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And So She Goes
And So She Goes

Episode 7 · 1 year ago

6. Laura Rutledge, ESPN and SEC Network Host and Reporter

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If you watch Laura on tv, you already know she is poised and bubbly and so smart. In this interview, she really opened up about so many specific things like when she learned how to be herself on camera, how she overcame an obstacle during her first MNF broadcast, her struggle getting pregnant and then adjusting to becoming a mom once it happened, how she navigated her pregnancy with a public career, and so much more. Amanda and Laura also talk about how different the NFL Draft process is with COVID-19 and the shelter in place guidelines.

Conversations with real women who makesports happen, this is, and so she goes, here's your host, Amanda Morgous, hello there. I hope you are doing welltoday. Thank you for tuning in. I am thrilled that you are here. Let me tellyou: I have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of my guests on this show sofar truly, but this is one of my favorite interviews that I've done. Ifyou watch Laura on TV, you already know that she is poised and she's bubbly andshe is so smart in our talk. She really opened up about so many specific thingslike when she learned how to be herself on camera, how she overcame an obstacleduring her first Monday night, football broadcast her struggle, gettingpregnant and then adjusting to becoming a mom once that happened, how shenavigated her pregnancy with a public career and who she looks up to in thisbusiness now Lara's resume is super impressive. If you didn't already knowshe won Miss Florida in twenty twelve, she worked for Fox ports as theseSandiego padres reporter. She was also the Tampa Bay rase reporter, beforemaking the jump to SEC network N ESPN since joining ESPN, sheas workd,countless sidelines for college football and Basketball Games evengetting a chance to work on Monday night football game, which I mentionedbefore she also host s CC networks. College footfall, show SEC nation onSaturday mornings during the season and recently Shehas become a permanentcharacter on ESPN's morning show get up in our conversation Laura, and I talkabout how different the N fl draft processis with Cobin nineteen and theshelter and place guidelines. Now we did report this interview before it wasannounced that the draft would be virtual. So keep that in mind withoutfurther ade. Here is my conversation with ESPN and SEC network coast andreporter Laura Relige, hello, Laura. How are you? I am GreatAmanda, thanks for having me O my oness Ho fin to be able to talk to you. Thankyou for coming on. I appreciate it. I know that m these times are a littlestrange and a little scary. So your family's doing okay. We are and thankyou for asking, and I just um every single day I feel like I, wake up andkind o check on everybody and check on friends and make sure everyone's stillhanging in there and I'm doing well, and I'm I'm really thankful that we are,and also just sending out a lot of prayers and thoughts, a the people who,unfortunately, are not, I mean in a variety of ways. You know this is justsuch a tough time for everybody Um, but thankful that we we are so healthy,especially coming. You know, Kindo right in the middle of it from New York.We I feel like um any any day now you know I'm always like. Oh No iseveryone's still okay, but but we are so that's really really good good. I'mso glad to hear that. I know that this kind of puts things in perspective,especially when we talk about sports h. You know you kindo realize what'simportant and staying safe and healthy and and having your family close issuper important, but even though we don't have sports right now that hasn'treally stopped you from creating content. I've seen some of yourinterviews through video calls at home how's that been going yeah. You knowwhen we got back to Birmingham Alabama, which is is where we had lived beforewe went to New York. You know I just thought: There's got tobe a way to bring some sort of joy or some sort of smile to the faces of thefans that are just kindof looking for a distraction, because there's no waythat I can sit here and help by breaking down ways to prevent yourselffrom getting the corona virus. I I'm not an expert on any of that, and all Icould do from that. SAMEPOINT is just like extend my thoughts and prayers, asI said, so. I thought what can I do?...

