These professional athletes use their spare time in more common ways than you might think.
The Minnesota Lynx were preparing at Target Center in Minneapolis to take on the best team in the Eastern Conference. That’s a stressor for a team that’s 8-15 and at the bottom of the Western Conference. The stands also brought a different atmosphere, since they were packed with tons of youth from camp for an afternoon game.
So what’s a woman to do about the stress?
It turns out the Lynx players relax in the same ways most people do. Superstar Sylvia Fowles addressed that in the locker room after the Lynx defeated the Chicago Sky with two words: “Me time.”
“It gives me time to think about myself,” she said. “In basketball you always have to think about everybody else. So you’re always pretty much last. All of those things give me time to just think about myself.”
Lynx players face similar problems and find similar solutions as everyday people because their salaries are more in line with the typical American. The average salary of a Minnesota resident is $71,656; Lynx guard Rachel Banham’s average salary is only $485 more than that. Banham, 28, is playing right near home. She’s from Lakeville, Minnesota, and played for the University of Minnesota, ending her college career with 3,093 points. She’s engaged to former Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball player Andre Hollins. She spends her “me time” in a very familiar way, especially after more than two years of being inside during a pandemic.
“Watch Netflix, have dinner with my fiancé and do chill things,” she said. “Yeah, try to kind of, like, keep them separate, job and regular life.”
Kayla McBride, a 30-year-old guard, set school records at Notre Dame in career points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots. She considers herself a foodie and said, “I love to cook, that’s something that I do. Hanging out. My family comes out a lot, TV shows that I like, all different types of things. I love going out to eat and finding cool places. I’m a big foodie. So finding good restaurants.”
Fowles is a 36-year-old center who stands 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 217 pounds. She’ll be retiring as one of the greats in the WNBA. So how does a woman who knocks over other athletes for a living relax?
“I’m into, like, arty stuff,” she said. “So I do a lot of journaling and a lot of meditation. I’m in this space now where I do a lot of knitting and crocheting.”
There is one more thing that WNBA players are known to do in their free time. The league is filled with activists. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports gave the WNBA a perfect score for race and gender, indicating the prominence of women and minorities in the league. When Lynx President Carley Knox was confronted with the question of how she sees the daily life of Lynx players, she brought up that other factor that makes the WNBA special.
“The WNBA itself is an act of activism, and all the players reflect that,” she said.