If you love the Kentucky Wildcats, you've read Kentucky Sports Radio, the most over-the-top, ridiculous, 'Cats-lovin website out there. In honor of March Madness, and the three Kentucky teams who play today, we sat down with KSR writer Mrs. Tyler Thompson for this special March Madness installment of Follow Your Dreams Friday. Talk about a dream job -- Tyler gets to write about Kentucky sports all day long! -- HCW
HK: Tell us a little about yourself.
TT: I'm a Danville, Kentucky native who grew up spending Friday nights at Admiral Stadium watching high school football, Saturdays at Commonwealth Stadium watching college football, and any chance I got in Rupp Arena watching college basketball. I went to Davidson College in North Carolina, where I clashed with plenty of Tarheels and Duke fans before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, where I clash with plenty of Tennessee and Vandy fans. I like to think those experiences have hardened my UK fan-hood.
Tyler with UK's 2012 National Championship Trophy.
HK: How did you become a sports blogger?
TT: It's actually a really random story. I grew up wanting to be a sportswriter, but in high school, my English teacher discouraged it because she thought reporting box scores and statistics would be too dry for my writing style (fortunately, blogging allows me to be more creative). In college, I pursued literary analysis and non-fiction prose, and wanted to go into publishing after graduation. I ended up with a job as a copywriter in Nashville, but because I am obsessed with UK sports, always followed the Cats via Kentucky Sports Radio. They had a "Who wants to be a blogger" contest back in 2008, and I entered, partly as a joke and a dare from my sister. I finished third and kind of put my blogging dreams back on the shelf for a while until my friend and I started RealGirlsWatchSports.com as an outlet for our sports obsessions. A few months later, Larry Vaught asked me to contribute to his site, and a few months after that, Matt Jones asked me to join the team at KSR. Over the next three years, I began to take on more responsibility, and in December 2012, I became a full-time employee. Looking back on it, it still seems like a dream. It just goes to show, don't ever be afraid to take a chance on something because it seems silly--it may end up landing you your dream job.
HK: How is it different watching sports in order to write about the game rather than watching for fun?
TT: It's very, very different, and still an ongoing transition for me. On KSR, we do live blogs for each game, which include play-by-play and analysis (and plenty of jokes), so there's not a lot of time to "linger in the moment," if you will. Also, you're not allowed to cheer on press row, which is always a struggle for me. Most of the time, I'm tapping my foot and chewing my lip during stressful moments. There have been a few times I've slipped up and let out a whoop or a holler, but thankfully, I haven't been reprimanded...yet.
HK: For me, the “I wish I was half as cool as Tyler” moment was when you wrote about sitting next to legendary football commentator Paul Finebaum at SEC Media Days. What has been your major “pinch me; I must be dreaming” moment as a KSR blogger?
TT: Honestly, it happens every single game I go to. I keep thinking that awe will wear off eventually, but it hasn't yet. Meeting Paul Finebaum was amazing, partly because he just happened to sit down next to me. He couldn't have been nicer. I'd say my most recent "pinch me" moment was when I met Jay Bilas during the Calipari Fantasy Camp. We were both in the gym watching the team practice, and I knew that I had to go introduce myself. He was unbelievably nice and offered to help me in my profession any way he could, which is something I'll never forget.
HK: What advice do you have for women who want to go into traditionally male-dominated fields?
TT: There will always be people who don't take you seriously because you're a woman (I like to call them the "make me a sandwich" crew), but instead of letting that get you down, use it as fuel to prove them wrong. Also, don't be afraid to connect with your audience in ways the guys can't; I'd argue there are just as many female Kentucky sports fans as male Kentucky sports fans, and I love being able to give them a voice. I'm not saying you should swap recipes or anything, but keep in mind you bring something to the table that most don't--a female perspective.