Photo courtesy of Lance Tilford Limelight
Most of the Rams’ fans (especially the males) reading this article may have recognized a new face at home Rams’ games interacting with the crowd. That person is Sara Dayley, a woman with many titles and responsibilities. Some readers may already know Sara from her job with Today in St. Louis on KSDK. Others may recognize her from her racing reporting on SPEED. I suspect there are even are a few readers that know her connection to baby blue and St. Louis sports history from the 80’s. Sara was kind enough to grant me an interview.
RamsHerd: Some of us early birds will recognize you from KSDK's Today in St. Louis, but most Rams fans have just met you from Rams game day events. Can you fill us in on the official job title?
Dayley: I’d love too! In Game Host is my exact title, but I have also heard “that one girl”, “the chick on the jumbo tron” or “that girl from KSDK”. I’ve been given a lot of different fun titles, so it’s all acceptable I guess.
RamsHerd: What were you expectations of the job and what has been the biggest surprise about the job?
Dayley: It’s honestly all that I expected and more! There is nothing like interacting with fans and being part of such an incredible organization! If you are a true sports fan, it’s so exciting to be surrounded by energetic-passionate-die hards that just appreciate the game and what’s going on with Coach Fisher and the team as a whole. The biggest surprise is how connected I feel and it’s only been a few weeks. When you love what you do, you don’t consider it work, and it’s fairly easy to get attached.
RamsHerd: Can you give us the straight scoop? Is the ball hidden under the helmet game fixed?
Dayley: Well, come on now, I can’t give away all my secrets. There are only 3 helmets so you already have a 33.333333 percent chance to get it right and that’s not too bad. Ha! When we have special occasions or guests, like the marriage proposal a few weeks ago, graphics have to be pre made. In that unique situation, there may be a “suggestion” to make sure things go smoothly.
RamsHerd: All true Rams’ fans know the players and coaches, but very few of us know the people doing the daily work at Rams Park. To which department do you report, and who are the people you regularly interact with?
Dayley: The staff at Rams Park truly work together as a team and a lot of them wear a ton of different hats, but I report to Scott Brooks who is the Vice President of Broadcasting and Creative . He is extremely talented and has a great grasp on what’s needed to provide the best possible product both on and off the field.
RamsHerd: I first heard about you on a radio show called Mayhem In The Morning. When I researched your background, I was surprised at all of the different jobs you have held since that radio show. Can you give our readers a summary of how you made it to where you are now?
Dayley: I started in radio out of college because it was an opportunity to stay in media, and it was here at home in St. Louis. My true passion was television, and I knew that was where I ultimately wanted to end up. I just kept watching, learning as much as I could, getting involved in everything and anything possible, and put myself in situations where I could work alongside some of the best in the business. I met some great people in the industry and kept climbing that uphill battle. After sending out a ton of tapes and some decent amount of time, I was offered a position with Feld Entertainment/SPEED & hit the ground running, jumping at every opportunity thrown at me!
RamsHerd: Given movies such as Anchorman, some people may not think there is much to the TV news job. You primarily handle traffic for Today in St. Louis. Can you tell us what your schedule is like Monday through Friday? Do you ever get 8 hours of sleep?
Dayley: I can’t tell you the last time I got eight hours of consecutive sleep! Honestly, I don’t think I could sleep that long if I tried. That’s not my body clock anymore.
What is normal for me is something I call shift sleeping. In any given day, I sleep two hours here and maybe three hours there. I average about 4/4.5 hours a night, hitting the hay around 830ish and waking up somewhere between 1:15 a.m. and 1:45am. The snooze is the issue, but hitting the snooze never has a good outcome. Ha. People always hear about our hours and ask how any of us do it, but you just do what you got to do.
There is an entire team at KSDK, as well as other media outlets, that do the exact same thing. It’s just a different lifestyle all together. You miss a lot of games and events. Every once in a while, you just suck it up and try to stay up, but there are a lot of sacrifices people on this shift make, as well as others. Then, you also have to throw in families and balancing that as well. When you throw in the Rams, there are some weekends when I only have one day off.
RamsHerd: Whenever you have free time, what are your favorite things to do?
Dayley: With a 14-month-old son and my schedule, you’re right, free time is very limited. But should I have some time, I enjoy playing golf, being outside near water, whether it’s a pool, lake on a boat, or the beach. And this may sound odd, but I don’t get time to sit and watch movies, and that is something I wish I could do more. I seriously have a list of 30 plus movies that I need to see and have not even attempted to crack.
