SPORTS BABE OF THE DAY: Rachel Baribeau, Co-Host of ‘GameTime’ on 92.9FM The Game
SPORTS BABE OF THE DAY: Rachel Baribeau, Co-Host of “GameTime” on 92.9 The Game, @RachelBaribeau on Twitter
Rachel Baribeau has just about done it all in the sports world in the South. After graduating from Auburn University, Baribeau cover the Southeastern Conference for Scout.com and Fox Sports.
Along with being a sports broadcaster, her wide range of talent includes sports editor, sports radio talk show host, sideline reporter, Internet anchor and a field reporter.
One of Baribeau’s most memorable moments was when she became the first female sports reporter to participate in a professional football training camp.
Baribeau also works as a Zumba instructor and a motivational speaker.
Being extremely knowledge about sports isn’t the only thing that sticks out about Baribeau, she is very humble and always willing to go the extra mile to help others.
Luckily for us, she was able to take the time out to speak with us about her adventures!
20 QUESTIONS WITH RACHEL BARIBEAU:
1. How did you get into sports broadcasting?
I always grew up around sports. My brothers played sports, and I would always watch them when I was growing up. I worked at the Eagle Eye when I attended Auburn University. I started as a general news reporter. I always thought I may be too sensitive for news, though. One day, I had to do a baseball interview. It was really my, ‘Aha!’ moment. I went back, started a sports talk show and never looked back.
2. What has been your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest achievement to date would probably be playing football a couple of years back with the Columbus Lions. It started off as a challenge, if you will, that my co-host at the time gave me. I accepted the challenge really without knowing what I was getting myself into fully. We pretty much threw the idea out to the coach on the air, and the coach said they had to check with the league. He came back and said, ‘We’ll allow you to do this, but you are going to have to wear the helmet, pads and the whole nine yards. We’re going to hit you and tackle. If you forget your equipment, you’re going to have to drop and give us 50. You’re going to run with the rest of the guys, the whole nine yards.’ I lasted for five days of two-a-days. It was six hours of football a day. I tell you that I thought I knew football before, but now I have a feather in my cap that not many other female sportscasters have. I’m also the only known female sportscaster to ever participate full on for five days. To really experience the blood, sweat and tears with teammates was great. The term ‘dumb jock’ is very wrong, because I learned it takes a lot to play football. For me it was a life-changing experience and one that I pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could go. I was medically released at the end of five days because I was beaten black and blue. The idea was never to really play football, but just do the training camp. I never realized how much it would inspire others and how it would inspire me. In times when I’m down and when I need to pull myself up by the bootstraps, I go back to that experience and think, ‘If I could do that, something that seemed physically and mentally impossible for a female to do, I can do anything.’ For me, that’s definitely my proudest achievement.
3. What event would you love to cover?
I have a bucket list and this year I have been fortunate enough with 92.9 The Game and moving to Atlanta to be in the afternoon with Carl Dukes and Kordell Stewart. I’ve been able to knock off two events from my bucket list. I was at the Super Bowl earlier this year broadcasting from radio row for a week, and then covered the Masters. I was in the spectator function, but I definitely would like to go back and cover it. Just being there on those majestic grounds with the reverence for the sport and the history of the Augusta Nationals. It’s just amazing. The sky’s the limit for the future.
4. How awesome was it to be the first known female sports journalist to participate in a professional football training camp?
It’s amazing. It’s something I’ll tell my grandkids and kids about. When I talk to young broadcasters in the business, I share that with them. I’m also a motivational speaker. I do generally talk about that because at the time I did not realize how inspiring it was, but it is. It doesn’t matter who you are or what walk of life you’re from, we all have challenges. We all have experiences we don’t think we can achieve. That was one of those things to me. It’s still remarkable to me still how much people draw inspiration from it. I draw inspiration from it as well.
5. If you could sit down and interview anyone, who would it be?
I’ve always said my favorite athlete that I draw inspiration from is Jackie Robinson. I was able to see the advance screening for “42” and I laughed, cried, cheered and cringed for what he went through. For me, sports transcends and reminds us of life. Also, Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott. Cabrera showed great sportsmanship to Scott in losing and had class in the defeat. There’s something for us all to take from that. That is why I think we are all drawn to sports. That’s why I got into sports. For the most part, sports makes us happy. It takes us away. More times than not, we’re having to cover these scandals in sports, and that’s unfortunate. That’s not why we all love sports, though. Sports unifies us. It helps take us away from everything we’re going through. I think Jackie Robinson personified that with the struggle he went through. I encourage everyone young or old, pink, purple, black or white to take your kids, grandkids or a kid off the street to see the movie. Everyone needs to see where baseball came from, where it is today and why it is today. What Jackie Robinson went through to fight to be treated in a humane way and what he fought for shouldn’t be for nothing. If I could cover him, have dinner with him, take a walk or pick his brains, he would definitely be my athlete because I draw a lot of inspiration from him.