That might be at least a littlereprieved from some of that and we started to put together. You know aguest list and people who we thought we could interview. That would be good andit's been really fun because I, I think, there's something awesome to just thefact of doing a raw interview where you know it's like we're. Talking to JustinJefferson, the white receiver out, O Lsu who's going to be really hydrathicand he's you know walking through his house and losing signal and all kindsof crazy stuff, and it's just it's fun to have some of that reality to whateverybody's life is right now and hearing what people are doing whilethey're staying at home, which is the right thing to do so. It's been a lotof fun and we have a few more coming your way even this week and then beyondthat as well. So I'm excited about that. Thank goodness for the Internet. Idon't know what we would do without the Internet right now, um I've seen someof those interviews. You've been doing some with N FL draft prospects as well.What have they been saying about their feelings? Right now I mean everythingsurrounding the actual draft is just so different than in years past yeah, it'sbeen fascinating because I think one of the key things here is that everythingwas in limbo, with the NFL. Basically up until last week and and last weekwas kindof the moment where it started to become more clear how they weregoing to handle this N. and by that I mean the NFL saying, look. The draft isstill on and we are prohibiting teams from meeting with these prospects. Sothen it all became this videochat situation, and so all of them arehaving these calls and in if AL teams ar even you know, bringing in film andhaving Whiteboards to where they're drawing plays and watching how quicklythese prospects can memorize the play and and say it back to the coaches andthe scouts who were on these calls, and so it's just such a different way ofdoing it and everyone's trying to get a feel for each other on both sideswithout actually being able to be in person and so m. Some of the the guysthat I've talked to have said that they actually like it better because it isallowing them to be at home. Jake Fran was funny about it. He said you know,he's just kind of making himself available, but he's also building apool for his mom and in his parents' backyard with you know, just casuallybuilding a pool, but so it it's giving them. I think a avery um connected sense of being able to always be able to talk to theseteams whenever the teams want to, but also giving them that isolation, thateverybody's feeling right now in a lot of ways and and trying to navigatethrough that, and I think the other point theugh. All of that is just thedraft- is going to look so different and there there is something wonderfulabout those moments where you know you walk up on that stage and you thinkabout last years, and I fell draft in Nashville. That was just unbelievablewith the crowd, and you know. Certainly the day and age of that is is now feelslike completely in the distance, and I I wonder if we'll ever get back to apoint where we amass large crowds like that again, I guess maybe down the road.It just seems hard to imagine right now, so that will not be the scene for theseguys and yes, they'll still get drafted, and no one feels sorry for them. Youknow getting drafted and being able to go somewhere and making millions ofdollars and I'm not trying to say t at that. We should pity them, but I thinkwe should just recognize that it's it's very different and a lot of these guysand their families have worked really really hard to get to this point andtheir whole moment is going to look a lot different. I I'll just give you onequick story. I talk to Isaa Wilson, who's, a top tin consensus, offensive,tackle coming out of Georgia, and he said that you know his parents workedmultiple jobs, they sacrificed their weekends. They did all of these things.To get him to the point where you know he could be a hy draft pick and wherehe could realize his dreams, and so it's a this is just one example of ofso many similar stories but they're trying to figure out if even when hegets drafted and when they have you know, maybe a small family gathering ifthey can even invite his grandpa to...

...come and his GRANDPA had just you knowthey just lost his grandma last year and so his GRANDPA's very lonely butthey're having to keep him lonely and a D. I know so many people at home canconnect to that type of story where you're, just you know, experiencingsome of these things that are happening in life when there are aspects of lifethat aren't on hold, but everything else is on hold and- and it's just it'sit's hard. You know to navigate through all of that that is so hard, especially becausethinking back to the Pasdrafts, a lot of the best moments have come fromwatching families in their living room when their son gets the call or theirgrandson or their friend boyfriend. Whoever it may be, and everyone'sexcited and a media member might be there to intervew them and they'rehaving this huge party, if they're not at the actual draft, and that'sdefinitely going to change this year and that's really hard to wrap yourhead around as someone who Um is trying to get drafted, I'm sure Um from amediate perspective. How is your plan for covering the draft changed? I meanit started out as this elaborate spectacle in Vegas, and now I meanthat's not happening anymore yeah. It's it's going to be really interesting and-and I would tell you, as we sit right here on this particular day- There'sstill not a ton of clarity of what that's going to look like, and I thinkwhat's happening from the TV broadcast standpoint is that, yes, we know thatthis will be broadcast on ESPN ABC NF network, but right now, no one knowsexactly what that looks like, because everyone's kind of taking a ce fromwhat the NFL says is going to be allowed and and that's where we're allat, and so I think you know what we do know is that the drafties, of course,will not be able to be in vagas at the actual draft, so you're not going tohave them there and who knows what what that will even look like without thembeing there, and I think you know from the coverage standpoint it just turnsinto how can we tell these stories as best as possible, utilizing homestudios? I would imagine, but also you know, just finding ways to continue tomake all o this coverage compelling and- and there are so many storylines thatare fascinating now I think tha, the Tuatonguo Byloa story continues to getthe most headlines and it will be the most important ind, the most Um, themost interesting part of the draft, but there are so many other parts that arefascinating, I'm interested to see which wy receiver is taken first insuch a a very talented wibe receiver class. You know which teams try to loadup on offensive linemen, because maybe in this crazy N, F l free agency,that's happened. They've got a veteran quarterback that needs to be moreprotected. All of these things they have a rookie quarterback, that's goingno need to be wor protected. You know, however, I it may be. I think there'sgoing to be a lot of of stories. thatill happen even right. The daybefore and and during the draft it will be fascinating that can be covered fromanywhere and and that really maybe what this looks like I will say, I think oursaving grace not having live sports has been a crazy en of over agency and thenalso covering the draft in this very interesting time that obviously no oneknows how to navigate, because we've never experienced this before. Okay,let's rewind it back for a quick sick. How did you get your start in sports?What was your first job in the Industry Yeh, so Um? I have had a really weirdpath. I feel like a lot of people. You know have these stories and I lovehearing these stories from everybody, but I do acknowledge that mine is quitebizarre. So I was a very serious balet dancer in high school and in fact ithad gotten to the point where that was going to be my career and I waspursuing professional ballet and had a contract with Natihvalle vallet andSaresota ballet was just trying to decide between the two and then I livedin the state of Florida, and so I did have academic scholarship to bothFlorida and Florida state, and I was trying to decide you know what was Igoing to do and I thought well, I'm not going to go to college I'm going to goand do this valet this valet route. Well, then, the very last minute Irealize you know what I really don't...

