Welcome Back Sage
Earlier this year, we hung out at ESPN's campus to catch up with some of the ladies of SportsCenter. We created our fashion editorial with them throughout ther day as well as interviewing them on the various shows they were on.
This month, we had lunch with one of our favorite sportscasters growing up, Sage Steele. You may know her from ESPN SportsCenter (and we're excited that she is back on the network starting August 28th with SportsCenter AM), but one of our co-founders enjoyed watching her in their market covering local sports! We took some time in between Sage's move back to CT from Arizona, prepping for her show with her team to find out more about how she got into the industry, who she cheers for, what it's like to be back on the network and how she takes some time for herself!
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was your path to becoming a sports broadcaster?
SAGE STEELE: Well it's something that I knew I wanted to do when I was young as I was 12 years old. I knew that as a daughter of an athlete and I had 2 brothers and I was an athlete myself. I just knew that I wouldn't be able to play sports competitively past high school so the second best
thing to be around it was to be able to talk about it with these athletes. I was just talking with my boss about this, the reason that we all - these sports fans love sports is that obviously, it's about where we are from and about our teams. For 3 hours on a Sunday, you're watching a football game and nothing else matters. It's not about your race, your age, your religion, your gender - none of it matters, we're just fans of that team! It's beautiful and I love how sports just brings us together no matter what. And I just wanted to be a part of that. Now it's 22 years in the making - I have been in this for 22 years! It's been a very long, uphill climb, but ESPN was always my dream. Sometimes I couldn't believe that it has been 10 years that I achieved my dream and that I am still in it!
AM: What do you think the current state of women in sports media is?
SS: Oh gosh it's come so far. It almost cracks me up when people say, "oh women, women" and I always say that yes we need more women, but do you not realize how far we have come? Not that it's enough, but I mean I was always the only woman in the lockerroom. For years - always - that has changed drastically. Big networks specifically are looking for women to fill these roles on air. Years ago, that would have never happened! ESPN literally, doesn't think twice about hiring a woman. Is it the right person period? I am really proud of how far we have all come. I just think now it's second nature. No one thinks, "wow they have a woman on SportsCenter". It's been like that for a very long time.
AM: Who are your favorite teams?
SS: It's funny because it's rotated through the years because I am an army brat and didn't have a home town so to speak. The first NFL team I fell in love with was the Denver Broncos because we lived in Colorado and we had come from Europe in 1984. That was during the Orange Crush, John Elway and the Super Bowl years. Once again, it confirmed what I wanted to do for a living because I was in awe of how an entire state could come to a standstill on a Sunday and all be screaming and yelling for the same team and that was when I really fell in love with sports.
Otherwise, the NBA Pacers that was the first NBA team I really covered. I went to school in Indiana and went to high school there so I loved the Colts and of course College Basketball, I'm a Hoosier. I have to say that I root for some of those teams, but at the end of the day, maybe because I'm older and jaded, but I don't root for teams per se but now it's for people. It's about the people that I have met and those that I know are good humans and not just great athletes and good coaches. That's what it has come down to now focusing on certain people.
AM: You're coming back to ESPN SportsCenter, what was it like the first time you worked with the network and what's it like coming back?
SS: Gosh well the first time was 10 years ago and I cannot believe how much the campus has changed and grown. But then again, it's also about how much I have changed - I was scared to death coming here 10 years ago! I really was! I was 10 years younger - only 34 and I had 3 babies under the age of 4. I was just in a different phase and pretty stressed out. I guess now I am pretty stressed out for other reasons because now my kids are teenagers and it's a different kind of stress. I have grown so much through the years here at ESPN. It's overwhelming sometimes, because I know I've become just a better broadcaster because of doing it. Just like in any industry you just have to get to the point that you're in your own zone and you don't really listen to what other people say or think about you especially today in the world of social media. You know if you have done a good job at the end of the day when the executives bring you back for more, then you know that overall you have done a really good job.
It's been such a whirlwind and not just 22 years of my career but specifically at ESPN for the last 10, I've done so many things and so many events and it's been really awesome to just represent this company as I'm so thankful.
AM: You start on Aug 28th, what can we expect when we watch SportsCenter:AM for the relaunch and what takes place in this show that is different then the other SportsCenters throughout the day?
SS: This is the first thing that people wake up to. A lot of times, people have to o to bed they have lives and they have not been able to see results of all the games that they have cared about or their favorite athletes that they follow.
So you're going to wake up to highlights and analysis and a pretty fast paced show that catches you up on what you missed last night and helping you to look ahead on what to expect for the day of sports.
