Opening weekend for Marauders soccer complete after their matches against the Western Mustangs
The fall sports season is finally underway! This past weekend both men’s and women’s soccer teams kicked off their scheduled seasons by facing the Western Mustangs.
Both teams hit the road Saturday to meet the Mustangs on their home field. The women’s team kick off was first, taking place on what was one of the hotter days of the year. Third year center back, Bryanna Caldwell, was one of the athletes to play through the heat and she felt the team still did a fantastic job.
“I feel like our strong preseason, which built a positive team environment, helped to create strong team chemistry, in which we play for one another. In addition other fans and students who made the trip all the way out to Western helped to push us through,” said Caldwell.
Making the almost two-hour drive to London McMaster University students Anas Takrouri and Yasir Kosso were among those who came to support the Marauders at the kick off.
“We like to come out and support the team because we know the feeling that comes with having fans come out and support you,” explained Takrouri.
The team pushed through the heat and ended the game tied one to one. The thrilling match saw McMaster come back to level terms with less than 10 minutes left in the match. The game tying goal came from a header by Caldwell off of Emilie Calbrese’s cross.
Another thrilling match came from the men's team shortly after. However, the McMaster men’s soccer team unfortunately lost their first match of the season under new head coach Chris Markou, losing by a slim two to one margin against the Mustangs.
The weekends second day of play came with much cooler weather for both teams to compete in. The women’s team kicked off again first against a Western side irate from the match before.
Caldwell recalled the physicality of the match and the intensity in which the game was played. Both the Marauders and the Mustangs desperately wanted to walk away victorious after they walked away from the first match tied.
“We were fighting against another team who wanted the win just as badly as we did. Each player on Mac worked hard to win their one-on-one battles. Even with a couple of injuries, we pushed through,” said Caldwell.
The game ended up going to the Mustangs, with the Marauders losing by one goal.
Just after the women’s match, the men’s team lined up to take on their contempories and eager to gain points. They ended the game with a one to nothing win via a goal by Miles Green. This marked the first win for McMaster under their new head coach.
“The pride of playing at home pushed us to get a win. We wanted to set a tone and bring energy to the home field and for the fans,” said Bryan Florent a member of the men’s team.
The fan’s made themselves heard, cheering on the Marauders until the end of each game. A new outpour of support from the crowd has had an immense impact on the players.
“The fans are like a 12th man on the pitch. It gets us going and fired up. A round of applause after a tackle, a goal or a shot, it gives us good energy,” explained Florent.
With a rigorous schedule ahead, the support of fans will hopefully continue to help push both teams ahead.
Exploring the implications of viewing dance as a sport versus an art for McMaster Athletics and Recreation
The recognition dancers receive in the sporting community is contested both organizationally and from the perspective of the general public. Some may view dance as solely an art or form of entertainment. Others might not associate dance with the physical demands sports such as football or basketball demonstrate.
Members on McMaster’s competitive and recreational dance teams often get overlooked in favour of other university athletes. These struggles can be summarized by their classification as a club as opposed to a varsity team under McMaster's athletics and recreation department.
Maddy Arnott, president of the McMaster competitive dance team, acknowledged the artistic components of dance but she also underscored dance’s athletic intensity.
“We encourage all of our dancers and choreographers to be really creative and express your feelings. . . but to an extent, we are very athletic individuals. We train lots during the week and train at a varsity level to an extent, so it definitely has a physical and sport component to it,” explained Arnott.
Per Arnott, members of the McMaster competitive dance team are expected to undergo at least six hours of training a week, including a one-hour intensive group conditioning class. Dancers also have the option to sign-up and participate in extra dances, which can add up to double this mandatory time.
In preparation for their three competitions in March and end-of-year show in April, extra weekend practices and dress rehearsals contribute an additional layer of responsibility for members.
Even with the difficulty and commitment required by members, neither the McMaster recreational nor the competitive dance team are officially considered varsity teams by the university.
