Wait…. What about us?

Some would say that sports are the center of our entertainment, the center of our society.

But I want to ask you, when I ask you to think of a sport, what comes to mind? Football, basketball, baseball?

What about the best athletes? Payton Manning, Lebron James, Jackie Robinson?

But wait.

Where in that do the women come in?

Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, Alex Morgan.

Would you have even thought about them if I hadn’t mentioned their names?

On many levels, there is a gap in gender and sports.

Especially in those male dominated sports.

Sports where men have traditionally been the only ones participating. But now, times are changing. Women want to participate. They want to compete. And they want to be seen doing so.

I will say that yes, women’s sports are still new in comparison, and that can account for that gap, but often times, the governing body is another reason; if not the biggest reason.

The NCAA is the governing body of all college athletics, and it contributes to a huge gap in the inequality of coverage, promotion, and popularity of women’s sports.

Take basketball for example…

The NCAA hypes up mens basketball considerably more than it does women’s basketball. The National tournament is the height of the entire basketball season for both genders, however, it is more highly publicized on the mens side.

“March Madness”. It is probably one of the most talked about sporting events in all of college sports, but yet do you ever hear about the women’s tournament? Perhaps occasionally, but nowhere near on the same level.

So what about us?

The women.

What do we have to do to get our competitions seen?

We need to keep competing, keep working hard, and keep fighting for equality in sport.

Maybe one day the NCAA will take notice and level the playing field. Maybe they will give women’s sports the publicity it needs to continue to grow.

However on the contrary, there are some governing bodies have done a good job at trying to create equality.

The governing body of sports in California; California Interscholastic Federation or CIF has done just that. In an effort to be forward thinking and in response to the rapid growth of women’s wrestling, the CIF sanctioned the men’s and women’s state meet to be on the same day, in the same venue, with the same fans, awards and publicity that comes with this prestigious tournament. The CIF has also done this for basketball, track and field, and many other sports.

So it can be done.

Now why isn’t the NCAA doing this? Perhaps it all comes down to money? Maybe it’s in the works? Only time will tell.

Until then, we need to keep fighting to bridge the gap.

Staying Healthy

It is super important to stay healthy so that athletes can compete at their very best. And during this flu season especially, staying healthy is a widely discussed topic.

Being “healthy” means different things for different people, but there is a general idea that most strive for, and it encompasses more than just the physical aspects. Physical Health is probably way is thought of most when it comes to health, but there is also mental, emotional and spiritual that all can impact how a person feels. Since wrestling is an individual and a very demanding sport, athletes need to feel their best in order to compete at their best.

To be physically healthy, wrestlers need to be eating right. This doesn’t mean that they have to nothing but eat chicken and rice all day every day with no treats at all, but it means that their meals need to be balanced with a good mix of carbs, fats and proteins. They need to eat lots of plants, and good sources of protein, healthy fats, but also should enjoy it with a few treats every once in a while. They need to eat enough to fuel their body, and they cannot starve themselves and they shouldn’t do crash diets (in order to make weight). The hard part is finding balance between being too strict and then not being strict enough. Food is essential to fueling wrestlers bodies in order for them to compete well. Carbs are the body’s main source of fuel, muscles use them to expand and contract and need them. Proteins are the primary building blocks to build more and maintain the muscles athletes have, and fats are the main source of fuel for the brain- the organ that keeps everything else going.

Speaking of the mind, mental health is very important and wrestlers should focus on that aspect too. Mental health is not a very commonly talked about subject in the athletic world but needs to be. Athletes go through a lot of things in their respective sports, and especially in such a demanding and individual sport like wrestling. Feelings of depression and anxiety are often felt, and the ways that wrestlers deal with those are very important. Some like to journal, talk to counselors or trusted confidants, however, if it is bigger than something they can overcome on their own, sometimes seeing a doctor is necessary. These feeling are ok, but they can have a big negative impact on athletes, and need to be understood and acknowledged. Having open dialogue about these kinds of feelings is important to help keep athletes mentally healthy too.

