The Feeling of the Mat

The Feeling of the Mat

All the things you think, hear and feel in those short moments before the match.

Here's your chance. You've been training all week for about 30 minutes of match time today. Five matches, about six minutes each give or take. Those six minutes though are the only six minutes you will care about. Even long after you've stopped, the injury this match might give you will haunt your dreams for years to come. Right now, the 6 minutes seem to be the longest six minutes you will ever experience, but in the future, they were too short. They don't last long enough.

Right now, you're remembering moves, shadowing either in real life or in your mind. You're keeping warm by jumping and moving so your muscles stay loose. Your singlet's on and your head gear is either by your side or already on your head. You've got your opponent locked in a Russian armbar to a fireman's carry to a bow and arrow cradle, pin. Start over. Duck under to a double leg, head and arm, pin. The moves you practiced, the words your coach thought you weren't listening to; they ring in your head. For others it would be sensory overload with the crowd cheering, people moving, six other matches going on. For you, this is Saturday, tournament day.

The whistle blows signaling that the match before you has just ended. You adjust what you need to as you jog up to the table, your name the only thing other than wrestling in your mind as you tell the score keepers that you're in fact the person that should be wrestling. After that, you are only a wrestler.

As you step onto that 2-4 inch thick piece of foam that had saved you countless times from breaking your head on the wooden basketball court below. As it gives under your shoes, you feel the security that the mat instills in your heart. The mat is your home, and your opponent is an intruder.

The referee stands in the center with red and green arm bands on and you head to your respective line. That's when you see your opponent and know they're thinking the same things you are. Shaking their hands, you know their eyes are on you. You hope they realize they're about to lose.

3 periods.

2 minutes each.

No time outs expect if you bleed.

Everyone's watching, waiting, expecting, but that stopped bothering you a long time ago. Now, all you focus on is creating that opening. Sizing him up to what move will work, how tall he is, if he seems to favor the left or right, if you can get lower than him. It's never as easy as it sounds, but you know you can do it.

The ref places his hand in between you both, the whistle poised in his mouth, backed at a safe distance to leave you both space when it starts. Even though there's so much noise, all you hear is the patient silence that comes before the match.





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10 Struggles That Make Any Skier's Day Go Downhill Fast

Whether it be the harsh cold or long lines to get on the lift, every skier complains a little.

Ah, you can only hope the first snowfall is in late November so you can kick-start your ski season. You pray the season extends until March so you can get in as much Spring skiing in as possible. At the start of each season, every skier pulls all their gear out of storage and checks to ensure all their equipment is still in good condition. The sheer sight of seeing the equipment gets any skier hyped for the season.

The time frame for each ski season seems to shrink every year as schedules get busier and it is challenging to find a weekend to make the trip. Similar to anything in life, all good things come with a few downsides. Whether it be the harsh cold or long lines to get on the lift, every skier complains a little.

However, dedicated skiers will do anything for FRESH POWDER!!!!

1. Walking in ski boots.

It is common knowledge that snowboarding boots are so much more comfortable than ski boots. Skiers get the short end of the stick for this one. Walking in ski boots all day puts your body in a permanent forward tilt and makes it hard for one to complete simple tasks such as walking up the stairs. Not to mention, physically putting on ski boots is an exercise within itself.

Once you buckle the last buckle on your ski boots, you sign a contract of discomfort. You have signed up for a day of your shins being strangled! But, the best part is taking your ski boots off at the end of the day. You can practically hear your feet saying, "THANK YOU!"

2. The price of tickets and equipment

Skiing is often referred to as an expensive sport. First, you have to pay for the equipment. The expensive prices of skis, ski boots, ski socks, snow pants, a winter jacket, goggles, helmet and neck warmer add up to a hefty price. I often joke that my ski outfit is the most expensive outfit I will ever wear.

Next, you must pay for tickets. At bigger mountains, a day pass can range between $80-$200 depending on the day. Then, you get sucked into everything the ski resort has to offer. You may get carried away by the Waffle Cabin or mountain coaster.

Lastly, lunch is the best part of the day. When your stomach is rumbling on the mountain, it is such a rewarding break to rest in the lodge. Ski resorts take advantage of the fact that the lodge is the only food place in a close proximity. Therefore, they jack up the prices of food. Before you know it, a soda, slice of pizza and bag of chips is $20.