...think this is going to be the careerfor me and I need to go to college instead, so my parents were thrilled,as you might imagine, and just basically flipped a coin. I knowyou went to Fsu I I could have sly gon to Fsu. I picked Florida. I'm glad thatI did but, like I knonoit was like it was just kind of a a spur of the momentthing like okay. I think I'm going to go here so anyway. I like I said I hadthe the academic scholarship, but I was using some of my scholarship money totake these ballet classes because I didn't want to give it up yet nd. I wasthat had been my whole identity for so long and it was hard for me to give itup, and so anyway, I needed some extra money to help pay for some of thoseclasses, because I had spent so much time doing that and I I needed to youknow my parents were like well wait, a second we're not supposed to be. Youknow paying for your classes. Here what's happened, and so anyway,Somebody said: Oh well, you could go work for the on campus radio stationand they pay six bucks an hour, but all right great, I love radio. I I've grownup listening to MPR and was a huge fan of that, and so I thought thiswuld begreat. I go up there and they said Yeah. You know we have an opening, but it'sin sports for an intern and it's like all right. Well, I, like sports, youknow that thatull be great and of course I mean the story goes on fromthere, where I was terrible and- and I really was so bad and thankfully myradio boss there his named Steve Russell, he just continued to give mechances and I I was working really hard at it, and I wanted to be good and Ilove radio. I I think the storytelling via audio mechanism is so fineindifferent and it's a it's a constant challenge, because you're trying topaint pictures that people can't see or m almost emote in ways through yourvoice, that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do, and I I think it helped mea lot with TV is doing all that radio early on. But that's how I got startedand then my really kind of first fora into television was, I developed aniche in college football recruiting, because at the time this was like twothousand and ten, two thousand nd nine. Two Thousand and ten that had become avery big deal on the subscription websites, like the Scout dotcoms of theworld, and so I realized there wasn't much of a female presence in it andthought you know what I'm going to make that my thing and Um, I you know, wasable to parlay that into doing some more TV, probably at an earlier agethan I would have otherwise. I love what you said about radio, because Igot my start and radio as well and it really helps you find your voice, evenif you're not shy, even if you're the most confident person ever there issomething different to telling a story that no one can see. You have to paintthis specific picture and for me I was a little shy when I started so radioreally helped me because no one can see you and you know that no one can see soit almost makes you feel like a tad more brave. Maybe so I loved radio aswell could not agree more yeah yeah, it's Awesome M. was there a specificjob, or maybe even a season where it just clicked for you on camera, likeyou just understood who you wanted to be on camera, I feel like. Sometimes ittakes people years to learn how to be themselves on the air. It doesn'thappen right away. Yes, an it's actually a great story. I think that Umprovides. You know some decent advice, maybe for people who are looking to getinto this business. So I, when I got hired at Esp n an SEC network. I wastwenty five and by that point I already worked for foxforts Florida. I was theTampa Bay raise reporter and I had worked for Foxwort San Diego as the San,Diego Padre's reporter, and also did a variety of things there in San Diego. Ihad done. You know a good bit of work for Fox. I had done some sideline. I'ddone some college football hosting a Lar, a large variety of jobs. You knowby that age and just find all that I still was veryuncomfortable on camera and I was kind...