Emotional health is often coupled with mental health, and though it is similar, there is a distinction between the two. Emotions constantly flow through athletes on a daily basis and these feelings can impact ones mood and eventually impact habits and who they are. Being able to deal with these emotions is necessary to their daily health, and especially for competing. Often times wrestlers have some kind of outlet whether it be something creative like arts, or music or even cooking or something they can do that they enjoy in order to keep them emotionally healthy and happy. Also, when it comes to competitions and feelings like nervousness or fear need to be dealt with. Part of a wrestlers health is also learning to work through or work with the emotions they feel and using them to their advantage to compete.

Another aspect of health is spiritual. There are many athletes that identify with many different religions or other spiritual practices. Whether that is organized religion Christianity, Buddhism, or even something less organized and more personal. Even if it is not a religion, it is important to feel as if ones life has purpose and meaning, and often staying balanced and centered. The goal is to feel peace, and whatever brings an athlete peace should be emphasized.

Health is so important for any athlete and for wrestlers especially and focusing on personal overall health is one of the main aspects in creating a good wrestler.

So as time goes on, lets focus on creating great wrestlers, but also health wrestlers for now as they compete and even for them later on in life.

Women in Sport

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Pictured: Megan Rapinoe, Liz Cambage, & Katie Sowers

Women in sport.

Lately that has been a highly discussed topic all around the world, and especially today as it is National Women and Girls in Sport Day.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation website, this day is to celebrate and empower women in all sports.

In all levels of sport, women are breaking through and making names for themselves, and it is mainly seen in high school, and even professional sports. Big things are happening around the world as women fight for equality, and make history in sport.

The USA Women’s National Soccer team was a big buzz months ago around the World Cup as they filed a lawsuit against USA Soccer fighting for equality. They are a powerhouse team and have been for years, and like was stated in this article, this lawsuit has “thrust them to the forefront of a broader fight for equality in women’s sport.”

The WNBA recently proposed a contract that not only raised the salary cap for players, but also offered paid maternity leave as well. This article speaks to the notion that the WNA also wants to help “lead the way” to help push for equality in sport.

With the 49ERs participation last Sunday, they had the first ever female coach in the Super Bowl. Katie Sowers is one of the Offensive assistance coaches for the San Francisco 49ERs, and according to this article, she had “always wanted to be a part of a NFL football team”, and now she is not only doing that, but excelling in that role.

Now on to wrestling.

In North America, women’s wrestling is THRIVING!

This article discusses how even though participation in high school sports in the United States is down, participation in girls wrestling is up by 30%. Even with only 20/50 states with women’s wrestling as a high school sanction sport.

In a primarily male dominated sport, women’s involvement has increased immensely, on all levels.

Against all odds, the women persevere.

Being a woman in wrestling is hard… There are many barriers that they have already and still need to overcome. However, there are many women paving the way for that. There are now well recognized women in the world of wrestling; Adeline Gray, Helen Maroulis and many others. These women are now role models that other women and girls in the sport of wrestling can look up to.

These among MANY others are the ones who help girls realize their potential, and help them to stay motivated in the sport. So today as National Women and Girls in Sport Day, we thank these women who have paved the way, and continue to excel so that the younger generation can do so as well.

We thank them, today and everyday.

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Pictured: Adeline Gray & Helen Maroulis

Emerging Sport Status

Women’s wrestling was just granted NCAA Emerging Sport Status after a vote last week.

According to the NCAA website, “an emerging sport is a women’s sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women and more sport-sponsorship options for the institution..” It is required that Division I and II sports must gain at least 40 programs, among other standards, in order to be considered to gain that status.

On January 25, 2020, the NCAA Convention voted to grant Women’s Wrestling (and a few other sports such as acrobatics and tumbling) Emerging Sport Status for Division II and III. (Division I is still yet to vote on this later in the year)

What a huge leap forward in the promotion of Women’s Wrestling.

