One year ago today Pride of the Terraces officially got up and running as the first interview on the site went live. At that point in many ways it was still just a concept – I had the first few interviews either done or lined up, but I really didn’t have a clue where it would take me over the next 12 months.
The immediate reaction was quite overwhelming. I had blogged for years on other subjects without anyone taking any real notice, and I had been working on POTT for a couple of months to build up to the launch, so to finally be putting it out there into the public sphere felt like an accomplishment in itself. To have so many of my friends engaging with, sharing and praising Pride of the Terraces meant so much.
For me, it was a place where I would do what I could to get regular content, and maybe someone would come across it one day on their social media feeds or after a Google search, and might be able to take something from it (which was part of the reasoning behind adding The Big Questions, to provide a resource for anyone who may be struggling that comes across the site). I certainly didn’t expect any opportunities to come from it.
Inside two months though, Jon Holmes from the Sports Media LGBT+ network reached out to me and invited me into their group. In so many ways, that was an eye-opener for me.
I knew that other people were covering LGBT+ stories in sport, because part of the reason I thought Pride of the Terraces might be feasible in the first place was listening to Jack Murley’s BBC LGBT Sport podcast. I knew of Outsports in the US, but other than that I wasn’t aware of really anyone working in sports media that was LGBT+. Suddenly I was in a group with people who worked for nearly every major media outlet the UK has to offer, all passionate about the same topic.
A lot of the time in those early days I felt like I was in over my head – there was so much acquired knowledge between everyone and I barely knew anything. I really was the proverbial deer in the headlights, just trying to soak as much in as I possibly could, but it was incredibly inspiring to see nonetheless. The passion that people bring to increasing LGBT+ visibility in sport, making tangible change for the community, that was exactly what I wanted to do too.
Contacts are crucial in journalism, and through Jon and the network I was introduced to Hugh Torrance at LEAP Sports Scotland. While continuing to write articles here, I also began to help research and promote LEAP’s Pride Active Conversations series, which had some cracking guests and some really fascinating interviews.
Here’s where those unexpected opportunities went a step further – I was asked to host a one-off Pride Active interview for Football Pride, organised by the FootballvHomophobia campaign.
There’s a reason Pride of the Terraces isn’t a video podcast. I never saw myself doing anything on camera, but I was given the chance to push myself out of my comfort zone and I took it. That then led to hosting the whole series for European Week of Sport in a partnership between LEAP and the EGLSF.
Just this week the Sports Media LGBT+ network ran two webinars – one on creating an LGBT+ network in sport and another on LGBT+ mental fitness in football – for #AuthenticMe 2020. I helped out on the social media front for both nights, but what really struck me this week was not anything one of the fantastic panellists said.
Instead, it was a post-webinar chat on Monday night after the first panel, when my screen was filled with people on a Zoom call who were interested in changing things for the better. People from different countries, different sports, some names I knew and others I was seeing for the first time, but all united in their investment in LGBT+ sport. This year it has been so easy to feel alone at times, but just being on that call hammered home to me just how many of us are working behind the scenes to make things better going forward.
A year ago, I was an individual with an idea and not particularly high expectations of what Pride of the Terraces could be. It’s not a coincidence that I decided to launch on National Coming Out Day – it felt appropriate anyway, but also I was taking the first steps in a new journey with the hope that I could play some small part in making things different in the future.
I never thought that I would have interviewed people from all around the world, at elite and even Olympic levels. Now, I know that I’m part of a surprisingly big community that cares about the same thing I do.
Now, 20 interviews, over 53,000 words, thousands of page views, five video interviews, invaluable learning and loads of new contacts later, I have to say a big thank you to anyone to has helped my journey over the last year. Every time I do an interview it gives me a boost, it fuels my passion to do more, and whenever that is supported by likes, shares, comments and retweets it makes all the time and effort feel worthwhile.
The work is not over though. There is a lot more progress to be made and a lot more to come from Pride of the Terraces. Seeing how the last 12 months have gone, who knows what will happen by October next year? I for one am excited to find out, and if you’ve made it this far I hope you will continue to join me.
First year highlights
Most viewed article in a single day – Abbi Aitken-Drummond: “I do firmly believe that cricket is one of the most inclusive and diverse sports out there.”