I had the chance to meet Jody Jackson a few times before and during the recent Diamondbacks Fantasy Camp. I also had the opportunity to locker next to her husband, Chad, during the week-long camp. That leads us to today’s #MediaMonday from Jody Jackson, a reporter and host for Fox Sports Arizona.
Looking back at my childhood, it’s really no surprise I’ve made a career of covering sports. I looked forward to heading down to the Orange Bowl watching my beloved Miami Hurricanes. My dad worked on Saturdays so my mother took me to a handful of memorable games that fueled my love of football. In the summertime, I watched the Atlanta Braves on TBS like many in the South who had no other Major League Baseball team on TV. I played sports in school, but it was baton twirling (yes, that’s still a thing!) and dance that allowed me to live my dream on the field during the national championship at the Sugar Bowl and yes, at the Orange Bowl where it all came full circle.
These days I still go back to the OB, now those grounds are the site of Marlins Park where I cover baseball. I’m a Floridian at heart, and I, unlike Derek Jeter, am ok with the flamboyant Home Run Sculpture. Almost 18 years ago I made my way to Arizona for a job at Fox Sports Arizona.
Shortly after I graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in broadcast journalism, I worked in sports radio at WQAM in Miami covering the Dolphins, Marlins, Panthers and Heat. Then it was on to Buffalo, N.Y., where I began my TV career at WIVB as a sports reporter and anchor. In May 2000, I came here to thaw out!
It’s been a wonderful journey, meeting my husband Chad here and becoming a mother to two amazing kids, Connor and Caitlyn. Then there’s our pup, Chase, a spunky and sweet Woodle (Wheaton Terrier and Poodle mix).
My job has changed quite a bit over the years. Early on we did a nightly sports show, which had us all over town every day covering every team. I loved every minute of it, and I’m grateful for that format because that’s how I began to create relationships with every organization in town. Now it’s all live event based, which means covering more than 100 Diamondbacks games, 40 Coyotes games, home Cardinals games and occasionally filling in on a Suns broadcast or going out to a local event like the Phoenix Open. I love my job and how every day presents a new challenge, a story to tell. The friendships I have with my fellow broadcasters are so special to me, they are truly like family. So, when we act like that on air, it’s true! Not to mention our production crew. They are the best, even when I’m sure I’m talking a little too much or forgetting what to go to next (it happens once in a blue moon).
I’ve covered some of the best moments in Arizona sports history. There was nothing quite like the drama and euphoria of watching the Diamondbacks win the World Series in 2001, one of the most suspenseful in MLB history. Eight years later I watched Larry Fitzgerald run into the end zone in Tampa. With two minutes and 37 seconds on the clock I remember being in the tunnel celebrating what looked like a Super Bowl victory. The final outcome was heartbreaking but the playoff run was one I will remember forever. The Dbacks wild card win in October was thrilling, and a reminder what sports does to bring a community together. Despite all the issues and differences in our society, when we are all rooting on our favorite teams in those moments it’s all that matters.
We are family that loves sports and competition, so when I’m not at work I’m watching my kids, Connor and Caitlyn, play a wide variety of sports and Chad coaches them in most of them. Being a parent and watching your child grow and excel in school, on the playing field or court, and as a person has been so gratifying. When we have nothing on the schedule, which is pretty rare, we like to hike, bike, or just hang out. I love food, wine, a good IPA and of course, dessert. The Valley has so much to offer now compared to a just a few years ago. Our neighborhood in South Tempe is a little like Arcadia as far as the growth of restaurants and hangouts that are great for a date night, girls’ night or a family outing.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two decades since I came to Phoenix. Getting to know so many wonderful people here in the Valley has been such a blessing. I’ve learned so much over the years, and there have been trying times when people have gone out of their way to help myself and my family get through them. That’s what I’ll cherish more than anything when I look back and reflect on my life.
I’m appreciative that I get to connect with viewers (on TV and at the stadiums/arenas) and I know how special that is. It’s honestly better than I ever dreamed it would be when I was pretending to be a broadcaster in the passenger seat of my mom’s car on the way to baton practice…