“As a community, it can also be difficult not to have other sports communities or things like that regard you as unathletic or high intensity. . . I do think that it definitely can be discouraging not to have other people view you as an athlete when you do put in that high level of training,” said Arnott.
This lack of recognition has significant implications not only for dancers and their identities but also their finances.
The Athletics section on McMaster’s impact donation page allows patrons the opportunity to provide merit-based athletic financial awards for athletes across multiple different sports. Donors may provide one-time or perpetual gifts to various sporting team funds laid out on the website. Neither the McMaster Recreational Dance nor the Mcmaster Competitive Dance Team are among those listed.
According to the McMaster Athletics Eligibility page for student athletes, dance is not officially recognized as either a U Sport or Ontario University Athletics sport. Accordingly, scholarships and financial support for athletes provided by the university are also only offered at the discretion of U Sports and OUA policies.
Currently, both teams primarily raise money through student-led fundraising events to cover their costs. Last year the team organized a Christmas bake sale, a Fun Run, and a sticker sale in support of both Mac Dance and the McMaster Children's Hospital Foundation.
The lack of sponsorship or external backers furthers the funding gap between dance and other McMaster Athletics and Recreation sports. This lack of financial support results in increased payment fees for expenditures such as costumes, competitions and transportation. Alongside impacts to their personal identity, these financial burdens on dancers make their recognition as athletes a critical topic of discussion.
C/O Keenan Jeppesen
Keenan Jeppesen, the Associate Director of High Performance, seeks to advocate for and represent Black student athlete voices
McMaster’s Department of Athletics and Recreation has recently been restructured to have separate staff groups that cover both athletics and recreation. These are headed by associate directors who report to the Primary Director, Shawn Burt. Trish Chant-Sehl is the associate director, recreation and healthy living, whereas Keenan Jeppesen is the associate director, high performance.
Jeppesen joined McMaster Athletics and Recreation ain January. His roots in the McMaster community run deep — as a child growing up in Hamilton, he attended McMaster basketball camps. He returned to McMaster as a student working towards his MBA and played on the Marauders men’s basketball team as a forward in the 2009-10 season, donning number 13.
Upon earning his MBA, Jeppesen worked for Viacom and Ubiquiti Networks before returning to McMaster to work as the director of basketball operations from 2018 to 2021. Afterward, Jeppesen began to work with the Onyx Initiative, aiming to help Black and Afro-Canadian students connect with corporate Canada to earn internships and work experience. Now, Jeppesen has found himself back with McMaster once again in the role of associate director, high performance.
“McMaster’s always been important to me and I think it's such an important part of Hamilton; [it is] the fabric of the community. And I'm just so happy to kind of be back in this capacity and help kind of continue the great tradition that McMaster has and really build upon that and try to take it to a new level,” said Jeppesen.
In this role, Jeppesen covers everything competitive, from teams that compete at the U Sports or national level, teams that compete in Ontario University Athletics competitions, clubs and recreational teams that compete in other leagues and the staff that support them, including field therapists, strength and conditioning coaches and even student services coordinators.
As the role is a newer one, Jeppesen is working to define the role for himself and for the department. High performance is a general term and he hopes to take a holistic approach to it, covering everything both on and off the court.
“It just doesn't mean wins or losses, but it's really about the development of our student athletes academically, as leaders and community members both within Hamilton and the greater McMaster community. [They are a] source of pride and true ambassadors of the McMaster values and missions,” explained Jeppesen.
With Jeppesen’s experience in uplifting Black voices, a large part of his role is implementing a response after the Black Student-Athlete systemic review that came out in October 2022. Part of this response is the 21 financial awards for Black student athletes, called the 'Black Excellence Athletic Financial Awards'. The application involves short submissions from Black student athletes that highlight their leadership and excellence to the community.
“The way I continue to support in the review response [is] really just bringing my own lived experience to the role and understanding Black and BIPOC student athletes and just trying to bring that lens to the decisions we make within the department and creating programs that in some cases are specific to them,” explained Jeppesen.
