Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
And So She Goes
And So She Goes

Episode 7 · 2 years 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 make sports happen. This is and so she goes. Here's your host, Amanda Borgeous. Hello there, I hope you are doing well today. Thank you for tuning in. I am thrilled that you are here. Let me tell you, I have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of my guests on this show so far, truly, but this is one of my favorite interviews that I've done. If you watch Laura on TV, you already know that she is poised and she's bubbly and she is so smart. In our talk 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 Monday night football broadcast, her struggle getting pregnant and then adjusting to becoming a mom once that happened, how she navigated her pregnancy with a public career and who she looks up to in this business. Now, Laura's resume is super impressive. If you didn't already know, she won Miss Florida in two thousand and twelve. She worked for Fox sports as the San Diego padres reporter. She was also the Tampa Bay rays reporter before making the jump to SEC network in ESPN. Since joining ESPN, she's worked countless sidelines for college football and Basketball Games, even getting a chance to work on Mona night football game, which I mentioned before. She also hosts a SEC networks college football show, SEC nation, on Saturday mornings during the season, and recently she's become a permanent character on ESPN's morning show get up. In our conversation, Laura and I talk about how different the NFL draft processes with Covid nineteen and the shelter and place guidelines. Now we did record this interview before it was announced that the draft would be virtual, so keep that in mind. Without further ADO, here is my conversation with ESPN and SEC network host and reporter Laura Rutledge. Hello Laura, how are you? I am great, Amanda. Thanks for having me those my own is so fun to be able to talk to you. Thank you for coming on. I appreciate it. I know that these times are a little strange and a little scary. So your family's doing okay? We are, and thank you for asking. And I just every single day I feel like I wake up and kind of check on everybody and check on friends and make sure everyone's still hanging in there and doing well, and I'm really thankful that we are, and also just sending out a lot of prayers and thoughts to the people who unfortunately are not, and I mean in a variety of ways. You know, this is just such a tough time for everybody. But thankful that we are still healthy, especially coming, you know, kind of right in the middle of it from New York. We I feel like any any day now. You know, I've always like, Oh, no, is everyone's still okay, but but we are. So that's really, really good, good. I'm so glad to hear that. I know that this kind of puts things in perspective, especially when we talk about sports. You know, you kind of realize what's important, and staying safe and healthy and and having your family close super important. But even though we don't have sports right now, that hasn't really stopped you from creating content. I've seen some of your interviews through video calls at home. Has that been going? Yeah, you know, when we got back to Birmingham, Alabama, which is is where we had lived before we went to New York, you know, I just thought there's got to be a way to bring some sort of joy or some sort of smile to the faces of the fans that are just kind of looking for a distraction, because there's no way that I can sit here and help by breaking down ways to prevent yourself from getting the coronavirus. I I'm not an expert on any of that and and all I could do from that seeing point is just like extend ...

...my thoughts and prayers, as I said. So I thought what can I do that might be at least a little reprieve from some of that, and we started to put together, you know, a guest list and people who we thought we could interview. That would be good, and it's been really fun because I think there's something awesome to just the fact of doing a raw interview where, you know, it's like we're talking to Justin Jefferson, the wide receiver out of Lsu who's going to be a really high draft pick and he's, you know, walking through his house and losing signal at all kinds of crazy stuff and it's just it's fun to have some of that reality to what everybody's life is right now and hearing what people are doing while they're staying at home, which is the right thing to do. So it's been a lot of fun and we have a few more coming your way even this week and then beyond that as well. So I'm excited about that. Thank goodness for the Internet. I don't know what we would do with the Internet right now. I've seen some of those interviews you've been doing, some with NFL draft prospects as well. What have they been saying about their feelings right now? I mean everything surrounding the actual draft is just so different than in years past. Yeah, it's been fascinating because I think one of the key things here is that everything was in limbo with the NFL basically up until last week, and last week was kind of the moment where it's started to become more clear how they were going to handle this, and by that I mean the NFL saying, look, the draft is still on and we are prohibiting teams from meeting with these prospects. So then it all became this video chat situation, and so all of them are having these calls and NFL teams are even, you know, bringing in film and having white boards to where they're drawing plays and watching how quickly these prospects can memorize the play and say it back to the coaches and the scouts who are on these calls, and so it's just such a different way of doing it and everyone's trying to get a feel for each other on both sides without actually being able to be in person, and so some of the guys that I've talked to have said that they actually like it better because it is allowing them to be at home. Jake from was funny about it. He said, you know, he's just kind of making himself available, but he's also building a