...of faking it you know. So I'm not sureof that. Many people would see that I think I think people identified likeokay. You know she might have some talent, but she's got a long way to gothat type of thing, and I had done a lot of written content in the radio too.So I had a variety of experience, but still very young in this business, andI I was on a e C network football crew and my playby play guy at the time saidto me at one point during the season Hey, you know you should considercoming on camera and just smiling a little bit more, and I thought that issuch a rude thing to say, like I was at the time I was mad I was like. Are youkidding me I'm here to be this very serious reporter and I've put all thiswork in, and I want to be a credible journalist and all that which, which isa valid way to look at things, but I started to think about it more and Ithought okay, if I would just smile, I might be more relaxed. You know I mightfeel a little bit better about what I'm doing and not be sitting there. Youknow kind of feeling, tense and, and just that moment of nerves, when thered light comes on and and look I mean sideline- is n an incredibly difficultjob in its own right. So I I'm not trying to diminish that and it'ssomething that you know. I will always love just because of the challenge thatit presents. But anyway I started to implore just that type of thoughtprocess going into everything and really Um really just used it and andthought I'm gonna Approach everything with this place of joy and Um. You knowperfecting my craft that way, and so anyway, it began to open doors for me,because I started to feel more comfortable on camera. All of a suddenand so t to answer your question. It really was, you know, a good five sixyears into my career before I started to really feel comfortable and and eventhen you know, I had a long way to go of feeling comfortable in a variety ofways and I would add, just kind of a secondary part to that, and it's just II feel like everybody's career is always developing and and mine.Certainly in that category Um, when I started hosting SEC nation,which was let's see I don't know three years ago, I don't know whot, I have todo the math, but anyway, whatever Wad I you know that was a totally new worldbecause that's a beast of a show and there's no teleprompter, and you knowyou really don't have a script and you're just like off the cup, you knowand you're and you're having to navigate through a variety of thingsand also manager set of you know a bunch of analysts that all want to talk,and you know I ' it's all these things that that are challenging. I guess intelevision not not challenging in general life, but you know what I meanso um. When I first started, I was trying to sort of script things out andfollow Um my cards and and write things out and all this and I mean I wouldspend hours just writing the show now it'simportant to do that on some level and that that's incredibly important,especially when you're first starting out at something. But this year when Icame back to SEC nation after maternity leave, my very first show was at Lsuand I you know I had had a baby three weeks before that and I was just like Ihave to get back, which that's a whole other story. I probably went back toosoon and you know e Spn was nice to let me come back, but they all probablywere like hey. You don't need to come back yet you know I s thought that Idid but anyway, when I, when I came back for that first show I mean I hadso many things going on. I was trying to pump breast milk before the show and Iwas trying to like navigate. You know dealing with just being back in theworld after you know being off for a little bit of time, with the baby andand all this anyway, I get up to the set the shows about to start, and Irealize I don't even have my run down for the show. I don't have any of thepapers that I need. I am just up there with no papers like I'm just flyingcompletely blind for my first showback. You know after Maternity Lev, when Ihaven't done television in a while mony gosh as a different person. By the wayI would I don't know what I would do. I would...