In addition to lending his own perspective to the situation, Jeppesen seeks to build the athletics and recreation department up by incorporating student feedback.
“[I’m] trying to be someone that student athletes of all ethnicities are comfortable coming to share their perspective and really just trying to build a department that really incorporates the feedback of our student athletes and making sure that we reflect their values and deliver the services that are important to them,” said Jeppesen.
In this role, Jeppesen is able to combine his passion for strategy with working and uplifting student-athletes. Continuous improvement within the Department of Athletics and Recreation can be expected under Jeppesen’s leadership.
C/O Jessica Yang/Production Assistant
During a sporting season athletes are always in action, but what do they do during holidays?
As the winter break slowly approaches, there is more anticipation for the holidays than before. Not only do students get a good three week break from their studies, but student athletes also get a chance to resort to activities other than their actual varsity duties.
One may wonder, what do student athletes do once their season finishes and the holidays approach? Do they work on recovery, do they try out new activities or do they simply sit back and enjoy their time off?
Focusing specifically on the men's varsity baseball team, they have had a successful season within the Ontario University Athletics competition, finishing in second place at the final OUA championships in Ajax.
Magnus Hanson, a first-year baseball team member, expressed dissatisfaction at not winning the final tournament.
“This season had ups and downs. We had a very tough incident at one of our games that our players are still recovering from, but we did make it to the OUA finals which is a good achievement. The team and I are still not satisfied. We wanted to win the whole thing and show the baseball community that we mean business,” said Hanson.
On the subject of holiday season and the team’s direction after the season, Hanson described what he is up to and how the team spends their time during the winter break.
“For this Christmas break, we will all have to undergo a workout program. It is actually run by one of our senior players who is a trainer at the pulse and is obviously good at what he is doing. The work out program consists of a couple hours of a training program on a daily basis and lasts up until [New Year’s Day]. [After Jan. 1], the rest of the holiday is a recovery period,” said Hanson.
Hanson also mentioned that his time will be spent in his home province of British Columbia, where he will return for the winter break.
“For the holidays, I'll be back in British Columbia with my family. However, I will still need to undergo the workout program that the baseball team requires. After the workout program ends, I will practice with my baseball team to keep in shape. As an athlete, it is vital for me to do my best to keep my form up even during the off season,” explained Hanson.
Finally, Hanson added what the team is expecting for the rest of the off season, even beyond the holiday break.
“The rest of the season will consist of us playing in a soccer pitch bubble. Although it is not a baseball field, we will still get the opportunity to practice on turf during the winter, which is vital,” said Hanson.
Although many sports seasons have ended leading into the time off over the winter, it is evident that athletes haven’t finished their business of keeping in shape. Far from it, they consistently practice during the off season to keep their form up.
McMaster’s newest team is gearing up for a huge month. The first Ontario University Athletics championship is quickly creeping up on the horizon and will take place Feb. 2 for the Nordic skiing team. The team is led by Head Coach Soren Meeuwisse and is comprised of six women and six men.
Nordic skiing does not get a lot of coverage in comparison to other sports, but it is truly a great test of skill. Something which may not be very well known is that nordic skiing is actually the same as cross country skiing even though they have different names.
More than just a coach, Meeuwisse is a fifth-year kinesiology student that also competes for the team. It should also come as no surprise that Meeuwisse is leading the team in competitions, as she has experience competing at the national level, albeit for cycling. Meeuwisse placed second in each race she competed in at the most recent Ontario cup.
The fact that Meeuwisse is still a student means she has a peer-to-peer relationship with the team. Her understanding of the challenges a student-athlete may face allows her to connect with her athletes on a level of more than just teaching them to be better athletes.
“I’m a varsity athlete student mentor tutor type position. I’m a very focused student as well and I like to show many different student-athletes how they can balance their athletic pursuits with their academic pursuits, and really just find the joy in both of those,” said Meeuwisse.
