Let's face it: being a woman sports broadcaster comes with some unique hurdles, even here in 2011. There are stereotypes to disprove, perceptions to overcome and a sector of sports fans that just won't ever quite give a female broadcaster the same benefit of the doubt they may to a male.
Thankfully, we as a society have made tremendous strides in those areas ... but they're far from eradicated. Either consciously or subconsciously, many sports fans just seem to be a little harder on a female calling a man's game. That's not to say men get a free pass ... just take a look at one of the greatest blogs of all time, Fire Joe Morgan. But it's very rarely that you hear someone praise a female broadcaster, even in this day and age.
That's why I'm so thankful for Doris Burke.
One of my favorite things about basketball season is listening to Doris Burke call and analyze both NCAA and NBA games. In my opinion, she's simply one of the best in the business, man or woman.
Burke, a standout basketball player at Providence College and Providence College Hall of Famer, uses her wealth of basketball knowledge to break down plays, players and situations as well as anyone. She articulates the game with passion and professionalism, and provides insights many people don't even notice. She's tough but fair, enthusiastic but never goes overboard. And she knows more basketball than the majority of people in the stands and watching at home.
As I'm writing this, I'm watching and listening to Burke do a masterful job working the Illinois-Maryland game, and it's a reminder of what excellent, professional broadcasting is meant to be.
In an era where more and more sportscasters are spending their energy on becoming personalities rather than doing their job and doing it well, Doris Burke embodies what basketball fans want and need - informative, unbiased, passionate and insightful broadcasting.
I love basketball season - both college and pro - for many reasons, and Doris Burke is most definitely one of them.
Reverend Paul Revere, aka Joe Boland, is a sports blogger out of Philadelphia whose life revolves around sports 365 and a quarter days per year. Keep up with Rev at his own personal blog, The House That Glanville Built and on Twitter.