An Athlete Feeling Stuck in a Pandemic…

Looking at this past year, we could say it has been like no other – similar to a rollercoaster with a never ending drop. With most seasons, practices and camps being cancelled due to the pandemic, some collegiate athlete have been discouraged and have lost motivation for fitness and the sport they love.

With intense training and mastery of workouts there is often a sense of euphoria where you feel like you are on top and cannot be stopped. Taking all the right measures to ensure your body is well maintained, getting stronger, faster, and mastering your craft, preparing yourself to unleash a beast in the upcoming season. However, due to the pandemic there are a few questions that have emerged; When is that next season? Are training facilities going to reopen in the fall and winter months? Is this pandemic going to end soon? Have I potentially played my last collegiate game?

Uncertainty contributes a massive factor to why some athletes are discouraged and unmotivated. At the beginning of the pandemic, fitness was trending, with gyms closed we incorporated pushup challenges and home workouts into our daily and weekly routines. With some athletes attaining the privilege to access gyms, building home gyms or simply having weights at home. The cost of gyms may not be reasonable for some athletes. The question becomes, what happens to the athletes that relied on school facilities? Acquiring access to school facilities through team training sessions and open gym hours, was essential throughout their development. Even as high school athletes, many who could not afford gym fees relied on their school facilities to help them with their progression.

Through these rough times of uncertainty, we should express ourselves, voice our concerns, talk to someone, and find support from family, friends, or even a coach. They may be experiencing the same feelings or have been in a similar situation. Remember, encouragement and motivation can go a very long way from the people around us. Sometimes we need that extra push, when we don’t have the inner strength to motivate ourselves. In kind be that friend to reach out, give hope, and give that push we may need. And to all my fellow athletes who may be facing the same trails and tribulations I was once going through myself… There will be better days.

COMM 0014 – Digital Communication The Rise of MMA

Attending my first UFC Event

Upon attending my first UFC event, I would have been certain that Men aged 18-34 would have made up the bulk of MMA fans in terms of demographics. In December 2018, I was fortunate enough to attend UFC 231 and purchased front row tickets in order to get the ultimate experience. It didn’t take my girlfriend and I much time to realize who was predominately attending these events after scanning the arena. In terms of education level, this was difficult to gauge given how much alcohol was being consumed, with one individual going as far as lighting up a joint inside the arena, however if I were to guess I would say there was an apparent lack of education. An educated guess leads me to believe that single, caucasian men made up the vast majority of the near 20,000 people in attendance, although given the complexity and history of combat sports, there were surely other ethnic groups who also came to watch the show. Upon further research, I came across an interesting article by MMA ManiaI was surprised to see that the median age of those who watched MMA was 49-years-old. The article goes as far as mentioning how much they are missing out on the younger generation in terms profits and how companies involved are seeking to attract new, younger fans to the sport.

Psychographics in MMA

When I tell my family the absurd amounts of money that I spend on Pay Per Views and live events to watch people gruesomely beat each other up, I tend to get a look of utter shock and surprise. Being a lanky, quiet kid from the suburbs, I likely do not fit into the general category of those who watch MMA, however that is something I love about the sport. There is no set in stone type of person who watches combat sports. From a personality perspective, I think that most imagine combat sports fans to be loud, obnoxious men who are there to drink booze and get rowdy. To the contrary, during my first visit I was sitting beside a 25-year-old man who had tons of experience in martial arts and was a disciplined chemistry student pressuring his Master’s Degree. His love of the sport came from a technique perspective and his analysis during the fight was enjoyable to say the least. While this might not be your prototypical combat sports fan, I am sure there are many others out there with similar character traits. In terms of wealth and background, I imagine this number will vary tremendously based on age and education. Given my tickets had cost nearly 700$ each, I was surrounded by a much more wealthy group of individuals, many of whom were dressed in suits and were drinking 20$ beers from the Scotiabank Arena throughout he entirety of the night. Lots had travelled from afar to watch their family or friends compete in the cage, which demonstrates a financial freedom that only a certain level of wealth can attain you. In terms of being leaders or followers, there was an apparent style of individual who had confidence gleaming out of them, a trait which leads me to believe that a majority had leadership qualities. Lastly, in terms of hobbies and politics, I would say that many combat sports fans are conservatives who enjoy being social and playing sports. Many combatants come from a football, basketball, and wrestling background, where the need to be physically in shape is a must to survive. Regarding the political side of the sport, the observation of it being conservative dominant comes from my own findings on Twitter and Facebook. There is generally an anti-liberal mindset, which stems from misconceptions of what the platform means in terms of masculinity. Why are MMA fans right-wing forum? Linked above is a forum which agrees with my analysis of MMA fans being generally right-wing, and discusses why the sport attracts those with a conservation mindset versus those who tend to be more liberal. Any feedback is much appreciated whether you are a fan of the sport or not! I am curious to see why the younger generation is not interested in this growing phenomenon and would love more insight. Thank you for listening.

