In this edition of my interview series, I speak to host and travel blogger Kayla Chance about her career, travel, and her allegiances during the college football season.
Gabriel Gonzalez: First off, where are you from?
Kayla Chance: I’m from Temecula, CA. It used to be a small town when I was growing up, but has boomed in the last few years.
GG: So, you went to both Alabama and Arizona State, as a sports fan how do you pick which team to stay loyal to during the season?
KC: I get this question all the time! Why choose when I love both? Since they are in different conferences and the likelihood they would ever play each other is slim I feel good about supporting both teams during the season.
GG: What drew you to wanting to be a sports broadcaster specifically?
KC: I absolutely love the camaraderie and the overall feeling you get when you’re at sporting event. Whether it’s hockey, soccer, football, every fan is there for the same reason. I grew up going to LA Kings games and then football in college and I knew I wanted to do more than just watch.
GG: While you have quite an amazing travel blog on The Sweetest Escape, you’re probably most popular to hockey fans for being the host at Citizens Business Bank Arena for the Ontario Reign. What was the audition process like for that job?
KC: Well thank you! Working for the Ontario Reign was my first real sports job after college. I had a blast working for the Kings organization and watching the players develop. I was super blessed with the opportunity based on connections I made with folks working for the Kings. When they decided they wanted to bring on a host for the Reign I had already been shadowing Carrolyn Bathe, the Kings host, and they gave me a call.
GG: I’m always curious how any fan gets into hockey, since for most people it’s not as accessible to play on a frequent basis like soccer or basketball. How did you get into the sport?
KC: I grew up watching and playing hockey with my family. While hockey is definitely more popular on the east coast and in Canada, the following in California isn’t as big. I have a younger brother that played ice hockey so I was always getting dragged to the rink because my dad was coaching at the time. Eventually, I got tired of just watching so I started playing hockey too. It only lasted for a couple of seasons, but it definitely helps you learn more about a sport by actually playing.
GG: What is game day like for you? How do you prepare and what do you do to get in the zone to be that medium between fans and the game?
KC: Game days are always high energy. Once I get to the rink I look at the promotions going on for the night, talk with the other broadcasters about the previous game, and check if there were any trades or updates made to the roster. Attending a minor league hockey game is slightly different than an NHL level game, but the fans are just as dedicated and passionate. As the season went on I met a lot of season ticket holders that have been going to games for years so I loved stopping by their seats and saying hi. It’s important to give the fans a great in-game experience because without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
GG: On The Sweetest Escape, you provide so much information for people who want to travel. What is it like taking readers on your adventures and what inspired you to also do a travel blog on top of pursuing a career in sports?
KC: I have these dual interests and part of me thought they could never coexist on one platform, but I’m finding new ways to integrate both of my passions. My mom is a United employee so I’ve been blessed with free flights which allows me the opportunity to travel more than most people my age. Friends and family were always asking about specific trips and they wanted pictures so I started a blog. Since starting The Sweetest Escape, I have connected with other bloggers and travelers so it’s easy to get inspired by other people’s journeys.
GG: Obviously travel and sports are two completely different things to talk about, but what role have both played in your life?
KC: If I’m not doing one I’m doing the other. Similar to what I said previously I wanted to find a way to combine my interests and that’s part of the appeal in a sports broadcasting career is the ability to travel and experience different cities and game days. As a sports fan I would love to travel to once in a lifetime events like the Olympics, the CFB National Championship, Winter Classic, etc.
GG: You’ve taken fans on plenty of adventures both in the U.S. and abroad, where are you going to travel next for The Sweetest Escape?
KC: I took a little hiatus in July to enjoy Newport Beach (where I’m currently living) but I’m going full steam ahead this month. I have trips planned to Vancouver, Phoenix, Vegas, and Boise in August and September.
GG: Any other projects coming up next that you can tell us about?
KC: I have a couple of things in the works. I am currently making my first vlog for The Sweetest Escape and it’s going to be all about college football. I can’t wait to bring on friends and former athletes to share their game day experiences with readers. You can expect to hear about schools like USC, University of Florida, Alabama, and more.
I also took on the position as Managing Editor for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty site. It covers everything football and game day related for schools in the AAC, Conference USA, and Sun Belt. It will be a great chance to cover teams that I’m not as familiar with and interact with new fans.
GG: Finally, where can fans keep up with you on social media?