RamsHerd: I follow you on twitter (@sjdayley), and I recognize how serious you take the traffic job. You regularly give us traffic updates when you are not on duty and on weekends. I respect this about you because it shows that you take an interest in your job and have a drive to succeed at whatever you do. It also could be a sign that you are rather competitive. If you had to pick one, would you say you are driven or competitive?
Dayley: Driven, I really enjoy being able to help make some one’s day. If a simple tweet helps some one’s day go just a bit smoother then I am a happy woman. After hours is hard because that is my family time. Most people don’t believe it because I am active with social media, but there are times where I set everything down and walk away. That’s actually been something I’ve been trying hard recently to make a priority in my life. I am 100% dedicated to my job, but I am first and foremost a mother and there is a way to find that happy medium. It’s just recognizing what works best for me personally.
Am I competitive? Yes, and I think that’s just the athlete in me. I do think being competitive is good to a certain point. Every situation is different, but if at any point it becomes a negative and reflects poorly on your character/work ethic then it’s most likely gone too far.
RamsHerd: I asked the prior question because you are the daughter of someone many St Louisans in their 40s like me will recognize. Can you tell our readers who your father is and let us know what he is up to today?
Dayley: My father is just that, my father. His is Ken Dayley and he is a father to five children and a loving husband to his wife. I say that because that is all I have known him to be. I really don’t ever think of him as “Ken Dayley the baseball player”.
Being on the road and being at the park was part of his job and our life adjusted to that type of lifestyle, but that is all my brother, sisters and I ever knew. My parents are still here in St. Louis and dad has his real estate license and sells hunting properties around the area. He always had a passion for fishing and hunting so it’s right up his alley.
RamsHerd: Without revealing your age do you have any memories of your father playing when you were young? If yes, what was it like to see dad on TV playing Major League Baseball.
Dayley: I do! A lot actually, but not really on TV. We were with dad as much as possible so it was all experienced in the moment. Cardinal baseball and Whitey Ball was a special time in St. Louis.
Playoffs with all the other Cardinal families were always a magical time. Both my parents are from Oregon and our entire extended family is still there, so our Cardinal family became our “home away from home”. Those special moments were incredible times for the entire team, especially our fathers.
After a few seasons together, a lot of travel and a ton of time at the park, the other families are who you spend holidays, birthdays and other special events with. To this day, we are all still extremely close to and with the kids who were our age. We are all having kids, getting married, establishing careers and it’s fun to see where everyone is going, has gone and are headed.
RamsHerd: Ok, you have done radio, promotions, TV news, cable TV in many different sports, and now you have an NFL game day job, what would you like to be your next step? What are your goals?
Dayley: Long term, I want to keep challenging myself. Some jobs have opened doors that I never thought I would try and ended up really enjoying a role I may have otherwise not even considered. The exact role? I’m not dead set on one specific title. There are so many things I enjoy.
I love being part of the Today in St. Louis team at KSDK and that is something that is truly hard to find; a group of professional, driven people who truly to care about each other. Sports are just second nature to me. Some more so than others. Heck I never in a million years thought I would find myself in the pits covering drag racing, on tour with Monster Jam, shooting shows for SPEED, or shooting shows for CBS Sports.
I love traveling and that was one of the coolest parts of that job; working in places I never would have gone. Studio hosting, that’s a totally different approach. In the past, that’s allowed me to have a variety of topics yet still in more structured format. Every career has the next step and from here it’s to a larger market or even network, but it has to be the right fit. What’s best for my family may not be what I want or have worked for, but when you have a family, that’s the sacrifice you make. Traveling as a sideline reporter/studio host for a major sports network would be incredible! The Olympics & Game Seven of a World Series I can confidently say are on the “bucket list”.
RamsHerd: Last question, as a male, I am well aware of the stereotypes in sport coverage. Males do the play by play and females (primarily the attractive ones) are sideline reporters or some other smaller role. Baseball still has very few women in its TV coverage. Do you have any interests in breaking through some barriers in baseball?
Dayley: Baseball would actually be my sport of choice simply because it’s second nature. I understand more of the game than any other sport from both the player’s side as well as the reporter side and would be able to speak the lingo, so to speak. There are very talented smart women in baseball now, and being an addition to the sport would be an amazing opportunity. If that opportunity would be my next step, I’d welcome it with open arms and hit the ground running!
Our thanks to Sara Dayley for her time. You can (and should) follow her on Twitter at @sjdayley.