Fox Sports’ Jen Hale returns to her roots, sideline reporting for the Saints
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Before finding fame with Fox sports, Jen Hale told the stories of New Orleans on Fox 8.
Back on her home turf for the first time since the pandemic, Hale is thanking the city that raised her and is keeping sights set on her dream.
“There are lots of teams that have folks who wear the jerseys, even come to the games, but they don’t bleed it,” Hale said. “They don’t live it the way that saints fans do. It’s a very unique relationship.”
The former LSU cheerleader is no stranger to the intensity of a football weekend in southern Louisiana, but she remembers when things weren’t so easy for her hometown. Rocked by Hurricane Katrina floodwaters, Hale says the country counted the Crescent City out.
“Of course, everyone down here was outraged. So many people who were already back rebuilding, with no insurance money, just figuring it out on their own. And when the Saints beat the Falcons on primetime television, Steve Gleason blocked the punt,” Hale recalled. “People here felt like the team gave a rallying cry and answered that question nationally for everyone in the city. So, I think especially since then, that relationship has been so solidified.”
That rallying cry carried Hale through her position as an anchor of Fox 8′s Morning Edition and onto her current role as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports.
Veteran announcer and host Chris Myers says it’s that passion that makes Hale such an asset to their Sunday gameday team.
“That’s something that takes a lot of pressure off of us in the booth. The producers say, “Hey, Jen has something,” and we know it’s going to be delivered in a timely fashion and be connected to what the viewer wants to see or hear,” Myers said.
Hale says there are no nerves when she steps on camera.
“When you’re on the field, you feel like you’re a little tiny part of all that action,” Hale said. “Getting to soak it up, be there in the middle of all of it.”
But there was a time hale wasn’t sure she’d see this day.
At 38 years old, Hale’s heart betrayed her. She was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a weakening heart that struggles to pump blood, and faced the possibility that she’d live only five more years. The same condition had claimed her father’s life when she was a teenager.
“My producer at the time knew what was going on,” Hale said. “My analysts knew what was going on. And they stood by me, rock solid.”
Fighting through the difficult diagnosis, and with the miracles of modern medicine, Hale found a prescription regimen that keeps her healthy, able to work, and play.
“All the best restaurants, the right connections, whatever people want to do,” Myers said. “As busy as she is, she does play New Orleans tour guide.”
Hale uses the challenges she’s faced to push further toward her goals.
“You go into it knowing that committing yourself to that when those lows come, you’re going to use them as a learning experience, not as a point of defeat. And those lows, they’re going to be professional, they’re going to be personal, whether it be medical, family, something like that,” Hale said. “Everybody has them. You just have to decide how you’re going to respond to them before they come, and then stay committed to that course.”
With the home game wrapped, Hale moves on to her next assignment, but wherever her career takes her, she leaves a little bit of her heart right here in New Orleans.
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