There are three of us as hosts me, Randy Scott and Jay Harris. We're really good friends. So it's a three hour show and we need all three of us, that's for sure! I think it's rare these days to have three people that are truly friends that are hosting a national show of any kind. Fast paced, highlights, analysis - we're going to laugh and have fun. We're talking about sports and yes, there are some serious conversations these days but mostly it's fun. We're talking about sports for a living! You will get some opinion in there as well, maybe more then when I started at ESPN 10 years ago, but it's not about us, it's about the highlights, serving the viewers and kind of giving them something to start their day with. If they're at the coffee machine at work, they can say, "gosh did you see what the Bears did last night?" We're giving them information, tools and just stuff to talk about. Because at the end of the day, sports is an escape which is my true belief! That's what we hope to provide to help everyone begin their day.
AM: What are you most excited about now that you're back at ESPN?
SS: I'm excited about talking about all the sports again. I have loved the last 4 years of talking about the NBA. The last 9 months or so I got back on the road with SportsCenter on the Road covering everything from the Super Bowl, Masters - you name it. My main focus for the last 4 years has been the NBA and I am more in love with it than I have ever been before but, I have missed football and college basketball - to be able to talk about that again. I have such a history with these sports in covering it during my career in various markets that I can't wait to get
back to that while hanging on to all of my NBA stuff as well as it's important to me. I'll just add that I'm still going to be going on the road with SportsCenter on the Road. That means so much to me because I thrive in the chaos of the road. I love it when I'm standing court side before Game 5 of the NBA Finals with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Lebron James warming up and somehow I have to stay focused and on task and host an hour long show and do interviews - that's the chaos that I just love! I really wanted to hang on to that aspect of it as well. So lots of in-studio and on the road as well. AM: We enjoyed having lunch with you and getting to know you, what are your favorite workouts or activities that you do to stay toned and in shape?
SS: I honestly think that my stress forces me to stay in shape. I have to have an outlet especially since there is so much stress. There's travel as I'm always on airplanes a lot. I will say that I do eat pretty well and that's important to me and especially with having kids and trying to set a good example.
Sometimes it's about having a 10 minute workout in a hotel room - literally! Fortunately, there's no TV cameras or mirrors
to see what I'm wearing or doing. And if I only have those 10 minutes, then that is what I will do! It sets the tone for my day - hey I'm 44 so I have to work on it. I like to eat well and stay active doing something. I am really looking forward to having a set schedule now that I am back in CT because now I can get on a set schedule with workouts as well and not just figuring out how to squeeze them in depending on time zone or based on what the hotel gym has. I have done a lot of boot camps during the years. I am really interested in trying pilates and yoga as I have never done them before at all. I think I need that in my life for my body and my brain.
AM: When you're not at work what's your personal style when you're out and about with your family or taking personal time for yourself?
SS: Right now, jeans and flats. My favorite shirts are by Rails, they're just casual shirts. I love flannels and denim. Many times my hair is up, I wear very little makeup - I don't know, I'm really casual and simple. I'm in the shower and out of the house in 25 minutes. Maybe it's because I have to dress up so often to put makeup on and to care about what I look like.
Hey, when I wear what I want to wear, I feel like it's presentable and cute - I can go to dinner in this. But I could also go to my kid's basketball game and not feel overdressed. Having that flexibility is important to me. I'm just really, really casual. Sometimes, my mom says, "Sage you're going to the grocery store, you need to dress up a little bit and make sure that you put some blush on." And I'm like, "mom, you're lucky that I don't have my baseball cap on today!"
It's all about being TOTALLY casual and having a balance from what I have to do when I'm at work and have to present myself as somewhat glamorous.
You fake it until you make it!
AM: How do you take time for yourself to recharge and just to come up for air?
SS: That's what I need to work on because right now, it's not enough. That's honestly the biggest thing on my list now that I am coming back to a set schedule in CT. Mon - Thurs set hours and off by 11am. Up early because I have to figure out the sleep patterns first! In the past, I have done a lot of horseback riding - being an equestrian has been a big part of my life. I don't know and I'm so glad that you asked because I have to figure it out. For sure, I know I have to keep myself mentally healthy as well as physically. But I don't think of taking time for myself and that's probably my biggest fault. So if you have any suggestions, I will take them from anyone and anywhere! Maybe yoga will be that for me. I need to figure it out for sure!
We're so excited to see Sage on SportsCenter AM starting Aug 28th as well as SportsCenter on the Road. You can also catch her on 2018 Miss America co-hosting with ABC's The Bachelor, Chris Harrison on Sept 10th in Atlantic City.