pool for his mom and in his parents backyard, which, you know, just casually building a pool. But so it's giving them, I think, a very connected sense of being able to always be able to talk to these teams whenever the teams want to, but also giving them that isolation that everybody's feeling right now in a lot of ways and and trying to navigate through that. And I think the other point through all of that is just the draft is going to look so different and there is something wonderful about those moments where you know you walk up on that stage and you think about last year's NFL draft and Nashville. That was just unbelievable with the crowd and you know, certainly the day and age of that is is now feels like completely in the distance and I wonder if we'll ever get back to a point 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 these guys. And yes, they'll still get drafted and no one feels sorry for them, you know, getting drafted and being able to go somewhere I'm making millions of dollars and I'm not trying to say that that we should pity them, but I think we should just recognize that it's very different in a lot of these guys and their families have worked really, really hard to get to this point in their whole moment is going to look a lot different. I I'll just give you one quick story. I talk to Isaiah Wilson, who's a top ten consensus offensive tackle coming out of Georgia, and he said that, you know, his parents worked multiple jobs, they sacrifice their weekends, they did all of these things to get him to the point where, you know, he could be a high draft pick and where he could realize his dreams, and so it's a this is just one example of so many similar stories. But they're trying to figure out if, even when he gets drafted and when they have, you know, maybe a small family gathering, if they can even invite his grandpa to come, and his GRANDPA just, you know, they just lost...

...his grandma last year and so his GRANDPA's very lonely, but they're having to keep him lonely and I know so many people at home can connect to that type of story where you're just, you know, experiencing some of these things that are happening in life when there are aspects of life that aren't on hold, but everything else is on hold and it's just a it's hard, you know, to navigate through all of that. That is so hard, especially because, thinking back to the past drafts, a lot of the best moments have come from watching families in their living room when their son gets the call or their grandson or their friend, boyfriend, whoever it may be, and everyone's excited it and a medium member might be there to any of them and they're having this huge party. If they're not at the actual draft and that's definitely going to change this year and that's really hard to wrap your head around as someone who is trying to get drafted. I'm sure, from a media perspective, how is your plan for covering the draft changed? I mean it's started out as this elaborate spectacle in Vegas and now I mean that's not happening anymore. Yeah, it's. It's going to be really interesting and I would tell you, as we sit right here on this particular day, there's still not a ton of clarity of what that's going to look like. And I think what's happening from the TV broadcast standpoint is it. Yes, we know that this will be broadcast on ESPN, ABC, NFL network, but right now no one knows exactly what that looks like because everyone's kind of taking q from what the NFL says is going to be allowed and and that's where we're all at. And so I think you know. What we do know is that the draft fees, of course, will not be able to be in veguas at the actual draft. So you're not going to have them there and who knows what what that will even look like without them being there. And I think you know from the coverage standpoint, it just turns into how can we tell these stories as best as possible, utilizing home studios, I would imagine, but also, you know, just finding ways to continue to make all of this coverage compelling. And there are so many story lines that are fascinating. You know, I think the the to a tongue of Iowa story continues to get the most headlines and it will be the most important and the most the most interesting part of the draft, but there are so many other parts that are fascinating. I'm interested to see which wide receiver is taken first in such a very talented wide receiver class. You know which teams try to load up on offensive linemen because maybe in this crazy NFL free agency that's happened, they've got a veteran quarterback that needs to be more protected all of these things, or they have a rookie quarterback that's going to need to be were protected. You know, however it may be, I think there's going to be a lot of stories that will happen, even right the day before and during the draft, that will be fascinating, that can be covered from anywhere, and that really may be what this looks like, I will say I think are saving grace not having live sports. has been a crazy NFL free agency and then also covering the draft in this very interesting time that obviously no one knows how to navigate because we've never experienced this before. Okay, let's relignd it back for a quick sec how did you get your start and sports? What was your first job in the industry? Yeah, so I have had a really weird path. I feel like a lot of people you know have these stories that I love hearing these stories from everybody, but I do acknowledge that mine is quite bizarre. So I was a very serious ballet dancer in high school and in fact it had gotten to the point where that was going to be my career and I was pursuing professional ballet and had a contract with Nashville ballet and Sarasota Ballet. was just trying to decide between the two. And then I lived in the state of Florida and so I did have academic scholarship to both Florida and Florida state and I was trying to decide, you know, what was I going to do, and I thought, well, I'm not going to go to college I'm going to go and do this ballet, this vallet route. Well then at the very last minute I realize,...

