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Wolfe can relate to athletes in real way
Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2012 5:00 am | Updated: 8:55 pm, Sun Aug 19, 2012.
PHILADELPHIA — When some cry out that a player is taking too long to get back after an injury, Colleen Wolfe can sympathize with the athlete.
If some former star comes out of retirement when others say they should have stayed on the shelf, Wolfe knows exactly how they feel.
After all, she was once one of those athletes. Wolfe is a WTXF Fox 29 sports reporter and weekend sports anchor.
Before that, she was best known for her involvement in the Phillies telecasts. She was part of their pre- and post-game shows and host of the "Charlie Manuel Show."
But growing up in Horsham, it was figure skating that was her main sporting interest, although she did spend some time on the track team at Hatboro-Horsham High School.
A back injury ended her skating career — at least for now. "I still say to myself, ‘I know I can do this,' " said Wolfe, 27. "It was pretty devastating when it happened. I had just picked up a partner and was going to go into pairs.
"I'll watch figure skating on TV and and I get so motivated to go back. I really do. The times I've tried it, I fall down because the back wouldn't allow me to finish the jumps. But it is still in the back of my mind.
"It's like an ex-boyfriend you still think about."
Wolfe was so dedicated to figure skating that she received permission to skip gym class at Hatboro-Horsham so she could go to practice.
She had been on the track team at St. Katherine of Siena's CYO team in grade school as a sprinter. However, she lasted only a season on the Hatters' track team because it conflicted with skating.
"I was a figure skater since I was 6," said Wolfe, a 2003 Hatboro-Horsham graduate. "I'd skate in the morning before school and then afterward. I couldn't play any sports because of it. I liked track but it was too much.
"I had no life at all." Wolfe competed around the East Coast in competitions before the back injury caused sciatica, thus ending her competitive career.
Her post-figure skating plan was to find a career in the arts. Wolfe enrolled in Drexel University as an art major.
Although she did not come from a sports-oriented family ("I did an interview with Dr. J, and my dad didn't know who he was," she says.), Wolfe had become a sports fan on her own.
When there was a chance to be an intern for WIP's morning sports radio show as part of Drexel's co-op program, she grabbed it more for fun than as a future career.
"I wasn't planning on doing anything in communications or sports," Wolfe said. "But as soon as I walked into that studio, I knew what I wanted to do."
WIP soon put together a weekly "Wolfe Call" segment, where she would be asked to do interesting stunts. One time she had to walk around Center City Philadelphia wearing a sandwich board asking for money.
"It was back when (Terrell Owens) was saying he needed more money so he could feed his family," said Wolfe, who also has been to eight straight Wing Bowls, not always by choice. "So they put a sandwich board on me. I did get money, some people gave me their lunches.
"After doing the morning show, you can do anything."
While WIP gave Wolfe recognition, it was actually another internship that put Wolfe on the path to professional journalist.
"The morning show was done at 10 a.m., so I was done for the day," said Wolfe, who switched her major to communications at Drexel. "I was kind of embarrassed to have so much free time, so I took another internship at CN8."
Wolfe ended up working for Lynn Doyle's nightly talk show at CN8, and when she graduated from Drexel was offered a job there.
She moved on to Comcast SportsNet as a booking producer and then went to work for a local production company. That's where she first made the air.
One of CCI's jobs was to produce the Phillies manager's show, which she hosted.
"I can't speak highly enough of Charlie Manuel," she said. "When we were with him, he was just so real. We would go into his office, and he would tell us what he really thought. He is so smart. He has a great baseball mind.
"He is so down to earth. One time I left my purse in his office. I am with the other reporters in the dugout, and here comes Charlie with my purse."
Since January, she has been on the air at Fox 29.
She is the anchor for the sports segment on the evening news on Fridays and Saturdays and co-host of a half-hour sports show on Sunday nights. She is a reporter for the sports department on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
"Fox has been great," she said. "You really have to stay on top of everything because you never know what you are going to have to report on a given day."
If that is not enough sports for her, on her off-days, she does the sports news updates on WIP.
One thing Wolfe is grateful for is that she never has had to leave the Philadelphia area to further her career.
Many of her co-workers grew up in the Philadelphia area, but had to earn their way back by working in small towns around the country. "I've been so lucky that I didn't have to leave Philadelphia," she said. "I've been able to always be around the city."
Her family may not be sports-oriented, but Wolfe did pick up a love of flying from her father, Ed Wolfe, an air traffic manager at Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
She is a student pilot and working toward her pilot's license.
"All I really need to (get the license) is put in the hours," Wolfe said. "That's hard right now with my schedule."
The only professional athlete Wolfe has a personal connection with is Matt Carroll, who plays in the NBA and is a fellow Hatboro-Horsham graduate. "I grew up with Talia Ramos, and her brother Alex Ramos played with Matt and (his brother) Pat Carroll, so I knew them both," Wolfe said. "Just seeing someone on TV who you know is kind of weird.
"I haven't covered a game where he was playing yet, but I'm dying to."