By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Sep 22, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Jessie Garcia joined WTMJ-TV in 1994 as a sports reporter and anchor. Prior to landing this position, Garcia spent two years reporting for WISC in her hometown of Madison.

Today, 38-year-old Garcia, a graduate of Boston University, works part time in order to spend as much time as possible with her family. She has two sons: Jake, age 9, and Charlie, age 5. She has been married to her husband, Paul, for 14 years.

Recently, caught up with Garcia and discussed her passions: sports and family. How did you get interested in journalism and sports?

Jessie Garcia: I was interested in writing and reporting from about age 8 on. I used to interview everyone in the neighborhood. If my family had a party, I would walk around asking all of the grownups their favorite color or food or movie.

I was not into sports, however, as a child. I was not a good athlete and my mother was not at all sports-minded. She was a single mom for many years and I am an only child, so it was just the two of us. Then my mom met my step dad and he was a big Badger sports fan.

I grew up in Madison, and he started taking me to Badger games. I just got hooked on how much fun sports can be.

My mother was a role model in a different way, though. She was a carpenter and an architect and always told me women could be anything they wanted. I decided to try writing both sports and news for my high school newspaper and found I liked sports much more. I just stuck with it from there.

OMC: Did you participate in sports at any point in your life?

JG: I ran track, played softball and did a little tennis and skiing. I knew I wasn't destined to be an athlete when I played right field in softball and hoped the ball never came my way!

OMC: Do you know more about sports than your husband?

JG: My husband's a huge sports fan, too. He's from Minnesota and he still loves the Vikings and Twins. I would say we are pretty equal, although I was telling him the difference between the Sam, Mike and Will linebackers the other day.

OMC: When you go to a party, do you find yourself talking sports with the guys, or in your world do women like to talk sports just as much as the guys do?

JG:  Women are so up on sports. Lately, everyone wants to talk Favre and of course everyone has a very strong opinion.

I like chatting about sports, but I also like to talk about kids and schools and where is the best place to buy tennis shoes. That's what happens when you have two kids!

OMC: Do you encourage your sons to play sports?

JG: My 9-year-old loves all sports. The 5-year-old follows his brother's lead on everything, so he's just now getting into it and wanting to watch the Brewers every night.

We played a lot of sports with them just as a way to get outside. They both really like baseball and soccer. The older one also does tennis and just discovered golf this summer, so now he's asking to go to the driving range all the time.

OMC: Ever coached one of your kids' teams?

JG: My husband is the coach of the family and has coached several of the older one's teams.

OMC: Who was your most memorable interview?

JG: I once was in a press conference with Michael Jordan. That was memorable. I have done a few one-on-one interviews with Favre. I had a lot of fun following Mike McCarthy from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. one day last year. But one of the most inspiring interviews I ever did was with a 100-year-old bowler. I guess there's not one interview that knocks all the rest to the side.

OMC: If the Brewers get into the playoffs, which team would you like to see them go up against?

JG: At this point they don’t match up well with anybody because their pitching has been so spotty. I fear that even if they somehow make the playoffs, they could win 1 or 2 games and be done. However, Prince Fielder has stepped up his game in the wake of the Yost firing so at least there has been a spark there. Perhaps this final home stand will be magical (and the Mets are unpredictable) so it’s not out of the realm of possibility to get into the postseason but it’s not very likely. That 9th inning collapse in Chicago really hurt them.

OMC: Do the Brewers have a chance of re-signing Sabathia or Sheets? If not, would they still be a playoff contender next year?

JG: I can’t imagine C.C. re-signing here. He’s a West Coast guy and he’s going to have major teams throwing boat loads of money at him. Plus, after the way the team has collapsed,  what’s the incentive to stay? I wouldn’t re-sign Sheets if I were Doug Melvin. He simply doesn’t give you enough quality starts and has too many injuries. Yovanni Gallardo returns. That’s great news, but the pressure is on Melvin to find at least 2 other effective starters or the Brewers will have trouble contending next year.

OMC: Who is your Milwaukee Brewers MVP of all time and why?

JG: Robin Yount, although growing up, Paul Molitor was my favorite. Yount did everything and played his whole career here and you can't beat all that.

OMC: What does Aaron Rodgers have to do this year to make fans believe that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy did the right thing?

JG: I think he would have to make the playoffs and win at least one game to quiet the majority of the doubters. But realistically, 8-8 or 9-7 is a good jumping off point for him.

OMC: Who won the PR war between Favre and the Packers?

JG: I don't think anyone won. They both took a pretty major hit and now the pressure is on both in a way I'm sure they never dreamed of.

OMC: Do you think Favre was honest in his reasons for wanting to come back?

JG: I think his decision to come back was a combination of ego and boredom. I don't see any other ulterior motives.

OMC: What do you like to do in your free time?

JG: I like to hang out with my husband and kids. We take family bike rides and spend a lot of time at the playground.

OMC: What are your nationalities?

JG: My father is Mexican, so I am half Mexican. My mother's side has roots going back to Russia and Poland.

OMC: Do you speak Spanish?

JG: I speak a little Spanish, but only what I learned in high school and college, although I did spend a semester in Spain and Spanish was my minor.

OMC: Is it difficult being a woman in your field? Has it gotten harder or easier?

JG: It's not difficult now but that's thanks to some trailblazers before me. Robin Roberts was always an inspiration when I was younger. Most people are very used to seeing women on the air doing sports now and it's just no big deal. Athletes are used to it and so are our peers in the business.

Initially, maybe there are some viewers who still look at you and say, "Hmm ... does she know what she's talking about?" but I really think it's become a part of our culture to see women, especially on ESPN and CNN, and that makes it very normal to see them on your local stations as well.

It has gotten easier in the course of my career.  I didn't know what to expect when I first got into the business. I've had a few hurdles, but it hasn't been bad at all. I'm proud to see women on many local stations throughout the state now.

OMC: In light of the Erin Andrews' dress code issue this summer, what are your beliefs about women's professional attire?

JG: I think if you want to be taken seriously, there's no reason to invite comments about your appearance. Why not dress professionally and avoid all such talk? Female reporters -- just like their male counterparts -- should want to be noticed for their words and interviews, not what they are wearing.

OMC: What do you appreciate most about living in Milwaukee?

JG: The lake, the festivals, sports galore and easy access to things like The Betty Brinn Children's Museum and the zoo. It's the best of a big city, but still feels small enough to be comfortable.

OMC: Do you enjoy reporting on family issues as much as sports?

JG: My family reporting is actually on hold. I'm just doing sports right now. I did a family segment for two years and loved it. Family issues are very close to my heart, and I really enjoyed thinking up topics that might be of interest to parents and kids.

OMC: What are your career goals? Personal goal?

JG: I have been part-time at TMJ4 ever since my first child was born and I hope to stay that way. People will ask me if I want to be on ESPN and the answer is no. I love Wisconsin and covering the teams I grew up watching. It's important to me to be close to my parents in Madison and my husband's family -- he's one of 14 kids from Minneapolis. My personal goal is just to try and continue to balance a little bit of work with a lot of family.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.