...you know what, I really don't think this is going to be the career for me and I need to go to college instead. So my parents were thrilled, as you might imagine, and I just basically flipped a coin. I know you went to Fsu. I could have easily gone to FSU. I picked Florida. I'm glad that I did, but like, I know, but no, it was like it was just kind of a spur of the moment thing, like okay, I think I'm going to go here. So anyway, I, like I said, I had the academic scholarship, but I was using some of my scholarship money to take these ballet classes because I didn't want to give it up yet and I was that had been my whole identity for so long and it was hard for me to give it up. And so, anyway, I needed some extra money to help pay for some of those classes because I had spent so much time doing that and I needed to you know, my parents were like, wait a second, we're not supposed to be, you know, paying for your classes here. What's happened. And so anyway, somebody said, oh well, you could go work for the on campus radio station and they pay six bucks an hour. Thought all right, great, I love radio. I grown up listening to MPR and was a huge fan of that, and so I thought this would be great. I go up there and they say, yeah, you know, we have an opening, but it's in sports for an intern, and it's like all right, well, I like sports, you know, that'll be great and of course. I mean the story goes on from there, where I was terrible and I really was so bad and thankfully my radio boss there is name Steve Russell. He just continued to give me chances and I was working really hard at it and I wanted to be good and I love radio. I think the storytelling via audio mechanism is so fun and different and it's a it's a constant challenge because you're trying to paint pictures that people can't see or almost emote in ways through your voice that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do, and I think it helped me a lot with TV is doing all that radio early on, but that's how I got started. And then my really kind of first for a into television was I developed a niche in college football recruiting because at the time, you know, this was like two thousand and ten, two thousand nine, two thousand and ten. That had become a very big deal on the subscription websites like the scoutcom's of the world, and so I realized there wasn't much of a female presence in it and thought, you know what, I'm going to make that my thing and I, you know, was able to parlay that into doing some more TV a probably at an earlier age than I would have otherwise. I love what you said about radio, because I got my start and radio as well well, and it really helps you find your voice. Even if you're not shy, even if you're the most confident person ever, there is something different to telling a story that no one can see. You have to paint the specific picture and for me I was a little shy when I started. So radio really helped me because no one can see you and you know that no one can see you, so it almost makes you feel like a tad more brave maybe. So I loved radio as well. Could not agree more. Yeah, yeah, it's awesome. was there a specific job or maybe even a season where it just clicked for you on camera, like you just understood who you wanted to be on camera. I feel like sometimes it takes people years to learn how to be themselves on the air. Doesn't happen right away. Yes, and it's actually a great story. I think that provides, you know, some decent advice maybe for people who are looking to get into this business. So I when I got hired at ESPN and SEC network, I was twenty five and by that point I had already worked for Fox Sports Florida. I was the Tampa Bay rays reporter and I had worked for Fox Sports San Diego as the San Diego padres reporter and also did a variety of things there in San Diego. I had done no good bit of work for Fox. I had done some sideline, I done some college football hosting, a lot, a large variety of jobs, you know, by that age and despite all that, I still was very uncomfortable on camera and I was kind...

