So, when I saw that Lauren Gardner had joined the Linked-in group, A Glove of Their Own, I approached her to do a story before the ink even cooled. I was familiar with Lauren after seeing her cheer for the Denver Broncos in 2007 and remember her as a woman amongst girls.
No offense to the other members of the squad, but Lauren's flaming red hair, flying crazy against the sea of orange and blue was a sight that few of the 70,000 plus football-hungry males at Invesco Field could ever forget.
Blessed with flowing red locks, a gorgeous white toothie smile, and abs that a forty something like me would die for, Lauren registers on the smoking scale somewhere slightly north of "mucho caliente."
I asked Lauren, if she would be interested in being the latest subject of my weekly column, Through The Eyes of....My thought being that I could present would-be readers with the sideline perspective of the game through the eyes of the NFL cheerleader.
Much to my disappointment and the suspected disappointment of those 70,000 rabid fans, Lauren is no longer a Bronco cheerleader, but remains Denver's "Queen of the Sports Air Waves" in her multiple roles as the In-Game Host at the Colorado Rockies, as well as, an on-air personality at Altitude Sports and Entertainment for the Colorado Mammoth Lacrosse Team and the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League.
In her spare time (say what?) she works full-time as a real estate sales assistant for the Spire Denver.
Lauren was nice enough to spend some time with me on the "other side of the microphone" and clearly proves to the readers that she is more than just another pretty face in this week's segment of "Through The Eyes of...Lauren Gardner...Not Just Another Pretty Face.
Civ: You originally went by the name Mile High Sports Betty. How did this come about and do you still use it?
Lauren: Ha ha….Oh that brings back memories. Mile High Sports Betty was a term coined by the publishers over at Mile High Sports when I began doing a TV segment for their show on Altitude. I would go around town checking out different places and events.
It was the first time I’d ever done anything on TV. I remember the very first segment was at the Stock Show and I had bought a new outfit and was so excited only to have it completely ruined by all of the dirt and manure. I have had many nicknames and still do, but that one never really stuck.
Civ: You are the in game host for the Rockies. Is there anyone you interviewed who made your knees weak?
Lauren: Unfortunately, as in game host, I only interviewed fans. They are all so interesting and it was so much fun to be in the stands and mingling with the people that make the sport so great.
My most memorable fan interview was Todd Helton’s number one fan who brings a giant Helton sign to every game and knows everything about him. However, when I worked for Champ Car, (a race car series that is now merged with the INDY Car series), I was lucky enough to interview Mario Andretti. He was driving the two-seater F1 car and was as nice as can be, although I was surprised at how little he is.
Civ: Do you go in the locker room or strictly baselines, benches, and bleacher interviews?
Lauren: When I work the sidelines for the Mammoth and the Eagles, (not the football team), I stay rinkside and outside of the dressing rooms. For the Mammoth, they allow me bench access for interviews during the games, which is incredible, and it gives the viewer the feel for the emotion of that very moment!
Civ: Should women reporters be allowed in the locker room? Would you blush?
Lauren: I feel that’s a decision for both the team and the reporter. It really depends on the situation. I have been in the teams that I cover locker rooms and keep my eyes straight ahead and go about my business. It’s strictly professional and both parties have always acted as such.
Civ: You are very polished on air despite your relative youth. Is this the result of your college work and education?
Lauren: Well, thank you. Sometimes I feel like I sound like an absolute mess, but try my best to be articulate and composed. I realize I’m quite young, but I don’t feel it’s an excuse to speak like a surfer or a valley girl.
I do think that studying Political Science in college was a great way to hone reading, writing and verbal skills, as well as, analytical thinking. Growing up, I was always that kid that would read on the playground and loved English class. I was such a nerd!
Civ: How did you decide to enter this field and what are your long term goals?
Lauren: I studied Political Science in college and had plans of going to law school. Playing softball was a very significant part of my life growing up as I am extremely competitive and there’s nothing like the feeling of leaving everything you have out on the diamond (the softball diamond in my case). My family and I would always go to sporting events and watch them on TV.
My sophomore year in college, I ended up with an internship at Mile High Sports and later at FSN Rocky Mountain. It was then and there that I decided that I love the excitement of the industry and that I wanted to try and make it in sports broadcasting. I’m definitely at the stage of trying to get my foot in the door and I’m loving every minute of it!
My ultimate goal is to be on a big network covering the most exciting games.
Civ: In addition to the Rockies you work for Altitude Sports covering the Mammoth and the Eagles, how does your role differ covering lax, hockey, or baseball?
Lauren: My role with the Mammoth and the Eagles is much different than with the Rockies. I work in the in-game entertainment department for the Rockies and get to host different contests with the fans on the big screen. It’s a lot of fun and I can really relax and have a good time.
My true passion is what I do on the sidelines with the Eagles and the Mammoth. I am able to be right in the mix and get inside stories about what’s going on, as well as, interviews. I enjoy the challenge of live television and radio…you never know what’s going to happen and you have to be quick on your feet.
Civ: You were a former Bronco cheerleader and rated as many as the Cheerleading Rookie of the Year in 2007. How did that make you feel?
Lauren: It was really honoring to be recognized, but it’s all really subjective. I guess I’ve always grown up as a tomboy and don’t see myself as much of a girly girl, but when the time comes, it’s fun to play dress up and embrace my femininity. Really, I see myself as a huge dork that laughs at my own jokes and forgets to shower sometimes.
