How Pressing Pause Keeps LaChina Robinson's Broadcasting Game Strong
In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
LaChina Robinson is one of the most admirable women in the sports media disrupting the broadcasting industry one game at a time. Of course, before she was the LaChina Robinson that we all know and love from ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and NBATV, she was a 6'4" 14-year-old girl who was struggling to find her place in the world on top of day-to-day teen angst. Once she gave basketball a try, she felt like she belonged for the first time, which allowed her to tap into her strength, find her voice, embrace her unique features and eventually earn a college scholarship.
"Now I get to give back to the sport that gave so much to me while also giving women's sports the spotlight it deserves and helping to increase media imagery of powerful women," the Rising Media Stars co-founder told xoNecole. Though Robinson is working tirelessly to demolish the stigmas against Black women in sports broadcasting such as lack of audience interest, not being attractive to the average viewer, and their opinions not mattering to sports fans, she knows that she's not alone in the fight for equality for women's sports reporters' rights.
"There is a look and sound brought to you by mainstream America and Black women are led to believe that we don't check the boxes. What I love about the trend we are seeing with black women in sports like Jemele Hill, Cari Champion, Maria Taylor, we are creating our own boxes, so check that!"
Just like any job, being a sports analyst comes with its ups and downs, but LaChina Robinson loves her career and the research, passion, and packaging behind the pretty picture she paints on-screen. "I love telling the story behind the athlete. I cover the WNBA which is a league of 80% Black women who are undercovered by the media, unappreciated, and overlooked," the Around The Rim podcast host shared. "I take pride in shining a light on who they are as athletes, moms, business owners, activists, philanthropists, and much more. We need to expose the world to how incredible the Black female athlete really is."
As for the future of sports journalism in relation to the inclusivity of Black women, LaChina had this to say: "I believe the future of Black women in sports media is more Black women as a play-by-play announcers, analysts, editors in the newsroom, directors, and producers on live sporting events, and much more. These spaces are lacking diversity and Black women need to be in positions of power with freedom to create, hire, make decisions, and drive the narrative."
xoNecole had the chance to speak with multifaceted sports media maven about the importance of her relationship with God, how rapping Jay-Z helps her warm up before reporting a game, and how she finally started to make dating a priority in this installment of xoNecole's "Finding Balance".
xoNecole: At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause?
LaChina Robinson: I was in my late 20's before my career in broadcasting started and I got physically ill. I could not dig myself out of this hole of physical, spiritual, and emotional suffering. When I reflect back, I had been working for two years straight without a vacation and I had nothing left. I emerged from that situation closer to God, my purpose, and definitely learned the importance of pressing pause.
What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.
Being a basketball analyst requires a lot of homework, film, interview, studying stats, and reading articles. People think that you just show up on television and talk about what you see; not even close. I am buried in research and the game itself is literally 10% of all the work you do.
What are your mornings like?
I get up, say my prayers, listen to a meditation podcast (I love the Shine App), and try not to pick up my phone, which is a daily battle. I have a cup of decaf coffee, check my schedule for the day, and I'm off and running. In a pre-pandemic year, I am on a plane at least 160 days a year so when I am home, I spend a lot of time running errands, watching film, and packing for my next trip.
How do you wind down at night?
I am a big fan of the Calm app which gets my mind drifting off into stories that take my focus off of the worries of life. I've started drinking tea more often before bed to relax. During the pandemic, I am definitely watching more Netflix and Hulu and would like to do more reading before bed but it's a work in progress.
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
The most hectic week for me is when I have to be in four different cities in a week. I could have two or three games, be hosting a special event, moderate a panel discussion, and before I know it, I am only home one or two days a week; that's hard. The traveling is the hardest part. I got so used to the get-up-and-go that I don't think I fully realized how hard it is to build consistency in your life when you are never in one city for very long.
Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you?
Self-care for me is listening to a church sermon, working out, treating myself to a two-hour deep tissue massage once or twice a month, getting a mani-pedi, or going to the park and meditating, reading, stretching, and cooking when the motivation hits me.
What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?
You have to make time for self-care; no one can pour from an empty cup. My word over the last two years has been "replenish". I realized that I give so much of myself mentally, physically, spiritually to everyone's else's priorities, but who is going to take care of me? That is ultimately my responsibility and I deserve to take time for myself and take care of myself.
"You have to make time for self-care; no one can pour from an empty cup. My word over the last two years has been 'replenish'. I realized that I give so much of myself mentally, physically, spiritually to everyone's else's priorities, but who is going to take care of me? That is ultimately my responsibility and I deserve to take time for myself and take care of myself."
How do you find balance with:
I have the best friends in the world because they are super understanding that my travel and work schedules are crazy. I can be going at a fast pace and then have like a month where I am not as busy so my friends either see me often or not at all. I love pool days, park days, long FaceTimes, and trying new restaurants with friends when I can.
I finally started making dating a priority about two years ago. Something happened to me in my 30's where all of a sudden I was willing to move my life and career around to prioritize love which was a huge step for a girl who has always been career first.
I love the app ClassPass because I can dip into one of the many great workout classes available in Atlanta or on the road. I like a combination of muscle toning and cardio so you will find me in spin, interval training, I get bored with workouts so bouncing around in different classes keeps me excited for that next workout challenge.
What about health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
I am trying to like cooking but it just isn't my thing. Traveling as much as I do makes it hard on grocery shopping and cooking. I have tried a few meal prep services I like which helps to keep things healthy but I love some DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, definitely lifesavers for a girl on the go.
Do you ever detox?
I am a fan of fasting more than detoxing but it is something I would like to do more of. Fasting just helps me to reset my system, get my appetite under control, and keep a healthy mindset around the purpose of food which is really to nourish.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
Prayer. My relationship with God is the foundation of my life. I don't know where I would be without His grace and mercy. God is my best friend and the first place I turn in times of uncertainty, anxiety, or need direction.
What do you do when you have a creative block when creating concepts for a project?
I like to rap Jay-Z lyrics before my games. Not only has his music been the soundtrack to my life but when you need to get a report out and want to speak clearly and with fluidity, rap lyrics are the perfect warm-up.
Honestly, what does success mean to you? What does happiness mean to you?
My definition of success over time has changed but at this point in my career, I would say peace, purpose, and freedom. I want to be able to lay my head on the pillow every night and feel like I am in alignment with the plan God has for me, that I am proud of my personal and professional brand, and that I have freedom to be the ultimate decision-maker on where I want to put my time and energy.
For more of LaChina, follow her on Instagram!
Featured image courtesy of LaChina Robinson.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images