...of faking it, you know. So I'm not sure if that many people would see that. I think I think people identified like, okay, you know, she might have some talent, but she's got a long way to go that 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. And I was on a SEC network football crew and my play byplay guy at the time said to me at one point during the season, Hey, you know, you should consider coming on camera and just smiling a little bit more, and I thought that is such a rude thing to say. Like I was at the time, I was mad. I was like, are you kidding me? You know, I'm here to be this very serious reporter and I've put all this work in and I want to be a credible journalist and all that, which which is a valid way to look at things. But I started to think about it more and I thought, okay, if I would just smile, I might be more relaxed, you know, I might feel a little bit better about what I'm doing and not be sitting there, you know, kind of feeling tense and just that moment of nerves when the red light comes on. And and look, I mean sideline is in it an incredibly difficult job in its own right. So I'm not trying to diminish that and it's something that you know, I will always love just because of the challenge that it presents. But Anyway, I started to implore just that type of thought process going into everything and really really just used it and thought I'm going to approach every thing with this place of joy and, you know, perfecting 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 sudden. And so, to answer your question, it really was, you know, a good five six years into my career before I started to really feel comfortable. And and even then, you know, I had a long way to go of feeling comfortable in a variety of ways. And I would add just kind of a secondary part to that. And it's just I feel like everybody's career is always developing, and mine certainly in that category. When I started hosting SEC nation, which was, let's see, I don't know, three years ago, I don't know, I have to do the math, but anyway, whatever would I you know, that was a totally new world because that's a beast of a show and there's no teleprompter and you know, you're really don't have a script and you're just like off the cuff, you know, and your and you're having to navigate through a variety of things and also a manner, just said, of you know, a bunch of analysts that all want to talk and you know, it's all these things that that are challenging, I guess, in television, not not challenging in general life, but you know what I mean. So when I first started, I was trying to sort of script things out and follow my cards and write things out and all this, and I mean I would spend hours just writing the show. Now it's important 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 I came back to SEC nation after maternity leave, my very first show was at Lsu and I you know, I had had a baby three weeks before that and I was just like I have to get back, which that's a whole other story. I probably went back too soon and, you know, Espn was nice to let me come back, but they all probably were like hey, you don't need to come back yet. You know, I just thought that I did. But anyway, when I when I came back for that first show, I mean I had so many things going on. I was trying to pump breast milk before the show and I was trying to like navigate, you know, dealing with just being back in the world after, you know, being off for a little bit of time at the baby and all this. Anyway, I get up to the set, the show's about to start, and I realize I don't even have my run down for the show. I don't have any of the papers that I need. I am just up there with no papers, like I am just flying completely blind for my first show back, you know, after maternity leave, when I haven't done television in a while. Oh my gosh, as a script person, by the way, I would I don't know what I would do. I would like it was just like...

...that moment where your stomach drops and I thought, okay, well, here's the thing. So I know that there's nothing I can do about this right this second, because there's no way to communicate because we're like about to come on camera. So I thought I'm just going to try this, I'm going to roll with it, because what else am I going to do? And what I would tell you about that is that I don't recommend, you know, flying completely blind but what it did do was allow me to be freer and realize that, you know, if I'm not completely on a script, that I can be more myself and that I can react to things how I normally would in general conversation and that, you know, a lot of times our jobs are not to be the biggest stats expert. It's great to throw in some numbers that really make impact 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 have a personality and to be able to have some fun and just invite people in in that way. And so from then on, for the rest of the season and even when I went back to get up, I started to sort of say less is more from the script standpoint, and I think it was freeing for me. But all that to say, we're talking about now. I'm thirty and I've been in this business for probably a good ten years doing, you know, a level of TV at some you know at some level, some sort of TV. So that's how long it took for me. It takes a lot of time and some people it instantly comes to them, but for me it's taken time and I still feel like I have a long way to go. Well, I also think that sometimes those moments, the one you just describe, where you didn't have your run down, you really you don't have a choice. You either sink or you swim, and I think that's kind of what most of us have in us, where we love the thrill of live TV, live radio, anything, live and you don't have a choice. You just do it. Otherwise is you know that it's going to be embarrassing and so you just kind of you just roll with it as best you can, because what else are you gonna do? Like and actually exactly exactly, I think, Laura, I think this was last season. This sticks with me for some reason. You are covering Monday night football, which is amazing, and in the open of the broadcast they tossed it down to you and your camera was high up in the crowd and it started wide and and then it zoomed in on you and you were so poised and so calm on the sideline and I just remember thinking she is such a pro, because I don't think most people watching even think about how looking into the crowd at a camera is more distracting than having a camera right in front of you on the field. Do you remember that? I do, and it's actually funny because I have a funny story about that whole that will open and and first of all, thank you so much for saying that. That means a lot to me and and it was the absolute opposite of how I felt in that moment. So I think half of television like having a good poker face. But no. So that was my, you know, first Monday night football broadcast, obviously the biggest broadcast I had ever done in my career, and I was doing this whole story in the open about Matt Patricia, because he's the new lions head coach at the time and he was part of this Bill Bella Chick coaching tree which, of course, if you think about his coaching tree, it includes all kinds of names, including like Romeo Cre noll and Nick Sabin and you know, all these people. So we had this really cool graphic that our graphics team had made that was like a tree where it would populate, as you said, the names of the people you know who were attached to the Bill Belichick coaching tree, which ended on Matt Patricia, which, course, is the whole point. He's, you know, got this great rocket science engineering background, and that was my whole story that I was doing in the open. So what happens a lot of times on the field that people don't realize is we can't see what's actually on television because, you know, we're roaming around on 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 to something that was happening. And you're doing this all, of course, without a scripts as usual, and off the cuff. And this was...