So what does this mean for women’s wrestling?

Adding wrestling to the NCAA is another way to increase the popularity, visibility and accessibility of women’s wrestling in Universities across the nation.

There are now more women portrayed in the College wrestling scene for younger girls to look up to than ever before. With the entrance into the NCAA, that will only increase tenfold. It is very important for young athletes to be able to see people like them, doing what they do, at an elite level. These college athletes can now be seen as role models for the up and coming generation.

Women’s programs in many cases can help to save men’s programs at some schools that are struggling. Many schools like Boise State, UC Davis and many others have lost their men’s wrestling programs in the last 10 years. Adding women’s programs to schools like these will help schools to comply with Title IX , and therefore help to save men’s programs.

Colleges are adding women’s wrestling programs at a incredibly fast rate, and as time progresses, girls will one day no longer have to chose between academics and wrestling. For years, girls in high school have had to make the decision to either go to the school that is popular and well known; one that they have had family go to or have heard about for years and years, or one that has a wrestling program. Granted, many of these colleges with women’s programs are great schools with wonderful facilities, but with the introduction of women’s wrestling into the NCAA, these girls will have so many more options.

USA National team coach Terry Steiner in this article by USA Wrestling quotes how, “as a sport, we have been fighting for many years to create opportunity for girls and women’s to wrestle at all levels… this decision gives complete legitimacy for the sport.”

This decision is the first of many in the realm of women’s wrestling and the NCAA, and is just a starting point for all the great things that are to come.

Happy New Year!

It’s now the year 2020, and how crazy it is that it’s already here. With a new year comes a season for change, and improvements, and LOTS of wrestling!!!

January is one of the busiest months for college wrestling on both the men and the women’s side. It is a preparatory time to get athletes ready for their NCAA and NAIA Nationals in the coming months; the work that is put in now is what will show later on at those tournaments.

One of the biggest tournaments this month on the women’s side is the NCAA and NAIA National Duals in Louisville, Kentucky. This tournament is one of the only dual tournaments that exists in the women’s division, and is great to showcase the teams and how they compare to each other.

Top contenders for this tournament for the NCAA division are McKendree University and Simon Fraser University. McKendree returns as the champions of this tournament in 2019, and will be looking to defend that title. They come in with standouts Alex Glaude, Alara Boyd, Kori Bullock and Felicity Taylor to name a few. Simon Fraser comes as a powerhouse school that has placed top 3 in the National Tournament for over 10 years. They too head to this tournament with some great girls to look out for; Alex Hedrick, Lauren Mason, Nicole Depa, Alyvia Fiske, and Emily Cue among many others on their squad.

Top contenders for the NAIA division are returning WCWA Champions Menlo College and Campbellsville University. Menlo heads to this tournament as the reining WCWA Champions, and fields girls of a high caliber to watch out for; Alleida Martinez, Gracie Figueroa, Solin Percey and Precious Bell. Campbellsville comes in strong as the winner of this tournament in 2018, and brings many good girls including Abby Nette, Charlotte Fowler, Katlyn Pizzo, and Kenya Sloan.

There will be a lot of good wrestling this weekend, and at the end, both a NCAA and an NAIA Champion. This is the first time that the tournament has been split into a NCAA and an NAIA division, and it is just the beginning of a new kind of college women’s wrestling. Good luck to all the teams competing!

Check out this article to get even more about the tournament and those teams competing there.

Head to @loloslowdown as a new place to check out some more women’s wrestling coverage! Also shoutout to @wreaperwrestling for their continued coverage of the women’s divisions!

Essay #2

My experience as an online publisher was great. I have really enjoyed being able to create, and publish my thoughts and to share that with my online audiences. In the short time of this semester, I was able to develop not only an interest in doing this, but a love for it.

I really liked the opportunity and the freedom that this website gave me. I was able to design, and create posts to make it what I wanted. This website has also helped me in creating and expanding my online presence. I have tried to connect my social media’s and this website in hopes to create a more interconnected network of what and who Lauren Mason is.

