Britt has always been cordial and even agreed to do the following Q&A session for my blog. I brought the hard hitting questions but settled on these:

On her time in the DMV

David - What have you enjoyed most about your time in the DMV?
Britt - I've enjoyed the sense of community. When people think about big sports markets, they usually think Boston or Chicago (with good reason). However, I'd argue Washington fans are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable fans out there. If anything, Redskins fans are loyal, and most importantly, patient.

David
- Do you have any regrets from your time here?
Britt - My regret is a catch-22; leaving. I worked at a great station, developed a lot of friendships, and thoroughly enjoyed going to work each and every day. But, I'm also confident in the choice I made. It's an exciting opportunity to cover the San Diego Padres, as well as national college football games in the Fall. Plus, I am from Florida. The beach is like a second home.

David - Could you see yourself back here one day?
Britt - Never know what the future holds.

David - Favorite place to be in the DMV?
Britt - W Rooftop; you can't beat the view and atmosphere.

David - Favorite moment during your time here?
Britt - Playing in the Mia Hamm's Celebrity Soccer Game. She single handedly inspired my love of soccer and the career I have today.

David - Worst moment?
Britt - Any time I had to shoot my own video in the rain or cold. Fortunately, I'll be around a camera man at all times now.

On Her New Job
David - When do you leave/start?
Britt - Technically, I already have. I flew out to Phoenix to meet the team in Spring Training, and I start covering games opening weekend (including their exhibition game on April 3rd). However, I'll still be on the air in DC till the end of April.

David - How did this opportunity come about?
Britt - Call from my agent

David - Why did you decide to take this offer now?
Britt - I felt like the opportunity was just too good to pass up. If I'm not going to take a traveling reporting position like this now--at 25--when will I? It's not every day you get to meet a legend like Trevor Hoffman and know that you'll be working with an organization he helped build. Plus, I'll still be covering football, now in a network capacity. I did what I thought would best develop my career in the long-run. Even though, from a personal standpoint, it was extremely difficult to leave my friends and colleagues here.

David - Will you be going on the road with the team?
Britt - Yes. We go to Wrigley on my birthday, May 28th. I'm looking forward to that.

Job Related
David - Do rival reporters really get along as it seems you guys do or is a lot of that just for show?
Britt - We get along. All of us can relate to the crazy work hours, and I find that most people who genuinely love sports are pretty down-to-earth.

David - Why did you get into the profession?
Britt - I love telling stories, and I love informing viewers, listeners, or readers about something they may not have already known. I also naturally ask a lot of questions. Put all those things together, and I'm pretty sure you have a reporter.

David - What is one aspect you feel you still need to improve on professionally?
Britt - Honestly, what I'm about to do. While I've done a lot of live reporting, I've never explicitly done sideline reporting. There will also be some hosting opportunities as well.

David - Is radio something you’d really like to do?
Britt - Absolutely, I love radio--and I love the Junkies!

On Modeling
David - You’re a reporter, you’ve played soccer, you’ve done modeling…which do you prefer and which is the most difficult?
Britt - I prefer reporting and feel it's what I'm most talented at among the three. Soccer is by far the most difficult, and modeling is more cut-throat (laugh).

David - What are your thoughts on the notion that you’re viewed a certain way as a reporter because you’re extremely attractive?
Britt - People are going to assume things about me because I'm a woman and because I have blonde hair. I just ignore it. Hopefully, my reporting and background as a Division I athlete will speak for itself.

Random
David - 5 things you can’t live without?
Britt – Family, my phone, my computer, sour candy, and make-up

I personally don't believe the last one to be necessary since Britt is a natural beauty.

David - What’s your worst habit?
Britt - I'm a bit type A, so I tend to overanalyze.

David - Biggest pet peeve?
Britt – Arrogance

David - Why do you seem to wear blue so much? Is it your favorite color or Cubbies Blue?
Britt - Haha, I didn't notice I wore blue that often. I generally like wearing brighter colors.

David - Favorite type of music/musician?
Britt - I like everything. In my iPod right now: Black Keys, Carrie Underwood, Gotye, Lil Wayne (told you, I like everything).

David - You’ve made it known you’re a bit of a SciFi dork and love the Underworld movies. After them what would be your next favorite genre and your favorite movie(s)?
Britt - Not really sure about genre's. My favorite movie of all time is The Cutting Edge. Still not helping my nerd cause ha!

David - Can a sense of humor win you over?
Britt - Yep, that's what I look for in a guy. My boyfriend Max is pretty funny. 

Sorry fellas she’s taken!
David - How’s that golf game coming along?
Britt - Terrible as always; I once managed to hit a ball into an adjoining stall at the driving range. I don't even know how that trajectory is possible. I'll stick to soccer and basketball.