...like a minute long hit that I was going to be doing because it was the second hit after the booth that already done there as we were coming back from break. So anyway, I'm trying to not be, you know, this really neaty reporter on this big show and so I'm just trying to kind of like do my own thing. But I realize there's no monitor on the field. I realize this like pretty early on when I'm down on the field pregame. So I just, you know, mentioned it to the producer a couple of times and my talk back on my mic and I'm trying to be casual, trying to be relaxed, you know whatever. Well, Ward crying driver. So, you know, it's like maybe three minutes to air and I'm like Hey, guys, I still don't have a monitor. They're like, Oh man, you know, we're going to work on that. Well, they finally find a monitor. They bring it over like awesome. So this is great. 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 be able to look at it as it's happening so that you don't have to remember all the names and the order of the names right on top of everything else. So, anyway, the Monitor doesn't work. So long creature. They're like, okay, well, you're just going to have to like memorize this really 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 because it's just never good, but this was something that I had to memorize. There was no other way to do it right, because I'm not gonna be able to see it as it's happening. So this is now thirty seconds to air, thirty seconds to my part, and they are lines are sweating right now, even though there's vote. is like making the sweats a great going out to I don't know what, a ten million people or something like that. So that's it. So I'm like, okay, I've got it, I've got it, you know, let's let's just go, like let's do it. And so that shot, that wide shot, was 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 all I'm trying to think of is the order of these names and exactly how it populates and like how it's going to look. And Anyway, it ended up being fine and it was one of those things saying that, you know, I am somebody that I'm a very firm believer in, you know, just saying a lot of thank you prayers, and so throughout 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 I got through that. But you know, it's just one of those things where it's like you don't make excuses in this stuff and you just find a way to get through 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 like we do not, none of us, I mean half the time. We are a complete mess trying to get through stuff, and that's just another example of that, where it just was not going well and it was not going my way and and you just gotta like find a way to fight through it. And there are plenty of times where everything's going perfect and I mess up. So you know, none of us are perfect and none of us have any of this figured out, even if we're trying to put a poker face on like we actually do. Well, you did that with grace and no one had any idea. So, Brabo, you did it. So you've mentioned this a few times and I we can hear baby reese, which is so sweet. I do want to talk about her, but before we get into her, you've lived in a few different places for work, but recently you just mentioned that you've spent some more time up an NYC for ESPN's morning show. Get up. What has that experience been like for you. It's been so much fun. I tell you what I every single time that I I, you know, walk up to the seaport, which is where our studio is, a peer seventeen in New York City, I just I pinched myself. I can I'm like, I cannot believe that I am doing a show that, you know, is in New York City and is a morning show on ESPN. It just doesn't even feel real to me. I'm not sure if it ever will, and I think if that magic ever fades and I don't deserve to still be doing this, because to me it's all about...