Meeuwisse also takes an individualistic approach to her coaching, focusing on her athletes’ strengths and weaknesses to get them to be the best they can be. This is both due to her expertise from her degree in kinesiology and her experience competing at one of the highest levels for cycling.
”It’s been really cool applying all my kinesiology knowledge and also with my specific expertise of working with elite-level athletes [. . . ] and not just portraying myself on the athletes. Really getting to know them their mental and physical capacities and creating a training plan and environment that accommodates those people as individuals,” Meeuwisse noted.
One of the most important things Meeuwisse emphasized was to not be intimidated by the team. Meeuwisse tries to encourage a welcoming and fun team culture. The team welcomes all types of athletes with all types of experience. More experienced athletes can try out for the racing team, but those without as much experience or time are encouraged to join the training team, with the potential of moving on to the racing team later. The lack of snow also doesn’t slow the team down — when the weather is warm, they roller-ski on the road.
“As of now, we want anyone who has any ski experience to feel open to coming and reaching out to the team to be involved. We have both a racing team and a training team,” Meuwisse said.
Although the team is new, they show a great deal of promise. During the third Ontario cup, which took place Dec. 18 and 19, four athletes from the women’s team placed in the top ten during the ten-kilometre interval start skate. For a team that is comprised of skiers with all different types of experience, the fact that two thirds of their women’s team placed in the top ten shows that Mac’s newest squad has a great deal in-store.
When many professional athletes finish their careers, they struggle with how to use their skills and knowledge to make a living. For former National Hockey League forward T.J. Galiardi, his path after hockey involved co-founding and becoming the chief marketing officer of TDF Sports, a sports nutrition company that McMaster has recently partnered up with. The partnership will provide McMaster athletes with TDF Sports’ supplements. TDF Sports specializes in plant-based and vegan supplements, such as protein powder, creatine and multivitamins.
Galiardi played for the Colorado Avalanche, the Winnipeg Jets, the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks. When asked whether he had relied on plant-based supplements, Galiardi mentioned that he had started using them late in his career, due to the fact that plant-based supplements were not widely available available or were unappetizing.
“Later in my career, I did my best to stomach most of the plant-based proteins on the market but that was not easy as most made me want to gag! It took us almost 2 years to formulate a plant-based protein that we were happy with the flavour and texture — Plant-Strong Protein is a product we are very proud of,” Galiardi added, in reference to one of TDF Sports’ protein powders.
The benefits of plant-based diets are well-documented. They have been shown to help with weight loss, potentially prevent and help manage diabetes and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. However, not all individuals will experience the same effects on their health, which is why it is important to take all study conclusions with a grain of salt.
A common argument against relying on plant-based supplements or diets (for example, the vegan diet) is that they lack necessary nutrients compared to animal-based supplements or diets. These micronutrients include, but are not limited to, calcium, vitamin B12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. For example, a lower proportion of the iron in kidney beans, spinach, cashews and other plant-based foods will enter our circulation compared to the iron in meat. However, the American Diabetic Association reported that a plant-based diet can meet iron requirements.
On the other hand, vitamin B12, a key nutrient for our blood and cells, is difficult to obtain without consuming animal-based products. Therefore, additional supplementation would likely be necessary when on a vegan diet. Mistakenly, many people believe that protein, a key macronutrient, is also lacking in plant-based supplements diets. Galiardi had strong words towards those that believe this.
“Get on Google and look at all of the most up to date studies that prove this wrong,” Galiardi said.
Brown rice and beans, whole wheat bread, quinoa and other plant-based foods can provide adequate protein for an individual if properly incorporated into one’s diet.
A key unique element that Galiardi believes sets TDF Sports apart from other supplement companies is that they try to take an eco-friendly approach through a sustainable production system.
“It is our goal to reduce food waste in North America, and to achieve this we divert near end-of-life produce that would have normally been wasted and divert it to our facility to be converted into nutrient dense powders which we use in our supplements,” Galiardi added.
Galiardi is trying to lead by example by creating sustainable products. He hopes that this will encourage others to lead a more eco-friendly life.