I also liked how in this class, all of our assignments were also posted. In the article by Erin Glass, she speaks about “Social Paper” and why it is important. I agree that it is so important. The online world has become such a big part of our everyday lives as citizens. She says that student writing “never has a chance to shine, or rather, to attract an authentic public.” I could not agree with this more. We as students spend hours and hours working on papers and assignments that only our Professor or TA will read. I think that having a space for that work to be shared and circulated is so important. Glass also talks about the disconnect from intellectual activity and life, and I do not like that. I think that that disconnect is not the best thing for our society, and that intellectual activity should be intertwined with everyday life. We should be able to share what silly things our friends did yesterday along with the thought-provoking paper we just wrote for our class. She ends with saying that “a public must not die every semester” and I could not agree more. Thankfully, in this class, my work does see the light of day; it reaches more than just my Professor and TA, it has the potential to reach the whole world. This is so exciting for me! This website has limitless potential, and it all depends on me as a content creator to capitalize on that potential. A daunting but challenging task that excites me. My website can be an online public sphere that allows for intellectual activity, thought provoking and cultural discussion.

My website is all about wrestling. Wrestling tournaments, gear, mindset, and so much more. I wanted it to be a space for everyone. My public is, as this article puts it, a relation among strangers, may of my readers don’t know each other directly, but I hoped that the people who read my posts can be interested in it. No matter if they are just learning or know a lot about wrestling, I want it to be a place where people can connect and discuss. My posts are all centered around some aspect of wrestling and in each one, I offer some insights on that topic. I try to keep each post fairly neutral, and encourage people to comment their thoughts and options on the subject. I think my website offers a unique look into the wrestling world, and helps to spark interest to discuss it further.

The wrestling world is relatively small compared to other sports such as football, and the people who are in it are very close. Within that world, there are many different opinions and views, and I think that that is one of the things that makes it so great. Wrestling very versatile and it is a sport that anyone can do, and so the wrestling world is something that everyone can be a part of. The diversity that exists there is what helps to make it so great. I have tried to offer a diverse range of posts with room for those diverse opinions to exist. I think that this website is a great space for that discussion, and I hope as I continue to write posts that this space can expand and help both wrestlers, wrestling fans new and old to participate in discussion.

I have also learned a lot about my website and my audience through Google Analytics. Using Google Analytics has also been such an interesting experience. I have found it very useful in seeing who comes and how they come to my website. It was cool to see the opposite side of what I have been doing online, the behind-the-scenes of my own online use. I have been learning a lot lately about data and social media/online use, so being able to see this in action. Through Analytics, I can see which posts are the most popular, and which days are the most active. The affordances of Google Analytics allow me to see my audience. There are so many possibilities that my website allows for, and I have tried to take advantage of them; things like audience commentary, and linking it to the rest of the online network, and so much more. This article talks about how design offers certain affordances, and I have tried to do that. I have tried to design my website in a straightforward way to make it easy to understand and engage with, along with being easy to navigate through. The article says that great designs are “those that allow us directly, and correctly, to see what we can do with a thing.” This is what I want direct and clear ways to talk about what we as a wrestling community can do with a certain topic.

Through the website, I have enabled comments on my posts. I have received a few comments from viewers on posts, and also those viewers have also commented on other viewers comments. This interaction between users was cool to see. My audience not only interacting with my posts, but with others who are viewing my posts as well. This has influenced me to create more thought provoking posts in order to get my audience to interact with the post and each other as well. I have tried to create a space for interaction and discussion of wrestling things, and it seems, to a certain extent that it is happening! It did take some time, and effort thought.

At first, I was just kind of writing whatever I felt, and now I am thinking more about what my viewers would like to see. I have noticed the shift in myself, and it is really cool to see. I have turned my mentality from “this is what I am thinking right now” to “how can I create something that will be interesting to my audience”? I also think that visualizing my audience has made it easier to connect when comments come. I have also noticed that writing comes easier the more I do it. As I have written over the semester, I have over 30 posts on my website, and I will say, 1-5 or even 1-10 were much harder to write than the last few. I got into a flow and sort of just went. I wrote in a slightly informal style, because I wanted it to be both easily understood and like it was more like speaking with a friend than reading an article.