...that and just being so grateful for that every single day. And it's been so much fun to learn from Mike Greenberg, somebody who, you know, I feel like the whenever I decided that I wanted to do this as a job, you know, his show Mike and Mike was something that I listened to all the time, and so to be able to learn from him and watch how he does things, I've learned so much. Every single time, you know, something different happens and I watch how he navigates through it and then I'm given a chance to navigate through it as well. It's just an incredible honor and I think the other thing that's my favorite thing about get up is just kind of our family that we've created of just, you know, a variety of analysts that come through the studio there and the way that we're able to spend time with them and get to know them, get to know their families. I feel like I've gained a whole new group of friends, not only just with the analysts that are there, but their wives, their husband's, their kids, you know, all of us just being a part of this family, and it really has been a fun experience to be a part of. Well, speaking of family, I want to talk about you becoming a mom with such a public career. I mean, how did you navigate your pregnancy in a way that not only protected the privacy of you and your husband, which is obviously very important, but you also found a way to share that journey with your fans? How did you balance that? Yeah, it's Oh my goodness, there are so many things. I feel like we could do an entire podcast on this, but if anyone ever you know is feeling a little weird about getting pregnant in this career or wondering. You know, feel free to reach out to me because I hold the stories. But no, in a nutshell, you know, I'll be honest. When we were trying to get pregnant for a while and it wasn't happening, and so I kind of decided, you know what, this just isn't the right time and and that's okay. And this was, you know, I guess February of last year, and it really was like right around that time I was like, this is just not working. That's okay, we'll try some other time. And I get it, you know, we're both thirty. It will be fine, and we had kind of just decided we were 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 be able to tell my parents and this is going to be so exciting. And then I started doing some math. I'm like, Oh, wait a second, this maybe's going to be born right in the middle of college football season. So what am I doing it? I probably going to play. I was a little better and I created all this anxiety early on of feeling like, Oh my goodness, I'm embarrassed to tell people, and I am now so embarrassed to even think that way because now I am, you know, holding reese and she's the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me in my life. But that's just 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 share the news with bosses, they just couldn't have been more excited for me. They couldn't have been happier and they were so wonderful in supporting all of this. I think that's really important just for women to know that there's this stigma that has been in place for so long that, you know, we can't go be mothers and also do this too, 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 time, because I think I harbored way too much worried during the time of finding out that I was pregnant and being pregnant and then even through all of that. And so just a couple of quick stories. I because I was, you know, just sort of feeling selfconscious overall about it. I did not announce that I was pregnant for a long time and I think people started to figure out, but by the time I was, I guess I was about six months pregnant before I actually said anything publicly. And so just like sick money, yeah, yeah, wow, a lot of people, you know, had already figured it out, maybe, but you know, people that were paying close attention, but...

I think most people hadn't and I had gotten to a place of feeling so selfconscious and I just look back 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 the word regret to it, because it's more just that I'm thankful that, you know, reese is healthy and everything worked out, but looking back, I just shouldn't have felt that embarrassment like I did. So that was something that, you know, I would change if I were to do this over again. I would just be more proud of what my body was doing, which is amazing. I so like sort of can't believe that that happened, you know, but then, you know, I think the other thing that I did was created a lot of pressure on myself to come back and and come back soon. And you know, ESPN had been like no, take all the time that you need, like we're fine, you're good, all good, and and I just put this personal pressure on myself and, you know, it was fine and and and I've gotten through it, but there were so many times where I thought, man, you know, I should probably be home with reese or I should be, you know, in position to where I can do more with her right now and not having to leave her. 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 day, it's been such an incredible joy. It's also been a challenge and I I could not do this without the help of not only my husband, Josh, but also my mom and his his parents and my dad and just we've had so much help from that standpoint that's really, you know, kind of change the way that all this has been able to work out. But I also feel like too, we're going to have a lot of good stories to tell her about, for words, life, and a lot of it's been documented, as well as on video and pictures and stuff too. So a really special time. What have you learned most about yourself as a new mom, especially working full time? You have such a demanding role. I know your husband is such a rock star from whatever whatever you share on social media, he's always so sweet with her and I know that you could not do this without him, especially with your job. What have you learned about yourself in this journey? That's such a great question. I think what I've learned is that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. And I mean we're talking about like on Christmas Day we were flying to the peach bowl because I was going to be doing sideline and SEC nation and a bunch of college football coverage for get up at the Peach Bowl and we get on the plane and all of a sudden reese has like the biggest diaper blowout that she's ever had. I mean I'm talking like this thing should be reported as a client that was so bad, and I I of course, in the middle of like trying to prepare for all of this and like be ready to go. I had had not really packed the diaper bag is see, she's very upset. Up She is. She remembered that. She's like, Mommy, you are so s fial, like not, that's I had done this and and had not packed an extra onesi in the diaper bag. So, I mean we're talking. I go into the airplane laboratory and I am literally throwing away her entire outfit because it's just not even salvageable. And, you know, I'm like getting poop all over me and it was a whole thing. And I came back out 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 huge game that's a part of the College Football Playoff for ESPN and kind of like a dream for me to be covering that. I would be like trapped in the bathroom covered in poop and I would still be smiling about it. I would have said, you're crazy, there's no way, like that's too much, you know, and and and it wasn't. And you just find that you have these abilities within you and following your instincts that you know you you become proud of, and I think for me, that's what I've learned most about...

