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.





Cover Image Credit: Norwich University Wrestling page

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7 Lies From F*ckboys That We've All Fallen For At Least Once

They might've had you goin' for a hot second, but you know better now.

There’s no use in even frontin’; we’ve all been there. You know he’s a f*ckboy from the beginning, but you’re interested in pursuing him anyway. Ain't no thang; I fully support you.

You tell yourself you won’t fall for his games or lies because you’ve been through it all so many times before. Yet, time and time again, you find yourself slippin’ for a hot second, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt until he inevitably disappoints you. Here are the top seven lies you’ve heard from f*ckboys that get you heated every time.

1. You’re the only girl I’m talking to/sleeping with

HAHAHA. OK, first, I don't actually care what (or who) you're doing in your spare time because you're definitely not the only guy I'm seeing either. I'm just asking so I know you're clean, OK? I don't need more stress in my life.

2. I know how to treat girls right

Isn't it super ironic how the WORST f*ckboys are the ones to toss this line?

3. I’ll text you

This statement is so unbelievable that on the off chance that they do actually text you, you basically fall out of your chair in shock.

4. I’m gonna give it to you good

I cry/cringe/die of laughter every time I hear this one because it's always the mediocre ones that throw this line. None of my most memorable hookups have ever said this because their actions clearly speak for them. Mediocre boys, TAKE NOTE.

5. Damn, I wanted to see you though

Well, you were supposed to, but then you clearly had other plans in mind. So the desire wasn’t all that intense, obviously.

6. Yeah, she and I broke up

CLASSIC LIE. CLASSIC. Sure, I believed it the first couple of times, but don’t even try that sh*t with me after I see she’s still blowin’ up your line.

7. *No response for hours after making plans* Damn, sorry I fell asleep

Honestly, how many times are you gonna throw that line when you’re literally viewable on Snap Map. BOY, I see you at someone else’s house. Stop frontin’, there’s no point.

Again, don't ask me why we put up with this sh*t because the mystery remains. I guess in our own sick, twisted ways, we crave the dramatics and thrills that come from their f*ckery. Whatever the reason, though, at least we've got some ~fun~ stories to tell.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube | I'm Shmacked

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Did The NFL Just Make Kneeling A Bigger Crime Than Domestic Violence?

I'm pretty sure hitting your wife is more deplorable than taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Since the election of President Trump, NFL players have been the face of controversy. With players refusing to stand for the National Anthem, instead choosing to kneel as an act of protest, many people were not afraid to speak out against them.

Recently, the NFL announced that players present on the field during the singing of the National Anthem would be required to stand lest their team be willing to pay a fine.

Now you can have your opinion on whether or not that's just or whether or not that is the NFL politically leaning one way or there other. Frankly, that's not my issue here.

My problem is that players who are convicted of domestic abuse are only suspended for six games upon their first offense.

It seems to me that the NFL found the need to prioritize what qualifies as freedom of speech over the quality of human life.

The NFL's policy is a slap in the face to all of the wives, girlfriends, significant others, one night stands, and all other women who have fallen victim to domestic abuse by the professional athletes who were their partners. It's bad enough that the trauma they faced was only worth a six-game suspension. Now there's an actual price tag on kneeling, while these women continue to suffer in silence.

I have my opinions on the NFL's decision to start doling out this fine. But that's not what this article is about. This article is about giving a voice to victims of abuse. This article is about pointing out that our political quarrels are being put before conversations about the safety of actual human beings.

No one is being physically harmed when an athlete chooses to kneel.

You can call them disrespectful. You can call them privileged. But those men are not beating their wives and girlfriends.

The men on the field who abused those they supposedly love are standing tall while the Anthem is sung, and that's all people see. They don't see the man who took away a woman's innocence, pride, and drive.

People choose to see an act of political defiance as more offensive than a man hitting his wife.

The NFL will probably never see these words.

But someone will. And someone probably have something to say about how these are "two completely different arguments" and that we "shouldn't compare them."

Someone else will probably say something about how there are men and women fighting overseas for our freedom, and that these teams should be fined because their players are disrespecting the honor of those men and women.

I think those men and women are probably more disgusted by the fact that we continue to glorify men who intentionally hurt their significant others, just because they're good at throwing a ball and running up and down the field.

While the Constitution gives each and every one of us the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, religion, press, peaceable assembly, and petitioning the government, nowhere does it give us the right to physically harm another person. I think it's time the NFL took note of that.

There should be no policy of a "first offense" when it comes to domestic violence. I won't support an organization that fines its members for kneeling, but doesn't do more than bench them when they abuse another human being.

Ray Rice received a two-game suspension in 2014 for hitting his fiance. Colin Kaepernick knelt and then used his platform to become an advocate.

But Kaepernick's the villain here, right?

Really think about it before you answer that question. And maybe then take a page out of Kaepernick's book and use whatever platform you have to fight for the women who lost everything because powerful men beat the fight out of them.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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