Plant-based diets have been growing in popularity among athletes and the general public alike. In support of this, and as a result of the growing popularity, there is more research being done on how plant-based diets can sufficiently provide the nutrients that athletes need to perform at a high level. Whether this trend will continue remains to be seen, although Galiardi believes that it will.
“I believe that this trend will continue to grow as more athletes make the switch to plant-based diets . . . ” Galiardi added, “Earlier this month a movie was released called The Game Changers featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and other elite plant-based athletes that highlights the benefits of plant-based diets for athletes. It is movies and icons like these who will help to push the movement even further, and I expect to see even more high-level athletes make the switch.”
Galiardi extends the philosophy behind TDF Sports to his personal life. Having been vegan for five years, Galiardi sees it as a lifestyle change that has many benefits and is not too difficult for most people to pick up.
“I’ve been vegan for over five years now and the fact of the matter is, it’s not that hard if you put a little bit of thought and effort into your meals. There are restaurants all over the world with plant-based options and the category as a whole has grown significantly in the last three years and continues to do so at a rapid pace,” Galiardi said.
An area where TDF’s plant-based supplements shine is in filling the nutritional gaps for athletes and individuals. It can be difficult to keep a balanced diet with all the stressors of life, especially as a student-athlete.
“Many plant-based supplements contain a wide variety of healthy greens, fruits and/or other vegetables which provide an abundance of nutrients that many athletes lack in their diets. Although whole foods are where we should be getting the majority of our nutrients from, plant-based supplements will provide additional nutrients that an athlete may not be consuming enough of,” Galiardi mentioned.
Many former professional athletes can lose their footing after they retire. This could be due to a lack of direction or a resistance to adopting a certain lifestyle, but these obstacles did not stop Galiardi. The transition to business was rather smooth for him because he was excited to embark on a new path.
“By the time I retired, I was definitely ready to test my skills at something new so the transition was not that difficult. That being said, I was lucky enough to partner with Dr. Burke who has helped my transition from sport to business immensely,” Galiardi added.
Dr. Burke is the co-founder and chief executive officer of TDF Sports.
“Dr. Burke and I were blessed to have great first careers, his with a successful business and mine with hockey. We wanted to create a business that made a difference for the customers and the planet,” Galiardi said.
A partnership with TDF Sports could be beneficial for McMaster as well as our athletes. Last week, we took a look at supplements and how effective they are. It is important to make sure we remain educated on supplements and the effects they have on us and our bodies.
By Eamonn Valelly, Contributor
The McMaster women’s lacrosse team is a strong unit. After speaking to them for just ten minutes, their team chemistry was obvious. The way they carry themselves as a squad and the support they have for one another individually is reflective of how they perform on the field.
Outside of practice, the team organizes team-bonding activities. For example, this weekend they have scheduled a potluck dinner to discuss their home game on Sunday. The team’s plan is to set goals and get into the game mentality. Keep an eye out on Sunday because you might catch them jamming out for karaoke night at The Snooty Fox.
The team is very open with each other about what they need to work on and there is no noticeable ego amongst team members. Leadership is fluid, as everyone has the same goal – winning the championship this year.
Depending on the day, any player may step up and take the reins.
“We all really trust each other’s judgment,” said Zoe Collis, a civil engineering student from Orangeville, Ontario. “We all have different strengths in different areas.”
“We really just want to help each other grow,” Kaitlyn Moffat, a second year political science student chimed in.
The relationship the team members have with one other carries into the team's relationship with their coach, Brendan Sweeney. Sweeney is also the head coach of the Hamilton Bengals U19 lacrosse team and multiple athletes from the U19 team have chosen to go to McMaster, in part to continue working with coach Sweeney.
Sweeney’s role on the team is much greater than just head coach. Always taking the time to check in on his athletes, Sweeney is equally a wealth of knowledge in lacrosse as he is a support system.