...myself, that I'm I'm better at that than I thought I would have been. Well, I know that privacy is pretty sacred in this 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 because when people follow your journey throughout the sports world, you now almost take on this new persona of now people follow you to follow your new mom journey in series and your husband and it's just it's really sweet. It's sweet. Thank you for saying that. Sometimes I'm like, who am I oversharing, but bring I did way de Pick cles everyone questions. It's like we should this. Forget that. If nothing else, we should learn that from this time to like just share whatever we all want to see. The course I have to. I have to gift reese a seminal onesie. I think maybe she might good. Like I might put it on backwards. Oh No, okay, fine, I will do that. No, we did that. I would send a picture of her in that to Tim Tebow. See what he said, because I honestly like I love Florida, obviously, but I really don't like hate other schools. I think tim actually really has such a strong dislike for FSU. It's funny to me. It's the only thing that he almost have to especially for tim, because he played. It's just like it's in your bones to hate your rival, you know, and you get over that when you get older. Like you don't hate people because they went to that school, obviously, but when you're in it, it's like, I'm gonna stand them. That's just the way it God. So, Lor the point of this podcast is to just highlight amazing women in sports, 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 with before, someone that you think that I should have on the show? Oh my goodness. Okay, well, I would have said sage, but I think you already had sagely, I don't she nominate any well, I would nominate her so but since I can't, and sage is the most amazing and such a wonderful friend and just has such great advice that she's just one of the most amazing people and I'm so thankful for this business for being able to, you know, get to know her and become her friend. But because I can't have her as my nominee, I'm going to nominate Maria Taylor, who is absolutely fantastic in so many ways. And Maria is one of my favorite people, not only for her incredible talent on air, she's one of the most talented people I think I've ever come in contact with, but my favorite thing about Maria is how she is one of the biggest proponents, and I really believe in this too, of there's just enough room for all of us, you know, everybody can have success and we can support each other in that success, especially as women in this business. I think it's so important and I'll never forget when I was in the hospital about to have reefs and I was making a list of, you know, like who needed to know when she was born, and Josh was going to be sending out text and of course Maria was, you know, very much at the top of that list and in that first few you know that we're going to be given that information and given the the text message, and when she saw the picture of reese. She sent back a video that I've saved and I will say, forever, to show to reese whenever she can understand. But it was just so sweet. She was like walking through the parking lot, parking garage in Bristol or somewhere, and she was just so excited and you know, I think just for genuine joy for me, for other women in this business, when they have success, when they have these great life moments. Is What makes Maria so incredibly special. I love that she is already on my list, as were you before stage nominated you, by the way, but it is it's so important to cheer each other on and that's actually one of the reasons why I started this show in the first place, because having worked in sports for a while and having met so many amazing women, not even those that are...

...on camera, but those who work behind the scenes, those that are coaches and athletes themselves. Like there are so many awesome women that they're sort of this like unspoken sisterhood, and I just wanted to highlight that because I feel like not enough people really know that that exists. So I love that you nominated her and I will try you would also nominate you for doing this. It's so awesome and I just I really respect it and I think it's such a beautiful thing to do, to to create this space and just to show that there really is so much support, so many women that really do support each other in this business. That's sweet. Thank you. I really appreciate that and I appreciate you taking the time. I know that these days are stupors range and you've got the baby and the draft prep for, but I hope you guys stay safe. I'm so glad we have the Internet. You can still let your like shine, even if it's a little different these days, but we look forward to seeing you on our TV screens again suon. Thank you so much, Amanda. I appreciate it. Great to talk to you. I loved how we could hear baby reese throughout our chat. A little behind the scenes scoop for you. Poor Laura was late to jump on this call with me because she was having a hard time putting the baby down for a nap. So then once we started, I assumed she was sleeping and obviously that was not the case. Even though I'm not a mom, I feel for you mama's out there trying to get your kid to nap when you've got other things to do. I'm sure it is not easy. Anyway, I hope you have a new appreciation and maybe some perspective on Laura and how amazing she is at her job, at motherhood and just at life. She was so wonderful to talk to and I'm so thankful she was open and honest about so many things. If you like this conversation and want more just like it, please hit the subscribe button so you don't miss out on new episodes. They come out each and every Thursday, and please rate and review so I know what you like and what you don't like. Thanks for listening.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (43)