I had a great time cheering for the team that I grew up idolizing and watching. The best part about the experience was the friendships I made and being part of an organization that is so involved with the community.
Civ: Who was the coolest player you met as a Bronco cheerleader? Did you date any players?
Lauren: I would have to say the coolest player I met was John Elway. John Lynch is also one of the greats I met as well. Him and his wife are very nice and are active in their foundation. I never dated any of the players and never had any interest.
Civ: How did you become more than just a pretty face?
Lauren: That’s so flattering to be called pretty. I still blush when people say that. In all seriousness, it is hard to separate yourself from that stereotype when we live in the world that we do. Everybody uses the tools that they’ve been given and I’m using mine.
If I had it my way, I’d be an extremely athletic guy and would be able to fulfill my dream of playing baseball for a living. That’s not the case and I’m trying to do the next best thing, which is get as close to the excitement as possible.
I have a very long way to go and I know that I am where I am today is by being very persistent and working hard. I remember when I wanted to intern at FSN, I had to call them six times before they even got back to me.
Civ: You were named Miss Hot Rod or something like that...cooler than an ESPY or not?
Lauren: LOL. An ESPY is certainly a huge honor….depending on what you’re awarded for. I was actually, The Face of Champ Car, abbreviated as FOCC, (I always thought that was kind of funny). As cheesy as the entire thing was, it gave me the opportunity to travel all over North America and meet some really great people from around the world. I grew up as a gear head of sorts going to car shows and races with my dad and watching open wheel racing on TV.
When I had the chance to be in the middle of it all…well, I couldn’t pass it up.
The experience was great! As the ambassador, I gave tours of the paddock to fans and told them all about the cars, the drivers and the series. It was nice to show people that I really knew what I was talking about and it was great to improve on my public speaking skills.
There were also a lot of public appearances…especially in Mexico City. There were billboards with my face on it! It was hilarious! The coolest part of the entire thing was riding in the Formula One two-seater in Long Beach, (I’ve been sky diving and I have to say this was even more exciting than that!).
Civ: Did you ever feel that 60,000 screaming Bronco fans may have been distracted from the game when you cheered?
Lauren: I’m not sure. I would dance my heart out in hopes of entertaining everyone. So….my final answer is: I hope so.
Civ: What does your daily menu entail?
Lauren: Honestly, I try and eat as healthy as possible when I can and have the will power to. That means lean proteins, salads, and whole grains…light on the sodium. When it comes to pizza, all bets are off. I love pizza, Mexican food and my biggest weakness of all are cupcakes.
There’s a place by my office that has the best cupcakes on the planet. I even stalk their website on a daily basis to look at the pictures and see what flavors they are featuring that day (that’s completely normal, right?). www.happycakes.com
Civ: How many sit ups do you do a day to keep your abs that toned?
Lauren: Oh man! I have to say that I do spend my fair share of time in the gym. I enjoy being physically fit and I have a lot more energy when I’m working out on a regular basis. When I cheered for the Mammoth and the Broncos, the uniform was great motivation to stay in shape.
Now that I’m retired, (that makes me sound so old!! ), I am training for a mini triathlon. It’s definitely a challenge, but I’m having a lot of fun pushing myself.
Civ: Did you win prom queen in your high school? Any awards?
Lauren: I was nominated for homecoming queen my freshman year in high school, but ended up losing. My team-mates voted me as captain as the dance team and the softball team in high school.
I also won outstanding athlete, academic award, (I don’t know where they come up with this stuff), as well as, first team all conference and all region in softball my Senior year (I think I was most proud of those). They were all character building experiences.
Civ: You went to University of Colorado Boulder. I assume you cheered there. Were you a sorority girl? Was there hazing?
Lauren: A lot of people assume both of those things, however, I didn’t do either. I began cheering for the Colorado Mammoth my sophomore year and never ended up joining a sorority. In high school, we would toilet paper all of the freshman’s houses on the softball team….is that considered hazing?
Civ: What are your favorite movie...Favorite food...Favorite TV show... ?
Lauren: Movie: tie between Anchorman, Caddy Shack, and Pulp Fiction.
Food: Pizza and Cupcakes (from Happy Cakes)
TV Show: Sex and the City, Seinfeld, and Family Guy
Civ: You are a member of the Linked in group, A Glove of Their Own..have you read the book yet and would it embarrass you if we named you the A Glove of Their Own cheerleader?
Lauren: I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t read the book, but have fully intended on doing so. I would be honored to be named the A Glove of Their Own cheerleader!
Civ: You do a lot of charity work, tell us about what you're involved in?
Lauren: Growing up, my family has made it a point for us to give back. Whether it was as simple as sponsoring a child on Christmas to taking on a big project. While cheering for the Broncos, we collectively contributed 1,200 hours to charity a year.
Last season we worked with Habitat for Humanity and we actually went out and built houses. I never knew I would be capable of operating a circular saw until then. The year before we raised $50,000 dollars in the name of one of the alumni that is a breast cancer survivor.
The best experience that I’ve ever had while giving back was when my mom and I traveled to Ecuador for two weeks to work in a school for disabled and impoverished children. I was nervous at first because I have never worked with disabled children, but it ended up being the best experience I’ve ever had. I want to go back when I can raise the money. TC