“He really does get to know us as people, it’s more than just player-coach,” Samantha Porter, a second-year kinesiology student from Whitby, Ontario mentions. “Even on the bus he’ll come and sit down with you and ask you how you are. It’s more than just lacrosse, we can go to him about school or life. He’s super passionate about it too, he’s seen Mac at their worst and we’re really starting to build up now. He’s just invested so much time into it.”
Sweeney was a professor in labour studies at McMaster. He was an undergraduate student at McMaster between 1999 and 2003, where he captained the men’s lacrosse team. He progressed to become one of the assistant coaches on the men’s team after his playing career.
Sweeney recently left his role as director of the McMaster Automotive Research Centre to become the director of management at the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing at Western University. The bond Sweeney has with Mac is evidently strong enough to keep him here coaching the women’s lacrosse team.
“The women’s [lacrosse] team is barreling towards the championship,” said Fraser Caldwell, the sport information officer for McMaster.
The team agrees with Caldwell. They described themselves as tenacious and swangin’ towards a championship. Make sure to catch the women’s lacrosse team at the Ontario University championship from Oct. 18-20.
By Eamonn Valelly, Contributor
McMaster has become one of the few Canadian universities to partner with TDF Sports, a plant-based nutritional supplement company. McMaster’s director of athletics and recreation, Shawn Burt, explained that this partnership will expose our varsity athletes to supplements that will help them pursue excellence.
A closer look at research on supplements reveals that their beneficial effects may not be so clear. Professor Stuart Phillips is one of the head researchers in the kinesiology department at McMaster University. He is a professor in the department of kinesiology, the director of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (also known as PACE) and director of the McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Health research. Phillips is a colleague and friend of Darren Burke, CEO of TDF Sports. Consulting Phillips about this new-found partnership was essential because of his extensive knowledge in nutrition, athletic performance and the outstanding relationship between the two.
Phillips shared a 2017 meta-analysis paper, written by him and his research team, to use as a reference for our interview. A meta-analysis combines multiple, related research papers and their results. By evaluating studies who share similar objectives and follow similar criteria, a meta-analysis can provide a conclusion on a commonly studied effect. Phillips’ paper looked at randomized controlled trials that included participants using resistance exercise training (for example, lifting weights) and the effect of protein supplements on these participants.
Protein supplements were ingested by subjects through multiple forms: plant-based protein supplements, animal-based protein supplements and standard meals. The study’s results were consistent across all supplement forms. As long as each participant was ingesting 1.6 grams of protein for every kilogram of their body weight per day, they experienced an increase in fat-free mass (muscle hypertrophy) and an increase in strength determined by a subject’s one-rep-max (weight that subject could lift in one repetition).
Our bodies require 20 different amino acids. At the microscopic level, long chains of amino acids make up all proteins in all living things. The order of amino acids in their long chains determines a protein’s function and structure. Nine of the 20 amino acids are classified as essential because humans do not produce them organically. We need to ingest essential amino acids through our diet, whereas our body can produce non-essential amino acids on its own. It is important for protein supplements to contain all essential amino acids, otherwise there will be a very limited ability for our body to put on muscle mass.
“I have long been an advocate of consuming whole proteins, whether it’s from food or concentrated forms that you get in supplements,” stated Phillips.
With that being said, Phillips stressed that consumers need to understand that exercise provides the biggest stimulation of performance gains.
“A striking majority of the gains and benefits from exercise actually come from doing the action, lifting the weight, following the program,” Phillips said.
TDF Sports advertises a very popular product in the nutritional supplement world, branched chain amino acids. BCAAs are popular due to their alleged association with decreased recovery time after a workout, improved performance and diminished effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (burning and tightness in your muscles following an intense bout of exercise).
“Concepts like delayed onset muscle soreness are proxy markers for recovery, they are anything but the ethos for all recovery. It’s a little bit of a stretch in my mind to make these claims, especially considering how subjective the concept of recovery is . . . these are what we call soft-word claims that are present on packaging and marketing material. People need to understand that these claims are not held to a rigorous standard for nutritional supplements,” Phillips explained.