David - Who’s your favorite follower/fan?
Britt - David Browne…obviously! (awww aren’t you sweet..HA)
 
As you can tell Britt was great regarding those questions and has been kind enough to put up with me messaging her quite a bit of late. Despite all that awesomeness Britt hasn't been without her haters. Whether its harassing, inappropriate, or derogatory comments on her blog writings at ABC-7, on her Facebook page or even Twitter there will always be someone that wants to be an ass because they're jealous or wants attention but Britt has handled herself with class and dignity dealing with each and every one of them. I really don't understand how someone "likes" someone on Facebook or follows them on Twitter or goes to their blog just to bash someone and say they're conceited or seeking attention by asking people to read what they wrote or posted a new picture of themselves on their page. What kind of friggin' psycho dumbasses are some of these internet tough guys? Sorry back to what matters...

For months fans, mainly male, have been saying/fearing that they expected ESPN to come calling for Britt, though I never really saw her as the ESPN type, and based on some of the things I've read about what happens up there I had hoped they wouldn't come calling despite the ABC/ESPN connection.  Instead the call came from Fox Sports and Britt accepted the job as a sideline reporter for the San Diego Padres and also will do reporting at college football games on Fox. This means I will now have to drop money on the DirecTV Sports Package, I'm too cheap to do the MLB Extra Innings offer. There is no doubt that DMV is losing one of their best and most underrated talents and our loss is San Diego's gain. Also if there is one person would be most happy about Britt’s move would be NBC4’s Dan Hellie because now NBC can get their ratings back on weekends from Britt’s domination (opinion not fact - and its always fun to kid Dan).

I'm sure a few people are asking is a "weekend anchor" ready for a bigger stage...I think the question should be is the bigger stage ready for the "weekend anchor." In recent interviews Britt spoke of what her days consist of, the sacrifices she's made for her job, including working holidays and days off, shooting her reports and editing her reports herself and just displayed a rare ambition, drive and work ethic that is rare in someone of her age, 26 in May. So yeah I think she's ready. Plus Britt, admittedly, isn't one to get "star struck," as she claims to have it only happen on two occasions, meeting Don Shula and her idol Mia Hamm...and mind you this is a girl that got to have her picture taken with Dirty Harry himself..one Mr. Clint Eastwood.

Like many I found out about Britt leaving via Twitter and actually was commenting on it when she direct messaged me about something else. I'm sure many people in the DMV had the same feeling, heartbreak, and thought, why couldn't it have been Tim Brant that was leaving and Britt taking over, as I did. In fact I feel partly responsible since on New Year's Day I tweeted "Fearless predictions for 2012 - @BrittMcHenry will receive a proposal to good to pass up tho hopefully not one taking her out of dc area," to which she replied "hmmm... you may be on to something ;) !" So look at me finally getting something right...dang it. A change and move this big is far from an easy decision to make. How difficult of a decision may this have been for her? Well Britt posted this in the days before it was announced "sometimes the hardest decision is the right one, but that never makes it any easier to make." So if that was in response to her decision it speaks volumes.

There is little doubt in my mind that the people of San Diego will fall in love with Britt from the first telecast, and it seems that many are already supporting her hiring, even if most are all for it because she is a hottie. San Diego is a beautiful city that has gorgeous weather year round and being a Florida girl I'm sure she won't mind the opportunity to have fun in the sun and lounge on the beach. The Padres team leaves something to be desired but in a few years they may turn the corner.

Of course selfishly I'd hope by then Britt decides to return to the DC market, I still can't believe the Nationals didn't hire her after dumping their terrible sideline reporter from last last year and hook her up with a radio show much like Amber Theoharris has gotten in Baltimore.

Finally wrap your head around this. One day years ago, as Britt stated, Mia Hamm for inspired her and that lead her to where she is today. One day, maybe its now, maybe its in the future or maybe its already happened, some young girl or young boy is going to look at Britt, see how she conducts herself, see how cool and calm she remains under pressure, and sees how good and confident she is in the job she is doing and at that moment they look to Britt as inspiration to follow their dreams or to go into sports broadcasting. How awesome must that feel?
Britt I want to thank you for all that you brought to your telecasts here, for the interactions, for the work you did in the community, for your kindness, your dedication to your craft, and for reigniting the passion in me to get back to doing some of the things I love – like this blog and doing the Q&A with me, YOU ROCK GIRL! I really feel I focused too much on the wrong things with this blog entry and didn't do you justice but I do have the utmost respect for you, what you do and what you've done. I wish you well in San Diego and San Diego you better treat her well. As the outpouring of support and well wishes showed on Twitter you are loved here and are always welcome back. Enjoy this new chapter but don't forget those you left behind.

Your #1 fan - David

2 comments:

  1. Why does every brunette in media think she has to dye her hair?

    ReplyDelete
  2. her roots are showing in pic 3.

    ReplyDelete