Why We're Here
- 6 min read

Why We're Here

Why We're Here by Victory Press Staff

When we started this project in 2015, we had a lot of goals, which have changed a bit in the last few years. We didn't necessarily realize how complex and difficult covering women's sports would be, or how different the world was becoming. In hindsight, our original vision was riddled with naivete and idealism. But we've been here a little while now, and we're still here. As the line goes, if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further.

Our coverage is evolving. We recently published some policies regarding the ethics of our reporting and writing as well as our business. We don't think you ever came here to "stick to sports." We don't. But in case you needed a refresher on the matter, or want to know more about how we approach our coverage, you can check out the list of our policies.

It's harder and harder to write about sports these days. It probably should not have ever been easy. We're learning, and we firmly believe that our interest and love of games and sports is part of being human. Therefore, everyone should be able to enjoy and participate in sports, and the games we love should not be regulated by gatekeepers, by capitalism, and by arbitrary rules. We want our writing to advocate for that vision.

Without further throat-clearing, each writer and editor has a short statement about why they write and why they are still a part of Victory Press. We're grateful for your support; whether you donate to our Patreon or just follow us on Twitter. We love you.

Mary Van Tyne, editor

Copy editing is the unsung hero of journalism. Writing stories and breaking news is the more visible job, by far; but copy editing remains a vital element. My job here as copy editor is to make our writers sound like more authentic versions of themselves when they write their stories and to provide a seamless reading experience for all our readers. Misspelled words and unclear language interrupt the reading experience in an unacceptable way, and I appreciate our ongoing commitment to accuracy.

At the same time, I don't see copy editing as an exercise in pedantry or as the rigid enforcement of esoteric rules. Our language is constantly evolving. Using a singular "they" or other pronoun sets may not have been what I learned in my first editing job, but times change and we must change with them. Copy editors wield a tremendous amount of hidden power over the things you read... and I intend to use my powers here for the greatest possible good.

I'm proud of our writers and I'm proud to be part of a website that explicitly condemns hatred in all its forms. Our readers deserve nothing less.

Melissa Burgess, staff writer

For the longest time, two of my passions in life have always been hockey and writing. Being a part of the crew here at Victory Press allows me, in a special way, to work with both. But it also allows me to maintain my humanity, my sense of self -- something that not all outlets may permit. With Zoë and the crew alongside me, I don't feel pressured to "stick to sports." This is especially important because sports don't exist in a vacuum; they exist in and alongside the contexts of things like politics and religion. Victory Press gives me a chance to express myself as: a) a living, breathing person, not just a robot reporting on something; b) a woman c) a sportswriter and d) a female sportswriter. Being able to cover women's sports here at Victory Press has been such a treasure, and I'm honestly proud of the work that my colleagues and I are doing. It's not always going to be easy. Sometimes you have to dig in and do the dirty work to get the real stories. But being here and doing just that, has opened my eyes and expanded my worldview. I've learned so much, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store. I'll be here, ready to cover it.

Andrew, staff writer

I continue to write because for me, the impetus remains the same. We are currently in the midst of a violent debate about whether trans people can exist in public space; in truth, whether they can exist at all. Arenas, diamonds, and fields are among the most visible venues for this debate and trans athletes are some of the most well-known trans individuals. As a trans writer and sports fan, I have an obligation to write about sports in a way that includes trans folks and highlights cis hypocrisy. There are so few trans sportswriters to tell our stories that to stop now feels like it would cause harm. Even if I fail to change any minds, even if I cis writers still continue to poorly cover trans issues in sports, my writing can serve as a statement of opposition to regulatory bodies, leagues, coaches, players, and fans who want people like me to quietly vanish.

Nicole Haase, staff writer

I am honored to write at Victory Press. I have grown immeasurably as a writer and as a person because of Victory Press and its staff. Being loud, thoughtful, compassionate, inclusive, ethical and willing to learn, adapt and grow all feel like radical qualities in today's world, but I'm proud they are standard operating procedure here. I'm not entirely sure I grasped the full extent of what VP was -- or was capable of being -- when I first signed on, but I am grateful for the opportunity, am proud to be part of something so amazing, and remain hopeful that what we do here can become the rule, not the exception.

Angelica Rodriguez, staff writer

I started my women's hockey writing as a feminist endeavor. Anyone who's followed me for any stretch of time knows that's how this all began. I wanted to diffuse my feminism into a new area, one that would allow me and anyone who read me to think about sports and athletes from a new angle. I also wanted to give female athletes a platform they hadn't yet been awarded on a wide scale -- and in the past five years, I and others have helped achieve just that.

I started at Victory Press the same year the National Women's Hockey League was founded, and I marveled at the parallels between providing female hockey players with a paid place to play and giving non-cis-male writers a space to work and get money for it. It seemed like a perfect move to make, just as our generation was beginning to push for the mainstream to value what we bring to the table. I'd been friends with Zoë, the editor-in-chief here, for a while, and I trusted her vision and her method for getting things done. And I knew that I wanted to be a part of whatever was happening -- what can I say? I'm a career overachiever.

As we embark on a third season, so to speak, I am both excited and fascinated by the direction we're headed in at VP. I think our responsibility to use sports as a platform for social and political commentary is huge -- it's no longer something we can ignore in favor of “sticking to the game.” No one in America's current administration is sticking to the script, and too many things have happened in the interim 254 days, both politically and otherwise, for us to be quiet anymore. That's why I write for VP: because the team we have here understands that. Zoë understands that. There's no one here saying we can't say this or write that; there's no silencing, no censoring, no BS.

There are plenty of people who might disagree with our outlook, and that's fine. But it's their responsibility to explore why they feel that way, not ours. Moving forward, I look at VP as a space for me to express myself and be free from internal guilt or reprimand. That's why I stay here, and that's why I'll be here as long as it exists.

Jashvina Shah, staff writer

The Victory Press has meant so much to me since I began writing here. The organization puts so much commitment into the staff, the stories and the editing process to make sure everything is as perfect as we can get it. The best thing about The Victory Press is our commitment to inclusion. But inclusion isn’t enough -- we must take a stand against hatred and bigotry. I am happy The Victory Press has taken an editorial decision to not give a platform to hate and bigotry and am proud to be a member of this staff.

Zoë Hayden, editor

My point of view is already all over this site. I don't really want to say too much except that I'm so lucky that all of these folks continue to want to work with me and produce important sports stories. And also that I love being an editor. Especially when we get the chance to write and produce something unexpected.

With all of that said, here is how our coverage is going to look in 2017-18.

  • We will be prioritizing feature work that is critical of both sports and society.
  • We will continue to comment on women's hockey at every level, including the Olympics.
  • We will continue to accept feature pitches. hmu: zoe@victorypress.org