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.

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.

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.

The Sport of Wrestling

Wrestling.

What is it really?

It is such a widely loved sport, and yet it is so different for everyone.

To some, wrestling is a hobby.

To others it is a sport.

And to some a career.

Every year, more and more children sign up to wrestle. (And in the United States, girls wrestling is the fastest growing sport.)

Every team gains new members.

Every tournament gets bigger.

Wrestling is one of those things that sticks with you. There is just something about it. Maybe it’s the fact that it is so raw, and so individual. Everything that happens out there on the mat is you. Every takedown you get, every point you score, and even every point that is scored against you. Every win, every loss, that is all you. No one else.

Your teammates and coaches can only do so much in practice to help to prepare you, but when it comes time, there is no one out there competing alongside you. Its just you out there.

That’s what makes it unlike every other sport.

It was once said by one of the wrestling greats, Dan Gable, “Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” This rings true on so many levels as wrestling can be seen as a metaphor for life.

There are ups and downs, and though you are doing it all by yourself, you have the support of others. However, you have to deal with what happens to you, and you have to get back up when you get knocked down and you have to keep trying.

The characteristics you learn and the habits you form ripple throughout the rest of your life. Hard work, integrity, discipline, courage, camaraderie, and so much more. The memories you make and the relationships you forge last a lifetime.

So what really is wrestling?

It’s so much more than just a sport…

It is a lifestyle.

Injuries Suck

Yep, they suck. So much.

I recently hurt the top of my foot at a practice that was optional… How’s that make ya feel, going to an extra practice to get better, and I get hurt.

So I hurt my foot, went to see our athletic trainers, then I saw a doctor, and then another doctor, then to get X-rays. As I wait for the results, I have to try to put myself in the best position to be where I want to be.

As a university student, I still have to go to classes; I actually had a midterm today. As an Olympic hopeful, I still have to workout as I can; yesterday, I did some cardio on the Ski Erg (A machine that mimics the cross country skiing arm motion). But as a person, I need to keep a good attitude and not get discouraged.

At this point, it is still fresh, and I need to rest and ice and take all the necessary steps to help it to heal. However, it is the start of the season, so I want to wrestle!

There’s a fine line here; I want to get back on the mat as soon as possible, but my foot needs to be ready because if I get back into it prematurely, I could reinjure it and make it worse.

Now here I am doing what I need to do to heal my foot and stay in shape for wrestling. I can still do a lot of things that don’t involve using my foot; arm, core, neck exercises, etc. I will just have to work twice as hard to be where I want to be.

As it stands now, I am praying the X-rays show good results and it heals quickly. I am using positive affirmations, and trying to look at the positive side of things.

Now excuse me while I try not to slip while crutching home in this Vancouver rain.

You Need it All

Often I get asked what is best in wrestling; speed, strength, endurance…

Well, you need it all.

You need to be quick. You need to be able to move your feet quickly or move your arm. You need to be able to take a shot, and change your speed to finish it.

You need to be strong. You have to be able to pick someone up and then return them back to the mat. You will pull someone in order to make them move so that you can shoot your shot.

You need to have endurance. To be able to go all out for six minutes, then turn around and do that five times during a competition.

You need all that and so much more; stamina, quickness, and to go even deeper, mental toughness, honor and so much more.

Wrestling however, is as much physical as it is mental.

You need:

Discipline. You have to be disciplined enough to go to a tough practice and work hard every day. To continuously push yourself when you don’t think you can go any further. To push yourself and your practice partners so that you both get better. You have to stay late and do extra work. Be disciplined to do the little things. Be disciplined to go to be early and do all you need to to stay healthy.

Control. You have to be able to control yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. You have to have body control, and be able to control where you put your foot, or where you move the person you are wrestling. You have to control your thoughts, and calm yourself before or during a high stress match. You have to control your want to eat a lot, or drink too much, and have to control your weight. Control your emotions after a match long enough to shake your opponents and their coaches hands.

Optimism. You have to have a good attitude for yourself and for your teammates. You have to look to the future, and to all the great things you can accomplish. You have to keep your head up when you lose a match, to come back and wrestle again stronger. You have to have optimism to work on your weaknesses, and improve your strengths.

Motivation. You have to be motivated to do all of these things and more. Every day, and sometimes more than once a day.

Wrestling is hard. It requires a lot from you.

But,

It is unlike anything I have ever done before, and that is why I keep coming back.

World Championships

The World Championships were last week! And they were awesome!

This year, the World Championships were in Nur- Sultan Kazakhstan, and they were held September 14-22nd. This tournament also served as a qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. (Each country must qualify the six weight classes at a major tournament to then be allowed to wrestle in the Olympics. This World Championship was the first tournament in which weight classes could be qualified for the Olympics.)

There are ten weight classes for each division, and there are three divisions. The divisions are; Men and Women’s freestyle and Men’s Greco. All of the international tournaments wrestle their weights in Kilograms, so in Men’s Freestyle the weight classes are: 57, 61, 65, 70, 74, 79, 86, 92, 97, and 125. For Women’s Freestyle, they are 50, 53, 55, 57, 59, 62, 65, 68, 72, and 76. And last but not least, the Men’s Greco weights are, 55, 60, 63, 67, 72, 77, 82, 87, 97 and 130.

The United States came away with five individual gold medals; three for women’s freestyle and two for men’s freestyle. The US also earned two individual bronze medals; both from men’s freestyle. The US Men and Women’s Freestyle teams placed both also placed third as teams respectively.

For the Women’s Freestyle division, it was the first time in history that three women from the United State have won. Those women were Jacarra Winchester at 55 Kilograms, Tamyra Mensah at 68 Kilograms, and Adeline Gray at 76 Kilograms.

This was Winchester and Mensah’s first time winning the World Championships; an incredible feat. However, this was Adeline Gray’s fifth World Championship Gold.

A FIVE TIME World Champion. Talk about an incredible feat…

Gray is the first woman in US history to win five World titles. She won the World Championships in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019, along with being a 2016 Olympian.

In the Men’s Freestyle division, two men won World titles; Kyle Dake at 79 Kilograms, and J’den Cox at 92 Kilograms. This is the second back to back Gold at the World Championships for both men.

As the World Championships come to a close, many athletes look to future competitions, especially to the Olympics in 2020. Many will be looking to make an Olympic Team at the Olympic Trials Tournament in April of 2020. To make that team, one must win the Olympic Trials Tournament, a difficult task with so many talented wrestlers returning.

Lots of talent returning, lots of World Champs returning. This is going to be a good year!