I it was just like that moment whereyour stomach drops, and I thought okay wellhere's a thing. So I know thatthere's nothing. I can do about this right this second, because there's noway to communicate because we're like about to come on camera. So I thoughtI'm just going to try this I'm going to roll with it, because what else am Igoing to do and what I would tell you about. That is that I don't recommendyou know flying completely blind, but what it did do was allowing me to befreer and realize that you know, if I'm not completely on a script, that I canbe more myself and that I can react to things. How I normally would in generalconversation and that you know a lot of times. Our jobs are not to be thebiggest stats expert, it's great to throw in some numbers that really makeimpact here and there. But you know not this person over there like reciting,all these numbers, it's more to generate great conversation and to havea personality and to be able to have some fun nd and just invite people inin that way and so m from then on for the rest of the season, and even when Iwent back to get up, I started to sort of say lesses more from the scriptstandpoint and I think it was freeing for me, but all that to say we'retalking about now. I'm thirty and I've been in this business for probably agood ten years doing you know a level of T v at some. You know at some levelsome sort of T v. So that's how long it took for me it takes a lot of time andand some people it instantly comes to them. But for me it's taken time and Istill feel like. I have a long way to go. Well. I also think that sometimesthose moments, the one you just describe Hor you didn't have your rundown you really. You don't have a choice. You either think or you swimand I think that's kind of what most of us have in uswhere. We love the thrillof live, T v live radio, anything live and you don't have a choice. You justdo it. Otherwise you know that it's going to be embarrassing, and so I'mgonna you Justt Roll with it as best you can, because what else are yougoing to do? Ohenactly exactly exactly? I think, or I think this was lastseason. This sticks with me for some reason: You were covering Monday nightfootball, which is amazing and in the open of the broadcast, th Y, theytossed it down to you and your camera was high up in the crowd and it startedwide and and then it zoomed in on you and you were so poised and so calm onthe sideline- and I just remember thinking she is such a pro, because Idon't thik most people watching even think about how looking into the crowdat a camera is more distracting than having a camera right in front of youon the field. Do you remember that I do and it's actually funny, because I havea funny story about that whole that whole open and first of all, thank you so much forsaying that that means a lot to me and- and it was the absolute opposite of howI felt in that moment. So I think half of televisions like havinga good poker face, but no so that was my. You know. First Monday night,football broadcast, obviously the biggest broandcast Iad ever done in inmy career, and I was doing this whole story in the open about Mat, Patriciabecause he's the new lions headcoach at the time and Um. He was part of thisbill, Bellacheck coaching tree, which of course, if you think about hiscoaching tree, it includes all kinds of names, including like Romeo, Cenel andNixsabin, and you know all these people. So we had this really cool graphic thatour graphics team had made. There was like a tree where it would populate, asyou said, the names of the people. You know who were attached to the BillBella Chek coaching tree, which ended on Mat, Patricia, which course is thewhole point he's you know, got this great Um Rocket Science, engineeringbackround, and that was my whole story that I was doing in the oven. So whathappens a lot of times on the field that people don't realize? Is We can'tsee what's actually on television, because you know we're roaming aroundon the field, but you usually will have a monitor that you could go to that.You could. You know watch something if you needed to be able to speak tosomething that was happening and you're doing this, all of course, without ascript as as usual and off the cup, and...

