Pam Ward was a female announcer who covered college football for ESPN. This may be news to you, and if so, you should really pay more attention to things. If you are one of these people, do you have children? Please look up to find them running out the open, possibly broken window with all your possessions. True: all children left unattended for five minutes become kleptomaniacs, and after ten they are legally considered "feral cats." This is Georgia state policy, and explains why our animal shelters are packed to capacity.
So if you are celebrating Pam Ward's removal from ESPN's college football duties today, rejoice: she was not very good at her job, and added little as a play-by-play announcer to the game experience. (And contrary to what some would say, the PBP voice is not just mere fact recitation, and never has been.) Worse still, this sort of thing happened to her, and did little to help those looking for a reason to give Ms. Ward the benefit of the doubt.
The least savory part of this, though, is that you agree with those who would hate her no matter how good she was at her job because she happened to be a woman, and not merely a female announcer who happened to be decent but not great in the booth. Ward wasn't particularly great, but she was a pioneer, and those two things often appear together. The first people to do something are often the least competent, and if you don't believe that go back and look at the list of "early adopter sports bloggers." The first should never, ever be assumed to be "the best," but this fact should be acknowledged: she was indeed first.
She was also merely okay, and that should be granted, too. For all the complaints-for-ovaries' -sake you'll get from men who hated her work because she was a woman, you will get as many or more who just did not like the way she called a game or the lack of energy she brought to the booth, or the occasional gratuitous error exceeding the margin you unconsciously keep during a game. In the end, she was probably let go for not being good, and not because people didn't like a woman's voice in the play-by-play booth. When gynophobia comes in a close second, we'll call it progress, especially when the winner is "incompetence."*
BY THE WAY: we don't find it to be, like, the most sexist thing in the world to prefer a male announcer. It isn't. People choose doctors based on gender, and if you can let gender preference enter one of the more personal and important decisions you can make as a consumer, then you can certainly allow it in your choice of play-by-play announcer, a deeply personal relationship for many college football viewers.
It's not like this was a failed experiment, either. Pam Ward called college football games (and yes, you still have to call Purdue v. Northwestern at 11:00 a.m. CST "football") for over a decade. She had a good run, all in all, and given her long run through the Big Ten's hinterlands can probably retire on Hampton Inn Rewards Points alone.
The departure of Ms. Ward now leaves just two female announcers on ESPN's college football roster: Beth Mowins and Mike Patrick.
*EDSBS: A Safe Place For Incompetence Of Any Gender