Going on from here, I think I will continue to write!

I have really enjoyed this process, and the freedom it holds. I really liked the freedom especially. I like that I can write about whatever wrestling topic that comes to mind. I have written about quite a few things, but there is still so much more to write about. I really like to ask questions, and dig deeper into and find unique approaches to certain topics, and I want to continue to do so. I also like the opportunity creating content on my website gives me. Since I want to be a sports broadcaster, it allows me to get some experience in creating and publishing content about a sport for others to view. l will continue to do so, and hopefully one day make a career out of it, however that may present itself.

Olympic Trials

The year 2020.

What’s the first you think of when you hear that?

A new decade. The Presidential Election.

Did the Olympics come to mind? If you are an athlete, it probably did.

As 2019 comes to an end, and 2020 comes closer, a lot of athletes have their eyes set on the Olympics. Even though they will be held in the summer, they are closer than they seem.

In our practice room, we have both Canadians and Americans competing and training to make Olympic Teams.

The Canadians have their Olympic Trials in 2 weeks! December 7-8th! So soon! They are currently in their prep for the competition, and will begin their taper in the coming days.

The Americans have their Olympic Trials April 3-4! So a little later on. They are currently training for tournaments that qualify for the Trials.

There are good and bad aspects of having the Trials tournaments when they have them. Having them in December allows for athletes to have ample time to get ready for the Olympics and to get mentally and physically prepared for the tournament. Having them in April allows for the excitement to be fresh in the Olympian’s mind. However, having the trials in December is not ideal because it is pretty early in the season and quite soon after the World Championships which were in September. Having them in April is not ideal because it is pretty late in the season, only 4 months before the Olympics take place.

No matter when they are, the Trials are incredibly important. The Olympic Trials tournament is the tournament that decides who the Olympian will be from each athletes respective countries. It is an incredible honor to represent your country in the Olympic Games. A feat not many get to do.

There are 3 teams wrestlers can make. Men and Women’s Freestyle, and Men’s Greco. For the women, there are only 6 weight classes; 50, 53, 57, 62, 68, and 76 kilograms. Six! Only six women get to compete in the Olympics for the entire country.

Many athletes have dreamt of going to the Olympics since they were little, and the Trials are the first step to the realization of that dream.

So as 2020 creeps up, the Olympics do as well.

It’s going to be a big year, and a great competition, but first, the Trials.

The Wrestling Room

A place of pain,

A place of comfort,

The wrestling room is a paradoxical place. It represents strength and vulnerability. Competition and cooperation.

For many wrestlers, their wrestling room is a type of home. They know it, the routine, and people who are associated with it, and they feel comfortable there. On the contrary, it is also an uncomfortable place. It is where wrestlers have to move out of their comfort zone and to try new things. Where they often fail over and over again to eventually become better.

Many friendships are formed in a wrestling room; there’s just something about suffering, working hard and accomplishing something with people that creates a bond like no other. Some of my best friends have been made in a wrestling room (or in multiple wrestling rooms). The camaraderie of wrestling is unlike any I have ever seen before. There forms a brother or sisterhood between people, and you know that your people have your back.

It is a place of failure but also a place of improvement. Practices are hard, and often require a lot of trying over and over again. You have to put your moves to the test, and most of the time they don’t work on the first try, or the second… but maybe on the 102nd try. As they do work in the wrestling room, people are broken, but champions are made.

Long days and nights are often accompanied with wrestling. Coming early to practice, or staying later after to get better. The wrestling room lays wait for wrestlers to come take advantage of being on the mat. Competitions and tournaments are all day events, and so those long days are a time to show what you have been doing in your long practice days.