...this was like a minute long hit that Iwas going to be doing because it was the second hit after the booth Thaddalready done there as we were coming back from break so anyway, I'm tryingto not be you know this really needy reporter on this big show, and so I'mjust trying to kind of like do my own thing, but I realize there's no monitoron the field. I I realize this like pretty early on when I'm down on thefield pregame, so I just you know mention it to the producer a couple oftimes and my talk back on my Mike and I'm trying to be casual trying to berelaxed. You go while we're crying the driver, then you know it Tok, maybethree minutes to air and I'm like eigh guys. I still don't have a monitor.They're like Oh man, you know we'R we're going to work on that. Well, theyfinaythey find Hem, monitor they bring it over and like awesome. So this isgreat and the whole reason. Why is because I had that complicated graphic.You know that was naming about seven different names and you want to just beable to look at it as it's happening so that you don't have to remember all thenames and the order of the names right on top of everything else. So anyway, the Monitor doesn't work so LGo they're, like okay, well you're, just going to have to like memorize thisreally fast or something. So I'm like okay, tell me the order of the names right now and I'm going to memorize it.As you say it, and- and I am an advocate for never memorizing, becauseit's just never good, but this was something that I had to memorize. Therewas no other way to do it right, 'cause, I'm not going O be able to see it asit's happening. So this is now thirty seconds to airthirty seconds to my part and minorlins ere, sweating oeven, I I a Makin esweat as a Po drek going out to. I don't know ten million people orsomething like that tat', so I'm like okay, I've got it. I've got it. Youknow, let's, let's just go like: Let's do it and so that shot that wide shotwas right before you know I was going to be getting to that whole graphic,and I remember thinking I don't even know what I'm saying now, because allI'm trying to think of is the order of these names and exactly how itpopulates and like how it's going to look and anyway it ended up being fine, and itwas one of those things that Um. You know. I am somebody that I'm a a veryfirm believer in you know just saying a lot of thank you, prayers and sothroughout broadcast. I will say thank you prayers like if something goes well,and I mean I could have fallen to my knees like. I was so thankful that Igot through that but m. You know it's just one of those things where it'slike you don't make excuses in this stuff and you just find a way to getthrough it, and I think what what I would hope that people know out there,and especially young men and women that want to get into this business is likewe do not none of us. I mean half the time, we're a a complete mess train toget through stuff, and that's just another example of that where it justwas not going well, and it was not going my way and- and you just got tolike find a way to fight through it, and there are plenty of times whereeverything's going perfect and I mess up so m. You know, none of us areperfect and none of us have any of thus figured out. Even if we're trying toput a poker face on like we actually do well, you did that with grace and noone had any idea so Brao you did it so you've mentioned this a few timesand I we can hear baby reswitch is so sweet. I do want to talk about her, butbefore we get into her um you've lived in a few different places for work, butrecently you just mentioned that you've spent some more time up in NYC FORESPN's morning show get up. What has that experience been like for you h,it's been so much fun. I tell you what I every single time that I you knowwalk up to the seaport, which is where our studio is at pier seventeen in NewYork City. I just I pinch myself. I'm like. I cannot believe that I am doinga show that you know is in New York City and is a morning show on ESPN. Itjust doesn't even feel real to me, I'm not sure if it ever will, and I thinkif that magic ever fades- and I don't deserve to still be doing this becauseto me it's it's all about that, and...

...just being so grateful for that everysingle day and it's been so much fun to learn from Mike Greenberg. Somebody whoyou know I feel like the whenever I decided that I wanted to do this as aas a job. You know his show Mike and migt was something that I listened toall the time and so to be able to learn from him and watch how he does things.I I've learned so much m every single time. You know something differenthappens and I watch how he navigates through it, and then I'm Givin a chanceto navigate through it as well. It's just an incredible honor and I thinkthe other thing that's my favorite thing about get up is just kind of ourfamily that we've created of just you know a variety of analysts that comethrough the studio there and the way that we're able to spend time with themand get to know them get to know their families. I feel like I've gained awhole new group of friends, not only just with the analysts that are there,but their wives, their husbands, their kids. You know all of us just being apart of this family and it really has been a fun experience to be a part ofwell speaking of family. I want to talk about you becoming a mom with such apublic career. I mean how did you navigate your pregnancy in a way thatnot only protected the privacy of you and your husband, which is obviouslyvery important, but you also found a way to share that journey with yourfans. How did you balance that yeah? It's? Oh, my goodness, there are somany things I feel like. We could do an entire poncast on this, but if anyone ever you know is feeling alittle weird about getting pregnant in this career or wondering you know feelfree to reach out to me 'cause, I ho the cores, but no in a nutshell, youknow I'll be honest when we we were trying to get pregnant for a while andit wasn't happening, and so I kind of decided you know what this just isn'tthe right time and and that's okay- and this was you know I guess February oflast year, and it really was like right around that time. I was like this isjust not working. That's okay, wll try some other time, and- and I get it, youknow we're both thirty itwill be fine and we we had kindof just decided wewere. We were just done with that. Well for at least a little while. Well, then,that was about the time that I found out that I was pregnant and, of course,immediately just the joy and thinking like, Oh, my goodness, I'm going to beable to tell my parents o this is going to be so exciting and then I sort ofdoing so, math and, like Oh, wait, a second, this baby's going to be bornright in the middle of a college football season. So what am I doing?You know? I probably could ave plan this littlBert, and I created all this anxiety early on of feeling, like, Oh, mygoodness, I'm embarrassed to to tell people and- and I am now so embarrassedto even think that way, because now I I'm you know holding reats and she'sthe most amazing thing. That's ever happened to me in my life, but that'sjust the honest truth of it. I was very worried and I created that for myself.That was not something that was created by this business or by ESPN or anything,and so it was funny because when I did finally Shar the news with bosses, theyjust couldn't have been more excited. For me, they couldn't have been happierand they were so wonderful and supporting all of this, I think that'sreally important just for women to know that there's this stigma that has beenin place for so long that you know we can't go be mothers and also do thistoo, and we can't take time off and we can't and it's just like. No, it's fine.It's all going to work out, and I wish somebody had told me that at the timeB'cause I think I I harvored way too much worry during the time of offinding out that I was pregnant and being pregnant, and then you know, eventhrough all of that and so just a couple of quick stories. I because Iwas you, know just sort of feeling self conscious overall about it. I did notannounce that I was pregnant for a long time and I think people started tofigure out, but by the time I was I guess I was about six months pregnantbefore I actually said anything publicly and so just like say Mo ye people you know had already figured itout. Maybe, but you know, people that...