The favorite part of my job is that I get to talk sports. My job is not crunching numbers or managing people. While those things are wonderful, God gave me a gift to be able to have a different take on sports. It constantly amazes me being a woman in radio because there are very few of us that are in a full-time position. It’s humbling to think people want to hear me talk sports for four hours a day. That’s never lost on me. I pinch myself on a daily basis and think of how fortunate and blessed I am to be able to do this. I always think about what am I giving them that’s different, what perspective of mine is different. I didn’t play other than five days of the training camp, but I have a different set of eyes. Things that have happened to me have caused me to have a different view of sports. I think that’s valuable. It’s not lost on me that I’m probably in a group of less than 20 woman that are in full time on-air positions. I’ve worked really hard to get here, but I try to live in a constant state of amazement and gratitude because I get to talk sports for a living, every day, and my work is reading about sports, watching sports. That blows me away every single day.
7. What advice would you give young sports journalists?
Be hungry. Make sure this is what you want to do 110 percent, because if it’s not it will show. The question I get from a lot of people is, ‘Do you really love sports?’ I talk sports on the air for four hours a day. If I didn’t love sports, you would know it. If I didn’t watch the Masters, Heat or college football, you would be able to pick me out as a fraud. I’d be reading stats and who wants that? This job involves a lot of sacrifice, a lot of nights and weekends, a lot of time away from family, a lot of times away on holidays, but if you love it and have passion for it then it’s not like work. Yes, you get tired sometimes and there are moments when you’re run down and beat up but at the end of the day, you’re covering sports. I just don’t want young people to glamorize this. Young people are asked to do more now, too. You’re not just an on-air person. You might be editing and writing. Not only do young people need to be hungry in this business, they need to be able to write, edit, work a camera, cover multiple sports and be professional in a locker room. You’re asked to do more but also have a passion to do more, because I think that sets you apart from other people.
8. Who was your role model growing up?
My grandmother and mom have always been my two role models. My grandmother was always the person who when she loved, she loved with all of her heart. When she smiled, it was always a radiant smile that made everyone in the room come near her. When she forgave you, she forgave you fully. When she was hurt, she would forgive again. She was never scarred enough not to keep giving. She truly lived her life for others. She was the most loving, giving and radiant person I have ever met in my life. We became best friends growing up. That’s where I’ve gotten a lot of my personality from. If I live up 1/100th to who she is then I’ll be proud of myself. I just lost her in January. My mom is the hardest working woman I’ve ever met. Everything she’s ever done has been successful. I got my work ethic from her. I’m not afraid of hard work. I do a lot of things, and I do these things because of the example these two amazing women have set down for me.
9. Why did you feel it was important for you to get involved in the community after the April 27 tornado? (Everyone should watch Rachel’s inspiring video below!)
I was on my couch that day. We had a lot of warnings in the past couple of weeks in Tuscaloosa. The people of Tuscaloosa were a little weary of the warnings. I remember watching something on my couch on DVR and thinking, ‘I need to turn the weather on to see what’s going on.’ When I did, the last thing I heard when the TV went out was the tornado was coming for downtown Northport. I was alone with my dogs. I got in my closest. The power was off so I didn’t have the TV and didn’t have a weather radio at the time. All I had was my phone. When you’re in that moment and you’re alone and think the tornado that big is coming for you, you make amends with your Maker. It’s hard to even talk about now, but when you’re in that most intimate moment when you don’t know if you’re going to live or die, your life tends to flash before your eyes. People tend to say that all the time, but you have to come out a changed person. When I crawled out of that closet hours later, because we didn’t know if there were more tornadoes coming through, the storm had come a quarter of a mile from my house. I was fortunate. There were people that were hit the hardest who still called themselves fortunate. That was the beauty. After that storm, sweet humanity trumped other tragedy. The things I saw after that storm have forever changed me and made an indelible mark on my life. I saw people band together of all colors and ages. People didn’t even know the people they were helping pick up the pieces of their life. It wasn’t a question of if, but when – how soon could I get out there and help other people because ultimately that’s what we are here for. Ultimately, we are here to bless other people. I believe that God has given me this platform. If you had asked me a couple of years back what my life’s goal would have been, I would have told you it would to be a favorite sportscaster. Somewhere along the way, with my faith and rededication to God, I realized that this platform has been given to my to help other people. Jackie Robinson has a famous quote that says, ‘A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.’ I now know we are here to bless others so I was there that day for a reason. I just ran to action. I did a show in Portland, Oregon, and set up a fund called Love on Tuscaloosa. People started pouring in monetary donations. They started sending a lot of stuff. We had people send clean clothes, shoes and toys. They trusted me with everything they had to help people out and find real needs. I remember I was working the shelter and there was a woman there. She was just looking for diapers and things for her children. When she was leaving, we asked if she didn’t need any clothes. It turns out she was in her home and the tornado was coming. She put her twin babies and her son in the tub and covered them with her body. When she got up the roof was gone, her van was on the neighbor’s roof and her sister had had a stroke. She came in there that day to find only her children something. That kind of selfless attitude can teach us all something. We were able to get her a new van, tires, put money away for her kids and put them in basketball camps. The lessons learned afterward will never leave me. It changed me as a human being and for the better. The things that I saw there will forever stay with me.
