Sports have been an important part of everyday life for Madison Area Technical College dancer Christina Sallis since an early age. While Sallis has become highly involved with student organizations and events throughout her schooling, she always leaves time for her passion for athletics.
As a transfer student, Sallis plans to eventually attend the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she wants to minor in dance. She hopes to someday become a dancer for the NBA or a sports analyst for a major television network.
As a black female, Sallis is facing an uphill battle to achieve her dream to become a sports analyst. Ninety-four percent of the sports editors, 89 percent of the assistant sports editors, 88 percent of AP columnists, 87 percent of AP reporters and 89 percent of AP copy editors/designers are white, according to a report released by the Associated Press sports editors. Those same positions are 94, 90, 94, 91 and 84 percent male.
Although the statistics show there is a lack of diversity in sports journalism, there are several black female sportscasters in prominent positions, such as Jemele Hill and Sage Steele of ESPN.
While Sallis expects to be successful in her endeavors, the adversity she might face to realize her career goals isn’t lost on her.
“Because of the fact that I’m a girl, people may think that I’m less knowledgeable,” Sallis said.
As a child, Sallis watched sports with her mom, who is a baseball fan. Her mother would dress her in cheerleading outfits and Sallis would root for the teams. In third grade, Sallis started cheerleading at school.
She became involved with dance in the eighth grade. Cheering and dancing for different teams, Sallis developed an interest in competing at a high level. In high school, she began to broaden her depth of interest in sports while also being involved with student organizations.
“I started to realize I was talking about sports more than other girls,” Sallis said.
While dancing and cheering, Sallis also was a member of the student council and the school newspaper. While writing for the school as a columnist, she began to take on the responsibility of sports writer as well. Writing basketball spotlights for the newspaper, she started to develop a strong interest in sports writing and reporting.
Sallis started to understand the basics of many sports. She recalls that many people would see her as a “girly” girl and wouldn’t take her seriously. Armed with her newfound knowledge of sports, people she talked to started to take heed of her talent.
“How many women can you sit and talk to about the basics of the game?” Sallis said.
When Sallis moved on to college at University of Wisconsin Marathon County, she continued her involvement with dance and school organizations. As a member of the student government committees board, Sallis would help organize different events as well as handle other responsibilities.
She became a columnist for The Forum, the newspaper at the college. Her column gave advice to readers who wrote in. Sallis also continued to write about sports.
Now, as a student of Madison College, Sallis is continuing her trend of sports-related activities. She is an active member of the dance team and is looking to become more involved with school activities. She was recently involved in the production of the play “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Sallis hopes to keep sports and journalism part of her life as she continues forward through college.
Regardless of the adversity she may face, Sallis conducts herself with supreme confidence. Her fiery attitude and determination become apparent when she enters a room and talks of her ambitions.
“I’m going to take the opportunities that come my way,” Sallis said.