For Rebeca Landa, it’s not about being first, it’s about how you can open a door for others. Landa has been doing that ever since she won a gold medal with Mexico’s flag football team. And this NFL season she made history as the first woman play-by-play commentator on ESPN Deportes for Monday Night Football. Remezcla had a chance to interview Landa about her groundbreaking role, how her competitive drive as an athlete has helped her, and what it feels like to be the voice that helps people feel connected to their heritage.
Landa, who has worked at ESPN Deportes since 2017, told us that when she started doing play-by-play, there were a lot of doubts, even from other women. “So, I was like, there’s something that needs to change here and I love doing this, but I also think that I could be the one that opens up this door for girls to really think that this is something that they can do.”
That’s not something Landa takes lightly. “I carry that purpose and that responsibility with me all the time, because I do think that when I’m talking and when I’m broadcasting, I’m not only representing myself, but I’m representing all women.”
She’s doing it by using a lot of the things she learned as an athlete, including “discipline, being very structured, organizing myself,” as well as the ability to work well under pressure, but also “reacting correctly and being able to control that pressure.” Because, though the job of a play-by-play commentator feels very simple – she’s just telling us what’s happening, there’s a lot that goes into being able to give context to what fans are seeing.
“I do video scouting. I do a lot of news reading. I do a lot of stats. I do a lot of roster, a lot of history, so yeah, it’s a lot of time invested.” Landa told us about her preparation. For her, “it’s totally worth it,” though, and something that will get easier with time. This is still a job, even if it’s one Landa truly enjoys, and we all get better at our jobs with time.
As for what advice she would give to someone who wanted to follow in her footsteps, Landa made it clear that everyone’s journey is different, but that “If this is your passion, if this is something that you have to do,” then you should know that “this is totally possible, so make sure you are ready to get to work ready to study, ready to be uncomfortable, ready to feel rejection.” But also, she said “ready to be very proud of the road that you have walked,” a road that, for her, has a place for “anybody that loves sports.”
Most importantly, she added, “If you don’t see a person representing you, then make sure you are that person for somebody else. Represent yourself and represent the future generation.”
Finally, Landa talked about the next step for women in – normalization. “When we don’t have to clarify that this is a woman broadcaster or when we don’t have to clarify it’s women’s sports,” she told us. “That’s when we know we’ve made it.”
Rebeca Landa is proud to be the first woman in history to do play-by-play in Spanish for the US and Latin America on ESPN Deportes. But she would also love to not have to be first at so many things. Instead, Landa dreams of a time when she’s just one of many women in sports. It’s a nice dream, and she’s certainly doing her part to make it a reality.