My passion has always been to write and play rugby and most of all, write about rugby. Throughout my studies I have been fortunate enough to be able to truly excel at both, and surround myself with talented and exceptional writers, academics and athletes that inspire me further.
The truth of it is, I chose Cardiff Met because of the rugby. I wanted to play for one of the best women’s university teams and Cardiff Met offered that. However, as serendipity would have it, I also found another passion which I had never had before; my studies.
Studying English and Media at Cardiff Met has helped to show me how I can take my passion of playing rugby and turn it into a career. It took me a while, I must admit, I didn’t take to my course right away and threw myself into my rugby.
I would cram essays in the night before they were due, but not like most students; I would go to training in the evening, finish at 9pm and then type up an essay through the night, submit it, before waking up again at 6am to go to the gym. Needless to say, my marks were low.
However, what I soon realised was that my course gave me the opportunity to do both. I could interview my team mates for journalism assignments, and I could write about the match reports I had read, and write reports on the matches I went to see. I truly discovered the best of both worlds.
When I was gently pushed towards attending the ‘Women in Sports Journalism’ conference held at Cyncoed Campus back in December 2018 a new element of journalism was unveiled to me. My dissertation tutor thought it would be beneficial if I went along, and she was right. The small conference room was crammed with fascinating people. The event consisted of a series of panels by established journalists alongside aspiring young broadcasters discussing finding their place in the man’s world of sports journalism. I knew from this I wanted to find out more about journalism and fully experience it.
I began pondering my options for post-graduation. I was sure that I wanted to study Journalism further, but I wanted to be sure exactly how well sport journalism really suited me. So, I looked for some work experience.
In January 2019, I was fortunate enough to spend the day at BBC Wales. I had been introduced over email to Geoff Williams, Head of BBC Sport Wales through my head coach at Cardiff Met. Geoff replied almost instantly inquiring; “Sarah, what are your career ambitions?”. I replied a mere “Sports Journalism really interests me at the moment” and no surprises, Geoff didn’t reply. I pestered him for almost two months before I finally got a response from Geoff’s business advisor who invited me along for a day of placement. So, I jumped at the chance.
I arrived at the BBC Wales on transfer deadline day. That morning, I was given the opportunity to sit in on the sport sections daily briefing. Squeezed into a small office, I found that Chloe Dell (the junior editor) and I were the only women in the room. It was no surprise after all that I had read and researched for my dissertation, but it still did not sit quite right with me to see it in real life.
The day I visited was the Thursday before the first Six Nations weekend and the place was buzzing. People could barely stay sat down. Shouting across the office to one another about another breaking announcement. I could barely believe my luck when I was offered the chance to tag along to a press conference at the Vale of Glamorgan. I then transcribed an interview about native Canadians playing sport. I sat in on the hourly sport update on BBC Radio Wales, and I think I even saw the back of Gabby Logan’s head – ha! It was a whirlwind day.
It had been a long, snowy day, but whilst I stood at the bus stop, in a blizzard at 5pm that evening I began to feel excited. I had dipped my toe into the hustle and bustle of the sports journalism world and I wanted more.
I had already considered my options for postgraduate study but, after my short-lived experience into the world of Sport Journalism I knew I had to go for it. So, I applied for a MA in Journalism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver so that I could carry on playing rugby, travel and, study.