https://www.mmamania.com/2017/6/7/15753610/average-age-ufc-television-viewers-demographics-ratings-advertisers-fox-sports-mma

Explaining Sports to Women

Too many times I have heard that I don’t know anything about sports because I’m a woman.  According to Forbes, women know a lot about sports, women like sports, and heck women even play sports.

 

I live in a house with all men/boys which automatically turned me into a hockey/baseball/rugby mom.  At one time, I even drove the stereotypical minivan.

While at one of my son’s hockey games, a group of dads started heckling me and the two ladies I was standing with, even going so far as to call us “stupid” and claimed we knew nothing about hockey.  They  then tried to further mansplain the game to us when a call didn’t go in their favour.  Let’s be clear: I don’t need anyone to help me understand hockey.  I grew up in a rink—both my brothers played hockey.  I married a hockey player, and we have two children that play.  My grandfather was an author who published hockey stories as well as wrote articles on the sport.  My uncle was a commentator on Hockey Night In Canada and also penned several books on the subject.

 

So why is it widely perceived that women know nothing about sports?  

Ladies—have you ever supported a team only to have to justify why you like them beyond their uniforms?  This not only implies that only men can like sports, but that men are also the experts when it comes to anything sports related.

Women personalities in sports media.

Although millions of women play sports, and many more millions are fans, women are still not given the opportunity to actually talk about sports.  Males dominate the media.  By discouraging women in this field, it only fuels the premise that women simply don’t understand sports—maybe it’s the men that don’t know as much about sports as they think.

Social media can certainly up the ante for these women working in the male-dominated sports industry.  It provides them a platform that not only gives exposure, but a voice and a presence so that women of all ages can follow them, learn from them, and support them.

Facebook: Explaining sports to women, hint: don’t do it.  Why is it Widely Perceived that Woman Know Nothing About Sports.  

Twitter: Why men shouldn’t explain sports to women http://bit.ly/2FtLXQK.

Being a Sports Fan in Today’s Social Media World

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The way sports fans watch their favourite teams has significantly changed over the past 10 years.

Think back to the early 2000’s. Remember how we experienced sports? We would gather with friends at a bar or at home and watch the game in person together. Then, once the game was complete, we would talk about it (again, in person) either that day or the next.

What about now? Whether watching the game at home, or watching it live at the event fans have the opportunity to interact with each other in real time through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Vine. Real time interactions also allows fans to know about something important (such as an injury, the current score, etc.) the moment it happens.

I came across a great article about this topic entitled “How Sports Fans Engage With Social Media” (http://mashable.com/2013/10/03/sports-fans-social-media). The article surprised me with some interesting statistics that were gathered from a survey given to sports fans. Here’s the most interesting of the findings:

-Nearly twice as many people use Facebook as compared to Twitter, but once game day rolls around Twitter is the social network of choice

-Google+ and YouTube are rising in popularity, and are showing the most growth year to year.

I am definitely an example of what the article is talking about. I’m constantly checking Twitter throughout the game, and posting updates and reaction for others to see. It’s amazing to see how different I watch sports now, compared to as little as 5 years ago.

Are you interacting on Twitter as you watch your favourite team play? Do you enjoy having instant access to the most important statistics, highlights, and reactions of fans?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment below!