...were paying cost attention, but I thinkmost people, hadn't and- and I I had gotten to a place of feeling so selfconscious and I just look back an and think I should have celebrated it more.You know- and I think that's something that I don't know that I would attach theword regret to it, because it's more just that I'm thankful that you knowrace is healthy and everything worked out, but, looking back, I justshouldn't have felt that embarrassment like I did. So that was something thatyou know. I would change. If I were to do this over again, I would just bemore proud of of what my body was doing, which is is amazing. I so like sort ofcan't believe that that happened, you know, but then you know, I think the otherthing that I did was created a lot of pressure on myself to come back and Mand come back soon and you know, ESPN had been like no take all the time thatyou need like we're. Fine you're good, all good and- and I just put thispersonal pressure on myself and Um- you know it was fine, A and and I'vegotten through it, but there were so many times where I thought man. Youknow I should probably be home with reace or I should be. You know inposition to where I can do more with her right now and not having to leaveher, and so I just think it's a balance that nobody has the right answers to,and it's so specific to your particular situation. But at the end of the dayit's been such an incredible joy. It's also been a challenge, and I could notdo this without the help of not only my husband Josh, but also my mom and hishis parents, and my dad and just we've had so much help from that standpoint.That's really, you know, KINDOF changed the way that all this has been able towork out, but I also feel like too we're going to have a lot of goodstories to tell her about or life nd. A lot of it's beendocumented as well. Justsn, video, nd and pictures and stuff too so a reallyspecial time. What have you learned most about yourself as a new mom,especially working fulltime? You have such a demanding role M. I know yourhusband is such a rock star, from whatever, whatever you share on socialmedia, he's always so sweet with her, and I know that you could not do thiswithout him, especially with your job. What have you learned about yourself inthis journey? That's such a great question. I I thinkwhat I've learned is that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could and Imean we're talking about like on Christmas Day. We were flying to thepeach bowl, because I was going to be doing sideline and se C nation and abunch of college football coverage for get up at the Peach Bowl and we get onthe plane and all of a sudden rece has like the biggest diaper blowout thatshe's ever had I mean I'm, I'm talking like this thing should be reported as aCA as so bad, and I I of course, in the middle of like trying to prepare forall of this and like be ready to go. I had not really packed the diaper bag atsee, she's very upset about Sein, a she rememberd it she's like Momyou wernt,is Ti er she'Slikeoa Realy. I I had done thisand and had not packed an extra wonedy in the diaper bag. So I mean we'retalking, go into the airplane laboratory and I am literally throwingaway her entire outfit, because it's just not even saligible- and you know,I'm like getting poop all over me. An this. The whole thing and I came backkout of there and I thought, okay, if somebody had told me prior to pregnancy,that that would be what I was doing leading up to you know covering a hugegame. That's a part of the College Football Playoff for ESPN and kind oflike a dream for me to be covering that I would be like trapped in the bathroomcovered, an Poop, and I would still be smiling about it. I would have saidyou're crazy, there's no way like that's too much. You know and and andit wasn't a D and You just find that you have these abilities within you andand following your instincts that Um, you know you you become proud of, and Ithink for me that's what I've learned...

