🏈 Rachel Baribeau Delivers Inspirational Message to KU Football

As super-senior offensive lineman Chris Hughes walked out of the indoor practice facility Wednesday morning, he had a giant smile on his face and was eager to share what he learned in the hour prior.

“We had a great talk,” Hughes said. “We talked about mental health, self-care and we shared how important it is to connect with people and let our loved ones know we love them and they’re here for us and we’re here for them.

“We all need to remember we’re kings, queens, whatever you want to be, but we have to make sure we have value in our lives and we add value in other people’s lives.”

The “great talk” Hughes was referencing was a powerful message delivered to the Jayhawks by Rachel Baribeau during a team meeting Wednesday.

The former sportscaster now tours the country, calling it the “I’m Changing the Narrative” movement, where she shares a message of positivity and purpose and talks to football student-athletes about finding purpose in life, leadership, mental health, self-care, domestic violence prevention, social justice and interpersonal relationships.

Baribeau’s up-tempo presentation centered around life lessons the student-athletes are able to take with them after her talk. Among some of her most poignant points she made to the team included:

  • Character is who you are when no one is watching
  • Your pain is not for you; People need to hear it
  • Your greatest pain is attached to your greatest purpose
  • When you get there, throw the rope back for someone else
  • Don’t live a life of regret
  • Kings lead, they serve, they give and they know better and do better
  • Kings do the hard things

Baribeau also asked the team several questions, causing serious self-reflection and discovery, including “what makes you happy?” and “what do you do to make yourself happy?”

Not only were the Jayhawks captivated by Baribeau’s presentation, so was Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who attended her speech and shared a positive message himself with the student-athletes.

Baribeau has spoken with Coach Lance Leipold’s teams in the past and the Kansas coach was eager to get the powerful speaker on campus to deliver a strong message to his players, which she certainly did.

“I’m trying to break the stigma about being an athlete,” freshman running back Devin Neal said. “It’s important to talk about self-care and tell people you love them.”

Baribeau spent more time with individual members of the team after the meeting and made a commitment to remain in contact with anyone who is interested in continuing to hear her life lessons.