10. If you weren’t a sports broadcaster, what would you be doing?
I’m in the people business. I’ve realized I’ve got a lot of gifts and they are to touch people and encourage people. I want to facilitate and bring people together, whether it is for business ventures or philanthropic ventures. I’m living out on the side what I would be. I would be a motivational speaker. I would give my testimony and teach Zumba. It would involve people. Most likely, it would involve full-time speaking. I think that’s what I’d be doing.
11. Do you have a motto you live by?
It’s the Jackie Robinson quote, ‘A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.’ It basically says we are here to help other people. I’m the happiest when I’m holding the door for a little, old lady. I’m the happiest when I tell someone that may not have heard it that they’re beautiful. When someone is being mean to me, I flip the switch on them and tell them they have a beautiful smile. Then they open up like a flower. That’s when I’m happiest. I’m not the happiest when I’m doing things for myself. It’s really all about other people.
12. Where is your favorite place to visit when you have time?
I’m going to this place in August and I cannot wait. I go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, every year in August. When I was 20, I moved out by myself and, in one of the most mysterious things that I ever did, I packed a suitcase and moved there. I didn’t know anyone. I got a job there in the summer. My front porch was literally the Grand Teton. I just fell in love with it. I have a lot of Native American background. I’m also Hispanic, but the Native American folklore goes there that the way the tectonic plates meet to make the Grand Teton there’s energy that comes from within the earth there. That energy is magnetic and it draws people back. I believe it’s true. Whether you believe it or not doesn’t matter, the view is peace there. I think everyone has that place in life, and if they don’t, I wish they’d travel more to find that place. That’s the place for me that no matter what’s going on in my life, I can go there and be happy and at peace. It is my ultimate happy place. I fly fish, hike and climb. It’s just God’s grandeur. I go back every August before football season to get my mind right before the craziness of the season and find peace.
13. What foods could you not live without?
I’m huge on a hummus kick. I’ve also recently discovered collard greens. I always thought that I didn’t like them, but it turns out, if they’re well made, I like them. I’m also a big coffee fan. I definitely need my coffee in the morning.
14. What are your top three pet peeves?
My top three pet peeves are rude people. I can’t handle hateful rude people. Also, driving slowly in the left lane. That’s a big one. The third one is I can’t stand it when people yell, ‘MASHED POTATOES’ or ‘GET IN THE HOLE’ at a golf tourney.
15. If you could chose a super hero quality, what would it be?
I would think it would be to read people’s minds, but then I’m nervous about that. It worries me to find out about people and what they really think about. I think I’d like to try it out, though.
I’m a huge history buff – especially Civil War history. Often times you will find me in a museum or visiting a historical site. One of the coolest places I’ve visited is Mark Twain’s home in Connecticut. I’ve also stayed at Earnest Hemingway’s home in Kenya and seen Abraham Lincoln’s top hat at the Smithsonian Museum. It still gives me goose bumps.
17. What do you want to be remembered for?
I think you’ve probably noticed a theme in talking to me. I want to be remembered for how I made others feel and the way that I touched and helped people. I want people to say that I’m not just about sports, but there’s so much more about me. I want people to say I was good to other people. In my opinion, it’s not all about me. When I die, I want to take all the talent God has given me beyond sportscasting and help others and use it up. I want to hike, climb, dance and when I arrive in front of Him, I want Him to say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’
18. We always have to ask this question for our fans. Are you currently single, taken or locked down?
I am currently single. I’m a single gal.
19. What do you look for in a guy?
More than anything in this business, it takes a really secure person. At the end of the day, I’m a regular girl. I change my mind, I’m super sensitive and can be a klutz. I love to travel and laugh at myself on a daily basis. Family and God are important to me, and I’m looking for someone to share those things with me. I’m just looking for an equal in someone who loves life, sports, their family and Christ.
20. Who do you think we should feature as the next Sports Babe of the Day?
I think you should feature my friend Kristen Ledlow. She does the morning show at 92.9 The Game. She’s 25, and has a great career. She’s great. She’s beautiful, smart and kind. She’s hungry, passionate and knowledgeable. I definitely think you should feature her next.
There you have it! What a lovely babe! Make sure you give Rachel Baribeau a follow on Twitter at @RachelBaribeau!
(Photo Credit: Rachel Baribeau)
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