Behind The Scenes

ESPN wins three Gracie Awards

Beverly Hills, CA – The glitz and glamour of Hollywood wasn’t just on the American Idol and Dancing with the Stars finales Tuesday night. Stars like Patricia Heaton, Holly Robinson Peete and Chelsea Handler attended the 36th Gracie Awards at the Beverly Hilton hosted by the Alliance for Women in Media.

Upon arriving at the award ceremony, I was directed to the red carpet. For a guy who primarily spends his time behind the lens, I was out of my comfort zone, but I obliged and took my spot in the cattle call behind actress Lucy Hale of ABC’s Pretty Little Liars. While many clamored for Lucy to smile and pose, I quietly performed my duties in the step and repeat and got a chuckle at the notion that anyone beyond my family would want a photo of me on the red carpet.

The second award of the night was for the category ‘Outstanding Producer – News/non-fiction’. The presenter was ESPN’s own Erin Andrews, who awarded the trio of Hannah Storm, Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern for their work on the ESPN documentary Unmatched, part of the critically acclaimed 30 for 30 series.  The film told the story of a friendship that blossomed out of an intense rivalry on the tennis court between legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

Just a few minutes later I would be on stage, so I discreetly left my seat next to Maria Menounos of Access Hollywood and headed to the green room. I connected with ESPN analyst and soccer star Julie Foudy, who presented me with the Gracie Award for ‘Outstanding Soft News Feature’ for an E:60 piece I produced titled ‘A League of Her Own.’ It’s the story of a 13-year old female little league pitcher named Chelsea Baker. She throws a knuckleball that she learned from legendary major league pitcher Joe Niekro before he passed away. She has remained unbeaten for an astounding five years in sanctioned little league games. I accepted the award on behalf of everyone on E:60, the photographers, editors, as well as Chelsea and her family.

Lastly, ESPN’s Outside the Lines was given the award for ‘Outstanding Sports Program’ for the show that best represented women in sports. Feature producer Nicole Noren accepted. One of the stories that OTL produced last year featured the only female high school football coach in the country, Natalie Randolph.

Nicole described her appreciation for this special honor: “This is the third time in the last six years that Outside the Lines has been awarded a Gracie Award for Outstanding Sports Program, so it’s really meaningful for us to be consistently recognized for our realistic and faceted portrayal of women in sports. Stories about women in sports oftentimes tend to fall into two categories – where the subject is either a victim or a sex object – but OTL and the Enterprise Unit make a concerted effort to go beyond the one-dimensional clichés and approach stories about women with the same depth that we afford all of our stories. Both stories on our award-winning reel were examples of this.”

Attending the Gracies was an honor and I was proud to represent E:60. At the end of the night I was ushered backstage where just one trophy had not yet been claimed. I was in a back room where photos were being taken of the winners. Of course, it was a man who forgot to get his award.

I gladly took my silver statue…and smiled for the camera.

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