3. When the view is so beautiful that you get distracted and fall on your face.

If you're in a good location like Vermont or Colorado, the views are absolutely breathtaking. Whether you are skiing down a trail or on top of the mountain, the beauty can be distracting. This positive distraction may lead skiers to fall flat on their face in embarrassment. Pro tip: do not try to take pictures/selfies while skiing.

4. Encountering a "Jerry of the day"

The worst type of skier... the Jerry. They are the skiers who wear flashy outfits as they try to bring attention to their weak tricks. Jerry's are skiers who think they are hot sh*t, but sadly, their confidence is all in their head. Normally, they wipe out after attempting a stunt and looking stupid on the mountain.

5. Goggle gap

The space between your goggles and helmet/hat is SACRED! That small sliver is skin should be a necessity to cover. That half inch of skin exposed on your face is called the "goggle gap" and should be avoided AT ALL COSTS! It can be easily burnt by wind or bitten by frost. Let's let the 2019 season be the end of goggle gap. Make sure your helmet and goggles fit together well!

6. Long lift lines

The worst sight on your first run of the day is a long line at the lifts. Waiting in lines all day takes the enjoyment out of skiing. Long lines cut into precious POWDER TIME! That is why it is important to try to stay away from the bottom of the mountain all day. I usually take the main lift up to the top of the mountain once and just use smaller lifts at the top of the mountain for the rest of the day.

7. Wind

This GIF accurately describes every skier's face as they glide down the mountain and get pelted with the wind. Not only is wind painful enough itself, but, it often throws around snow and ice in your face. At the top of any mountain, the wind is usually howling and makes the temperature feel a lot colder than it actually is.

8. Moguls

Maybe this one is just me. Whenever I see moguls, I STAY AWAY. I would much rather fly down a nice smooth trail than get bumped around by big humps in the snow. Once you get stuck in moguls, you get tossed around until you are finally free on an open trail.

9. Getting cut off

Getting "cut off" by other skiers is the worst feeling because you do not have time to yell at them. Similar to road rage, you will most likely not encounter the person again so you keep all the anger inside of you and try to move along with your day. Trying to avoid people while skiing proves to be a hassle when people come zipping from behind you. Peripheral vision goggles need to be an invention ASAP.

10. The flat stretch in a trail

Your flying down a nice steep trail and then all of the sudden it curves to the left and the trail becomes completely flat! You try a variety of different techniques to overcome this flat spot in the trail. You may rely on your poles to propel you forward, do that awkward shimmy thing or try to actually walk in the skis. Whatever technique you use, there is no easy way to overcome an annoying flat part.

Cover Image Credit: Alexa Caruso

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This Is What Going To A Basketball School Is REALLY Like

How many times can you say "Boiler Up"?

It's the most wonderful time of the year. March Madness. It's time to complete brackets, pick the upsets, and cheer for your school. For me, that is Purdue University. This year's tournament is my first as a college student at Purdue. As a student at a "basketball school", here are a few things that set Purdue apart from other schools.

When you see the basketball team on campus, you might freak out a little bit.

Whether this is seeing them in a class or walking out of a building, you may get caught off guard. Many people snapchat players at local restaurants including Five Guys, Subway, and Chipotle.

Everyone wants tickets.

Purdue basketball games are very popular, this past season having every game sold out. The Paint Crew (Purdue's student section) is sold out within a few weeks and is always packed every game.

If you want good seats, get there early.

It isn't a surprise if both sides of the Paint Crew are full 45 minutes before tip off, especially with a good match up game. People love their Purdue basketball and will wait for hours to get good seats and places in Mackey!

Homework and Tests can wait.

Have homework due at midnight? You still go to the game. Have a test at 7:30am tomorrow? You still go to the game. Seeing a Purdue win counts as a study break right?

The Boilermaker Special is always running.

The Boilermaker Special (Purdue's mascot train) runs around campus before and after games, even when the Boilers are away. More times than not, if the train is running, there was probably a game that night.

You have PBSD (Post Basketball Season Depression)

After the last game in Mackey for the year wraps up, students already can't wait for November to return. But until then, let's root for our Boilers in March!


Cover Image Credit: Krista Bauer

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