Of course, this website is dedicated to professional athletes and sports personalities. But we also love Jewish fans, writers, and social influencers around the game. Meet Gabrielle Starr, whose website Girl at the Game allows her to share her passion of the Boston Red Sox with the world. Starr’s site is empowering women writers in the world of sports and she is just getting started.
1.I assume you grew up a big sports fan. Was that your parents’ influence?
Both of my parents grew up playing sports, and they both played a part in influencing my sports fandom. I had a Green Monster shirt as a baby in the mid-90s, before Wally was even “born” in 1997! My mom’s law firm has Red Sox season tickets, and we lived right down the street from Fenway since I was a baby, so we’ve been going to games for as long as I can remember; it’s still my favorite family activity, because we sit in those seats every year, and it’s really special to be there together. Some things never change, you know?
My dad is a historian, and loves sports history, and has lived a lot of incredible sports history (like being at Yaz’s multi-homer World Series game!), so he always told me sports stories and taught me about the best players to ever play the game. He’d teach me how to score the games when we went to Fenway, and we’d play Strat-O-Matic on Saturdays after synagogue, or have a catch in the park if the weather was good. Aside from ice-skating all winter and playing softball in junior high, I was never really athletic, but I loved the history of baseball so much, and I’ve always been the biggest David Ortiz fan in the world.
My parents heavily influenced by early beginnings, but my love of sports evolved into its own animal as I entered my teens and adulthood. I watch or listen to every game, and read every bit of news I can get on the team, and I’ve been covering the Sox for over two years now. It’s beyond fandom; it’s an obsession that became my occupation, too.
2. Where are you major sports interests? Who influences you?
My first and greatest love is the Red Sox. As I’ve started working more in sports, transitioning from fan to writer and content creator, I’ve also come to appreciate the game of baseball even more. It’s really fun to get out of one’s own fandom and team and all the added burden of how invested you are in them and their success and failure and just enjoy baseball. I really like going to non-Red Sox games now, because I don’t have a horse in the race, and I can just enjoy some baseball!
I also love the Celtics. Kemba Walker is my favorite player. I think he’s really a phenomenal athlete, but also typifies the kind of teammate and team leader that every team should have. In addition to being really good – and I’d say maybe one great defensive player away from being serious contenders – the Celtics are just really fun to watch this year.
Professionally, there are so many incredible women (and men!) working in sports who inspire me so much. Jessica Kleinschmidt, formerly of MLB’s Cut4, now at NBC Sports in the Bay Area, was my idol for such a long time, and now I’m really proud to call her a friend and someone I can go to to talk about literally anything. I’ve also had the honor of interviewing softball legend and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball commentator Jess Mendoza a couple times, and she was so welcoming and supportive. Britni de la Cretaz is an amazing, bad*** writer (and fellow Jewish baseball fan!) and every time we share a meal, we end up talking for hours. I could keep going and give you a list of every woman in sports who inspires me, but it would take all day!
3. Your twitter handle says you are a Rabbi’s Daughter. Which parent and how has that influenced your writing, interests, and upbringing?
My father is, among many things, a Rabbi! He’s also a historian and writer, and lifelong sports fan, so I get a lot of my passions from him. It also means I will occasionally drop a Torah reference into one of my articles, like when I compared Clayton Kershaw to Moses.
4. Why did you begin writing Girl at the Game?
I wrote something personal as a gift to a friend and mentor of mine a few years back, and when he read it, he texted me that I was a sportswriter now. I built the website on a whim a couple months later, but at the time, I didn’t really plan or envision anything like what is has become; I just wanted a place where I could talk about what I love! It has quickly evolved into so much that I couldn’t ever have thought possible.
5. Tell us more about your site.
Girl At The Game is a place for women, including myself, to write about sports and tell their stories. I cover the Red Sox, postseasons (even when the Red Sox aren’t in them), important news around MLB, issues in the league, and human interest stories. I hate talking about domestic violence in sports, but I do, because it’s important to me, and I don’t want to stay silent about how problematic sports culture is in that regard. I love telling the stories of athletes who are using their fame and platform to make the world a better place and/or raise awareness about issues that are important to them, because I think it’s so great that they realize how much reach they have to create positive change. I hope more and more athletes will be like this in the future.
I have a lot of big plans for GATG, including expanding into more teams, and bringing more amazing women on board. The point of Girl At The Game is that while I am a girl at the game, I am not the only girl at the game, far from it, in fact; there are millions of female sports fans and many of them may be aspiring sportswriters, but they have no platform to use their voice. I want to give them a place where they’ll be seen, heard, welcomed, and appreciated.
6. How does social media play a role in your writing?
Social media is a great way to connect with people. From a professional standpoint, it’s led to freelance work and other amazing job opportunities. I’m really fortunate to have a really nice community of sports fans who I interact with, including some who have become really wonderful friends in the real world, offline! It’s definitely a place that can inspire me, but it can also be really negative and toxic at times, so I am trying to use it more sparingly, quality over quantity, you know? I want to live my offline life to the fullest, and keep out of the black hole of the world-wide-web.
7. Where can people find you on social media? What is next for your site?
We have some great guest writers coming up on the site soon, and I’m so excited to share their words with the world!