BCAAs comprise three of the nine essential amino acids. TDF Sports claims that their fermented BCAAs retain the benefits of BCAAs. Yet, a 2018 experimental research paper concluded that the effects of BCAAs are negligible if consumed with the baseline recommended daily protein intake of 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, per day.
Leucine is one of the three BCAAs in the popular TDF Sports product. Leucine has been proven to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, aiding with the development and repair of muscle proteins. However, for muscle-protein synthesis to occur, the body needs to have access to all of the essential amino acids. Supplementing with only these three amino acids may have no effect, according to a separate meta-analysis by Phillips and his team that has yet to be published.
“Isolated BCAAs are a very popular supplement, but in my opinion—and with a little bit of inside information—we have an ongoing meta-analysis on the effects of BCAAs and we found absolutely zero benefit of taking only those three [branched chain] amino acids, as long as you have sufficient protein in your diet,” Phillips said.
McMaster is renowned as one of the most research-intensive universities in Canada. For them to partner with a company selling products that still carry a degree of uncertainty raises some questions.
“I think the biggest advantage you get from a supplement standpoint is convenience. That is the most significant advantage TDF has over food,” Phillips said.
Where the McMaster-TDF Sports partnership seems to make the most sense is for the student-athletes here at McMaster. Student-athletes have extremely busy lives, balancing their games, practices, other forms of training and their studies is inarguably difficult. Finding the time to eat a full meal and take in all the nutrients they need to be getting to maintain performance at a high level must be tough and so these supplements offer varsity athletes at McMaster an opportunity to conveniently nourish themselves fully without having to think or worry about how.
With regards to the research of Phillips, it appears as though supplements, in general, may not be as effective as previously thought. Even though they can provide some of the necessary nutrients, so long as you are ingesting the amount of protein you need to be, it does not particularly matter whether it comes from protein powder or food you get at the grocery store.
By: Graham West
Ahmed Shamiya is one of McMaster’s newest head coaches, taking the reins of the wrestling team from Nick Cipriano. Mac’s long-time former coach was a staple of the wrestling program for the past 35 years and was recently inducted into the Wrestling Canada Hall of Fame in January.
Shamiya is one of McMaster’s most decorated wrestling alumni, having helped the team win the Ontario University Athletics Championships in 2015, with many more individual accolades in his decorated career. Still competing, Shamiya most recently placed silver in the 86-kilogram category at the Canadian Senior National Championship in March.
— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) January 16, 2017
Shamiya knows the inner workings of the program and will apply this knowledge to how he runs things, and it will allow him to make the necessary changes to get to the next step.
“I know a lot of the things our program did really well,” Shamiya said “We’re not here just for performance but we’re here to build great people, great student-athletes and a great experience. That’s the ultimate goal. I want to continue that legacy and then just minor tweaks here and there that I think will improve the program or help the student-athletes.”
Cipriano left big shoes to fill after being named the national Coach of the Year four times, and won Mac multiple national championships, but Shamiya’s experience in Mac’s wrestling program means he shouldn’t have any issues taking over.
“It’s a little overwhelming, they’re definitely big shoes to fill, the man is a gentleman and a scholar, and he's done a lot for the program and the school in general,” Shamiya said. “The fact that I’m following him are definitely big shoes to fill, but the fact that he trusts me with the program after all that he's done gives me a lot of confidence.”
Coaching wasn’t always something on Shamiya’s mind, but is something he naturally has the capabilities to excel at because he’s always been a strong leader who was helpful to his teammates. His knowledge of the challenges student-athletes can face is going to be especially beneficial for the wrestling team going forward.
“I’ve always just had a knack for wanting to help others on the team, and I’ve always been passionate about leadership,” Shamiya said. “To be honest, I didn’t really pursue it, the opportunity just sort of fell into place. I feel like it was right place right time…You know what they say, luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
Even though he is young, Shamiya has been mentored by Cipriano for years, transitioning from one of his athletes to his assistant coach. Although being recognized for his capabilities and earning the head coaching job has presented itself with its challenges, Shamiya is facing all of them head-on.