...most about myself, that I'm I'm betterat that than I thought I wouldhave well. I know that privacy is pretty sacred inthis business, but I really do love how you share your family on social media.It's really sweet, there's so many sweet moments and it's just kind of fun'cause. When people follow your journey Um throughout the sports world. You nowalmost take on this new persona of now. People follow you to follow your newmom journey and se Rese and your husband, and it's just it's really sweesweet. Thank you for saying that. Sometimes I'm like Ooh, am Ioversharing. I think we hove Ti Plan AEVERYONEquestiond. It's like we should just forget that if, if nothing else, weshould learn that from this time too, like just share whatever we all want tosee. Of course I have to. I have to gift rece Aumseminal Onzi, I think.Maybe she might I i'T, like I might put it on backward O. No fine, I ont do em. No, we did that. I would send a pictureof her N Notto Cemtimowhat. He said cause. I honestly like I. I loveFlorida, obviously, but I I really don't like hate other schools. I thinktim actually really has such a strong dislike for FSU. It's funny to me theonly thing that he will tell bout you, especially for Tim 'cause. He playedit's just like Oh allr bones to hate your rival. You know and you get over,that an you get older, like you, don't hate people because they went to thatschool. Obviously, but when you're in it it's like Ann them, that's just the way it go,Gos so lor. The point of this podcast is to just highlight amazing women insports. Like yourself, so can you leave us with a female in this industry?Someone who inspires. You may be a friend of yours that you've worked withbefore someone that you think that I should have on the show. Oh, my goodness, okay! Well, I wouldhave said sage, but I think you already had tojo. I Don'. Yes, he now made ityou well, I would nominate her so but ine I can't and sage is the mostamazing and such a wonderful friend and just has such great advice. She's, justone of the most amazing people, and I'm so thankful M for this business forbeing able to you, know, get to know her and become her friend, but becauseI can't have her as my nominee I'm going to nominate Maria Taylor, who isabsolutely fantastic in so many ways and Maria is one of my favorite peoplenot only for her incredible talent on air she's, one of the most talentedpeople I think ove ever come in contact with, but my favorite thing about Mariais how she is one of the biggest proponents, and I really believe inthis too of there's just enough room for all of us. You know everybody canhave success and we can support each other in that success, especially aswomen in this business. I think it', it's so important and I'll never forget.When I was in the hospital about to have reeth and M, I was making a listof you know like who needed to know when she was born and Josh was going tobe sending out Texand. Of course, Maria was you know very much at the top ofthat list. An and in that first vew you know that were going to be given thatinformation and given the the text message and when she saw the picture ofReyths, she sent back a video that I've saved and I will save forever to showte reese whenever she can understand, but it was just so sweet. She was likewalking through the parking lot, a parking garage in Bristol or somewhere,and she was just so excited and m. You know, I think this her genuine joy forme for other women in this business when they have success when they havethese great life moments is what makes Maria so incredibly special. I lovethat she is already on my list, as were you before saenominated you by the way, but it is it's so important to cheereach other on, and that's actually one of the reasons why I started this showin the first place, because having worked in sports for a while and havingmet so many amazing women, not even...

...those that are on camera, but those whowork behind the scenes, those that are coaches and athletes themselves likethere are so many awesome women that they're sort of this like unspokensisterhood- and I just wanted to highlight that because I feel like notenough, people really know that that exists. So I love Tha, you nominatedher and I will ty e would also nominate you for doing this. It's so awesome, and I just I reallyrespect it and I think it's such a beautiful thing to do to to create thisspace and just to show that m. There really is so much support, so manywomen that really do support each other in this business. That's we thank you.I really appreciate that, and I appreciate you taking the time. I knowthat these days are stupor, strange and you've got the baby and the DRAPPIcrept for, but I hope you guys stay safe, I'm so glad we have the Internet.You can still let your Ligea sine, even if it's a little different these days,but we look forward to seeing you on our TV screens again soon. Thank you somuch Aman. I appreciate it greed to talk to you. I loved how we coaul hear baby reessthroughout our chat. A little behind the scene. Scoop for Yeah Poor, Laurawas late to jump on this call with me, because she was having a hard timeputting the baby down for a nap. So then, once we started, I assumed shewas sleeping, and obviously that was not the case. Even though I'm not a mom,I feel free Mamma's out there trying to get your kidto nap when you've gotother things to do. I'm sure it is not easy. Anyway. I hope you have a newappreciation and maybe some perspective on Lara and how amazing she is at herjob at motherhood and just at life. She was so wonderful to talk to and I'm sothankful. She was open and honest about so many things. If you liked thisconversation and want more just like it, please hit the subscrye button, so youdon't miss out on new episodes. They come out each and every Thursday andplease reat in review. So I know what you like and what you don't like.Thanks for listening.

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