Shining a spotlight on celebrities and athletes who love to travel. Created and developed by Stacy Steponate Greenberg.
Our daughters are growing up in an era where women’s sports, particularly basketball, have reached unprecedented heights in popularity and interest. No team is more responsible for that than the University of Connecticut, and no player more than Rebecca Lobo. Like very few women before her, Rebecca became a star playing basketball, helping pave the way for so many who have followed to reach or even exceed her popularity and fame. She played seven years in the WNBA, won Olympic Gold, and in 2010 was inducted into the women’s basketball hall of fame. Today, this mother of four is busy not only with her kids but also with the RuthAnn and Rebecca Logo Scholarship in Allied Health at the University of Connecticut, which promotes diversity among health professionals. Married to Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin and now working as a commentator for ESPN, Rebecca’s achievements have taken her all over the world.
The Overhead Compartment with Rebecca Lobo starts now…..
OC: When you were playing in the WNBA, what was your favorite city to visit?
RL: I loved going to Portland — mostly because I could visit Powell’s bookstore while I was there. It’s a wonderland for anyone who likes to read. I was able to find some vintage copies of the children’s book my dad read to us as kids (Uncle WIggily’s Adventures) and give them to my siblings for Christmas that year.
OC: If you had time off, what would you do during the day in that city?
RL: Go to Powells.
OC: When you traveled for games, what was the key to packing?
RL: Playing for a team that had an equipment manager who would pack your basketball shoes! Not all teams have one. I’m a 6’4″ woman with big feet, so basketball shoes took up a lot of space in my bag. If someone else packed them, it left me more room for other things.
OC: What is the key for packing now as a commentator?
RL: One pair of dress shoes. If I go on a trip where I will call multiple games, I make sure my dresses coordinate with one pair of heels. Shoes just take up too much space in my carry-on.
OC: Your husband, like mine, covers sports for a living. What is your favorite event you’ve attended with him when you were not working or playing?
RL: Steve was covering the 2004 Olympics in Greece and I went along as a spectator. I was five months pregnant at the time with our first child and we had an absolute blast. Steve wrote a lot about the “scene” at events so we would get tickets and watch together. It was a really fun time.
OC: What’s a fun night for you when he can’t join you because he’s watching a game?
RL: We have four small children so our house is in a constant state of anarchy. Whether just one or both of us are home, a “normal” night involves one kid practicing her trumpet while another does homework and another begs us to play Backyardigans Memory game. A truly fun night would be getting the kids to bed early and watching something like Modern Family or Bill Maher on the DVR.
OC: As the mom of four kids, what’s the hardest part of family travel?
RL: Packing the kids’ carry-on. We are finally at a place where we don’t need the diaper bag anymore but I still need to pack extra clothes for spills or “accidents”. I also need to make sure each kid has enough stuff (books, paper, charge for iPod) to stay busy during flights. And, i need to make sure I have enough snacks. My 6-yr-old son turns into a monster when he’s hungry…
OC: What’s one tip every frazzled mom needs to make that trip easier?
RL: Don’t expect your husband to help with packing for the kids. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment (-:
OC: Do your kids think that playing basketball against Big Bird on Sesame Street was the pinnacle of your career?
RL: It’s the only thing I’ve done that they think is cool. (I’m not kidding. It’s the only time they’ve been impressed with me.)
OC: Do you?
RL: Now that I have children, I realize that it was the most impressive thing I’ve done.
OC: You’ve traveled on Air Force One….what was that like?
RL: It was an amazing experience. One of the flight attendants was a huge UConn basketball fan so he gave me a tour of the plane. When we got to the President’s bathroom, the flight attendant asked, “Do you want a picture sitting on the President’s toilet??? It’s the picture EVERYONE wants…”
OC: Favorite place for leisure travel?
RL: Cape Cod is a lifelong favorite. I also love Minneapolis, DC, San Francisco…
OC: Where are you just coming back from?
RL: By the time you read this, I’ll have just returned from Raleigh, NC after calling a Duke game.
OC: Check or Carry on?
RL: Always a Carry on.
OC: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you on an airplane?
RL: A few years ago we had an emergency landing in Atlanta. One engine was on fire and we had to evacuate using the slide. Fortunately, I was traveling for business and didn’t have to do that with the kids.
OC: First thing you do when arriving at a hotel in your room?
RL: Wash my hands. I also like to organize my stuff. Because hotel rooms are small, I am very tidy and organized.
OC: Room service or hotel restaurant for breakfast?
RL: Ideally my hotel is near a Starbucks and I can go there to get some oatmeal. If not, I’ll go to the restaurant or order room service if I need to work through breakfast.
OC: Complete the following sentence: I never leave home without:
RL: Workout clothes. Morning workouts keep me sane on the road.
OC: Go to snack when on the road?
RL: Protein bars.
OC: What is something about you even your biggest fan didn’t know until right now?
RL: I’m very claustrophobic. I won’t fly on little planes unless there is no other option.
Rebecca Lobo, please use care upon departure as items may have shifted in The Overhead Compartment during our journey. Thanks for choosing us for your travel tips! Have a wonderful Day!