“It’s such a specific job with such a specific niche that having a mentor is great and Nick has been the best mentor ever, he’s helped me a lot,” Shamiya said. “It’s still a lot to adjust to all at once, although I’ve been enjoying it and embracing it, I think the fact that it all happened kind of overnight and not a slow transition into it was a good challenge.”
Passion and love for what he is doing is not something that Shamiya is short on. His love for wrestling is definitely something that will help the Marauders reach their potential during his tenure as head coach.
“It doesn’t feel like work at all, I’m spending my time doing exactly what I love, helping people that are in a great position in their lives where they’re student-athletes,” said Shamiya. “They have the opportunity to build themselves into something really good over the next few years. It doesn’t feel like work. I’m really enjoying this and it’s the job of my dreams basically.”
Shamiya may be young, but he will no doubt carry on the tremendous legacy that has preceded McMaster’s wrestling team as he himself was on many winning teams. His capabilities as a leader and knowledge of not only the program, but how wrestling itself works, will certainly lead the team on a path to gold next year.
By: Adriana Skaljin
The name Harry Potter is one familiar to most, given its prevalence in pop culture. The Harry Potter franchise’s beloved sport, Quidditch, has made its way into the Muggle (non-magical) world, having become a semi-professional sport.
On March 23 and 24, Quidditch Canada held their 2019 National Championship at Ron Joyce Stadium and Alumni Field. Fifteen teams from across Canada, coming from Ontario, Montreal, Edmonton and British Columbia, participated in the two-day tournament, bringing the sport to life.
“This is the second time that we’ve held the Nationals in Hamilton,” said Bethan Morgan, events manager for Quidditch Canada. “Last year, we held it at Tim Hortons Field. It is exciting to be back in Hamilton for a second year in a row.”
Morgan has been playing the sport for eight years, and has loved watching the sport grow. She began getting involved with Quidditch due to her love for the fandom and the impact that it had on her life.
“It makes me really happy to see [Quidditch] turn into a competitive sport… [one that] has become international,” explained Morgan. “It has grown a lot in Canada and it is cool seeing people come from all over to play.”
It is amazing to see the ways in which a community of Harry Potter fanatics has turned into a community of athletes. The sport encourages players from all backgrounds and demographics to participate, creating a diverse and welcoming environment.
“There are people that love Harry Potter and then people who have never even watched the movies,” said Morgan. “People from all different backgrounds and genders are welcome. I love how gender-inclusive the sport is, in comparison to others.”
This combination of community and a genuine love for the series and its fictional world is what drives the existence of Quidditch competitions, such as the one just held at McMaster.
“It is a very supporting and welcoming community of people and I think that is what motivated me to stay the sport, and become a better athlete,” said Morgan.
The game is made up of several positions: chasers, who drive the ball and get them through the hoops, beaters who combine tackling with strategy, and seekers. Each position appeals to different strengths, allowing people to excel and specialize in different areas of the sport.
“This is a sport that anyone can play,” said Morgan. “Our athletes train as though it is a professional sport, and I think that a lot of people are surprised when we tackle because it is a very physical game. We are trying to show that we aren’t just a book, we are a real sport with real rules and intense athletes.”
At the 2019 National Championship, the Ottawa Otters and the University of Guelph faced off in the final match. The Otters won the tournament, with a final score of 250^ to 200*. The Vancouver Storm Crows placed third, beating Valhalla Quidditch, a team from Toronto, in the bronze medal match, with a score of 100* to 50.
— Quidditch Canada (@QuidditchCanada) March 25, 2019
The Canadian National Championship is a prime example of the ways in which the combination of passion, community and athleticism can bring magic out from the pages of books and into the lives of fans and athletes.
Quidditch is definitely a sport to watch and one that deserves recognition in the world of international sports. This sport is definitely a ‘keeper’.