Behind the scenes with Milwaukee's female sports media, part two
When we embarked on interviewing the six female sports reporters stationed here in Milwaukee, we knew the stories they would share about their careers would be the most intriguing.
Lori Nickel and Bobbi Roquemore from the newspaper, Jessie Garcia, Stephanie Sutton and Jen Lada from television, and Kyndra de St. Aubin from radio all have experienced bumps in the road during their career paths. But, they also compile unique tales that only women in the world of sports can experience.
Time for show and tell. All six were eager to recall moments that made them smile, shake their heads or take a deep breath. We begin with that welcome to the world of sports reporting / broadcasting moment that made them realize -- I have arrived.
Garcia: "Probably my first assignment as an intern at WISC (Madison). I had to drive to Wausau for the state baseball tournament. The game got over late and I was hauling you-know-what back to Madison. I walked in the door at about 10:10 and was told I had to write and edit the highlights by 10:20. My heart was beating out of my chest but somehow it got on the air. I knew then the deadline pressure that comes with live TV and with sports specifically."
Sutton: "I actually upset (Raiders coach) Jon Gruden in Oakland. I got a lead from a producer saying 'We've heard he signed to go to Notre Dame.' I ask the tough question, and he didn't blow up in front of me, but as soon as they shut the door, I guess he went nuts ... he went ballistic! I remember going to the car with the photog, and the PR guy running after me asking "What was that all about?" They did not expect that from me. Leading up to that, all day, I knew I had to ask the question and I was nervous. But I was like, well, I gotta do it, and I did it, and I pissed him off."
Roquemore: "At Marquette, I was the sports editor of the Marquette Tribune, the college paper. So a gentleman calls up and asks to speak to the sports editor, and he was transferred to me. He asks again to speak to the sports editor. I tell him I AM the sports editor. He refused to talk to me, insisting to speak to the former sports editor about whatever he had to say."
de St. Aubin: "I was in a Bucks press conference and general manager Larry Harris called me out in front of everybody for "listening to music" with my headset during the press conference. I was not "listening to music," I was listening to the press conference to make sure the audio I was recording sounded OK. Since then, he always asks me if I have any questions for him, rather than the other way around."
Mistakes are not singular to the female portion of sports reporters and broadcasters. An error is charged in baseball, a foul in basketball, and a penalty in football. Yes, even the athletes they cover mess up. That's why it's refreshing for these six women to laugh it off and turn the other cheek.
Sutton: "I worked in Jackson, Mississippi where we have the Astros' Double-A team. I went to the Bay Area, and one of my first gigs was covering the Oakland A's and I remember going into where (manager) Art Howe was, and I said "Hey coach!" He didn't say anything. Later, someone taps me on the shoulder and says "It's manager." I was like, 'Oh, I had no idea, because in AA, you say coach all the time.'"
de St. Aubin: "I once asked Michael Redd why they can't play a full 60 minutes because they were falling apart in the fourth quarter every game. Basketball (in the NBA) is only 48 minutes. It was right in the middle of Packers' season and I got my numbers mixed up. He looked at me like I was crazy, but answered the question. He has given me the nickname "60 Minutes" and calls me that most times I see him."
The working moms could each write a book about their personal experiences trying to beat a deadline while juggling childcare duties. Whether it's with child or surrounded by them, these women somehow make a sport out of raising children while on the job.
Nickel: "I'm covering the first-ever opening day at Miller Park and I am eight-plus months pregnant. Because I have seen too many TV shows where some woman's water breaks at the mall, in the cab, wherever, I had gotten into the habit of carrying extra clothes with me on assignment. So security was extremely tight that day because President Bush was throwing out the first pitch. I go through security and FBI people rifle through my work bag, past the usual media guides, tape recorders, laptop computer and the like. I'm dying, thinking, 'Don't go in that closed part of the bag.' Of course, the security guy does. The guy stops and pauses when he pulls out my huge pair of sweatpants and maternity underwear, looks at me, looks down again, at me again, and we're both so embarrassed we didn't say anything. The buzz from the long line of reporters behind me stopped, too. Too many single guys, apparently, never knew they made maternity underwear."
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Jon D. said: Not only is Lori Nickel's husband lucky enough to say those words, he probably can write off the Sunday Ticket as a business expense on his taxes!
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