On Jan. 20, the McMaster men’s volleyball team narrowly avoided a division-shaking upset at the hands of the bottom-of-the-division Brock University Badgers. After managing to survive the close five-set match, the Marauders found themselves ranked fifth in the country, holding onto their spot atop Ontario University Athletics West division.
A large reason why the Marauders were able to survive the Badgers was thanks to right side Matt Passalent, who recently returned from a torn labrum that had kept him out since preseason. Passalent’s six aces, 18 kills and team-high 25 points helped the Mac men stay undefeated in the new year.
“It's so good to be back with the guys,” Passalent said. “When you're not doing something for a really long time it makes you really miss it and you can almost take it for granted when you have really tough weeks. It really made me hungry to get back.”
Passalent first returned to action just in time to help the Marauders in two key wins over top-10 teams. The 2018 OUA all-star combined for an impressive 25 kills and 31 points in his debut over the Jan. 12-13 weekend in Burridge Gym. There was a reason why Passalent was named an all-star last year, and his presence was missed in the Marauders’ rotation.
“Just working hard for three years, every day practicing, going to lift,” said Passalent on his all-star campaign. “It's definitely a grind and it's not an easy thing to do at all. I would also say just having my teammates there, it makes it a lot easier to go to a late practice or workout when you have your best friends with you.”
“I'd say we just have a really good bond and culture on our team and the guys always get along and we're all brothers,” Passalent added. “I would say that's a big reason of just why it's so fun to play for this program.”
Passalent has deep ties to McMaster’s volleyball program, going back to his childhood. He was introduced to volleyball through his family, who all played the sport, and he began to play in a Hamilton house league around eight years old.
Being in the Hamilton community, it was a natural progression to get involved with McMaster volleyball as Passalent began to make a name for himself, catching the eye of Mac head coach Dave Preston at a young age.
“Mac's always had a really good program for the last like 12 years,” said Passalent. “I started going to their summer camps… for like six or seven summers straight, and then I'd kind of developed a bond with Dave. Then I didn't really have any doubt that I was going to go to Mac. I mean, it's in my hometown, both my parents went here, so it was definitely the right choice for me.”
Now in his fourth year with the team, Passalent noted how much his role has changed since first donning the maroon and grey.
“Being a fourth-year, I'm kind of more of a leader now,” Passalent said. “I'm a guy I think the younger guys look up to and I like to take some of them under my wing. And obviously, now that I'm a fourth-year, I'm becoming more depended on game-wise, like more load, more volume. So that's definitely changed over the four years of what my role is on the team.”
— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) January 22, 2019
Rounding the corner into the final sprint of the regular season, the Marauders have their sights set on returning to the U Sports Championships once again, which will be held at Laval University this season. After hosting the tournament last year and finishing with a bronze medal, the Marauders know it won’t be an easy task to repeat as OUA Champions.
But before the team can even think about making a trip to Quebec City in March, they still have six regular season games to play. The remaining games begin with two tough weekends ahead, with a trip to a hostile Waterloo University coming on Feb. 2. The following weekend, the Marauders will be hosting back-to-back games against Nipissing University and York University, where Passalent will surely play an integral role in the team continuing their winning streak.
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By: Emily Current
If you’ve been to the Pulse then you might have noticed one way in which it differs from other gyms: nobody wears a tank top when they work out. This is because The Pulse has a “no tank top” policy in place.
When I first started going to The Pulse I felt that the policy was a terrible one with no legitimate basis. I thought that if people were bothered by bare shoulders, they simply needed to get over their issue. However, upon investigation, I’ve changed my mind.
The rule was actually implemented because of a study found by a McMaster kinesiology professor, which has shown that there are people who are more comfortable going to the gym if everyone is dressed similarly. The Pulse banned tank tops in an attempt to create a more inviting environment for people who might otherwise be uninclined to go.
This ban helps to combat the lack of bodily diversity in the gym. The gym should be a welcoming place where people of all physiques and fitness levels feel comfortable, a place that emphasizes fitness for the sake of health and well-being, rather than for an aesthetic aspect. If having people dress uniformly can make other people feel more comfortable, then that makes this policy valuable. In fact, the aim is so worthwhile that I believe other gyms — especially those at other universities or colleges — should consider implementing similar dress codes. If you can take a small step towards making people feel welcomed, then why wouldn’t you?
Although I still feel a little selfish frustration that I cannot wear some of my favourite exercise shirts when working out, overall I am now in favour of the rule. I think that it is important for the university to be as inclusive as possible and everyone should be willing to make the necessary small amount of personal sacrifice to help.
While I agree with the policy, I believe The Pulse needs to be much clearer about the rationale behind it. Without knowing the reason for the rule, it would be easy to assume that it is based on misguided ideas, such as the belief that people, especially women, shouldn’t wear revealing clothing when working out lest they distract others. Rather than fostering a welcoming community, this could leave people feeling uncomfortable about or even ashamed of their own choice of clothing.
There is no information about the “no tank top” rule posted at The Pulse, nor is there anything on their website, and this is definitely a problem. Not only is the lack of clarity over why this dress code is imposed frustrating, but it is also troublesome that there are misinformed rumors about the rule going around. Rather than having irritatingly limited information available about their rule against exposed shoulders, The Pulse should be promoting the fact that they seek to create an inviting environment.
The Pulse is making an admirable effort towards making people feel welcome, but there needs to be more clarity about why the policy is in place. The rule itself is a step in the right direction and other gyms should definitely consider adopting it.