It is a place of respect. Respect of your coaches, your teammates, the mats, and respect of yourself. In our wrestling room, we listen to our coaches, do what they say, and shake their hands after practice. You respect your teammates, even if you don’t like them; part of that respect means not going easy on them, and being a good partner. Helping them when they need it, and lifting them up when necessary. You respect your opponents and their coaches. You both are trying to be the best, and you need to recognize and respect that. You respect the mats and other equipment that is needed for the sport. And you respect yourself. You hold your head high, keep your composure, and work hard to reach your potential.

The wrestling room is so many things depending on who you ask. A place of learning, of strength, of hard work.

For me, it is all of those things… it is home.

Community Guidelines

I am a big fan of the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. I like to be treated well, and in turn I try to treat others well too.

In that sense, I try to be kind, respect others, and to be fair, whether that is in real life or online. I think that the online world is a reflection of real life, and so, online users should behave in a similar way that they do in the real world.

Guidelines are great. I think that knowing what is expected is a good thing. Having clear standards and upholding them can be a very good thing. When I am aware of how I am supposed to act, I think it helps me to stay in check, and I am better all around.

I think of my website as a community. a community of online users that reads, discusses, and interacts. The community of Lolo’s Lowdown.

Some community Guidelines for my website would be respect other users. It is ok to have different options, and beliefs, however, that does not make one person better than the other. Since I am the primary content creator, I do not think I will have a problem with much of what is posted, but the comments posted by others should be respectful and not rude or condescending. Commentary should be respectful in language as well, name calling, profanity, and vulgar language will not be tolerated.

These standards are the ones that I will uphold on my website, and they may be subject to change as time goes on. As for now, my website is primarily a one way type channel; me to my viewers, (However, viewers can comment and interact) so I don’t think I will have to do much moderating, but if necessary I will.

The community guidelines of Lolo’s Lowdown are important to me, and act as standards to help keep this platform positive, informative, and something that people want to keep coming back to visit.

Mentality

The wrestling mentality…

Something that is often talked about in the wrestling world. But what is it actually?

It’s encompasses so many things, and yet is so different for everyone.

Ask any wrestler, and they will say different things, but the wrestling mentality is widely recognized at what keeps you going in this difficult sport.

There are so many things that a wrestler needs to do, and often times they are not so enjoyable. Characteristics like hard work, and integrity are relied on, but of the many values a wrestler needs, the main concept that stands out would be discipline.

Discipline encompasses so many aspects of wrestling.

In your nutrition in order to stay at your specific weight class. Having discipline to eat right, control bodily cravings, and fluid intake. Especially in practice, to do the moves correctly, and to be on time, to work hard. Having the discipline to do extra conditioning when needed. In competitions, often times, at a tournament, you are either a little banged up, or haven’t wrestled at your best, but you have to be disciplined to keep going.

This discipline is constantly relied on, and often there are two aspects that are focused on in the wrestling mentality.

Practice mindset and Competition mindset.

There are some who are “practicers”. They have a specific mindset and they love to practice, they enjoy working hard, and putting in the work before competition. They go all out and leave it all there day after day. They like the work, the preparations, the grind that comes before the competition.

Then there are some who are the “competers”. They live for the competition. They love every opportunity they get to show their skills and compete. To have all the eyes on them, the pressure, and the raw conflict that is wrestling.

Having this mindset is what helps to make wrestlers great.

One of the greats and as some would see as the father of the North American mindset started with Dan Gable. He can be seen as one of the founding fathers of wrestling in the United States. One of his famous statements was “Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” This is because wrestling is hard. Practice, competition, everything. It’s tough.

Wrestling is not a sport that you can “fake it til you make it” Nothing is given to you. You have to put in the work. As once was said, “You don’t deserve anything, you earn everything.” This requires discipline, and a specific mentality that a lot of wrestlers have.

So though I can not define what the mentality of a wrestler is, and can tell you this. There is just something about wrestlers that is different than other people.

It’s what keeps us coming back day after day and loving it.