February 16th, 2015

New Year New You?

There’s something about January 1st of every year that makes me feel invincible. It’s as if unwrapping a brand new calendar convinces me that every old habit is gone, or that the possibilities for being a self-actualized human have never been more in my favor. And this year, this year, I’ll do everything I want to do.

Let’s get real, this isn’t going to happen.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think I’m a powerful human being and I can accomplish a lot if I’m willing to work for it, but the idea that I’m intrinsically different on January 1st, so much more capable than on December 31st, is a lie I exploit yearly. However untrue, it’s the type of lie I live with to make my life a little happier. Kind of like telling myself I could be Shakira’s background dancer if only given the chance, or that those fuzzy socks I love are not only comfortable but borderline sexy. Little lies are okay. But that little lie turns into a big problem when we transition from hopeful to obsessed.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my friends and fitness class participants convince themselves that this year, finally, they will look how they want to look. But what seems like a harmless goal so easily becomes unhealthy as people immerse themselves in a popular culture whose magazines, beauty products, and fitness regimens highlight your flaws and promise the impossible–perfection. The hottest thighs, biceps, abs, and butt are within reach: “New Year, New You”! While there are many merits to self improvement, there’s a difference between attainable, sustainable goals and getting hooked on impossible regiments that are supposed to change both your appearance and your confidence.

Put simply, my opinion is this: There is not a single physical exercise that will make you self-confident and happy. These are not external qualities, but have everything to do with mental health, self-acceptance, and self-love. From my personal experience as a human, I’m convinced your body can only be as healthy as your mind, and working toward a holistic health approach is crucial in maintaining the stamina necessary to making changes for a more physically healthy life.

Time and time again, research shows that weight loss and muscle toning that comes as a result of looks-based motivation cannot work in the long-term. How many times have we seen the super motivated friend who works out daily, loves it, wants that “bikini bod,” then loses motivation and never returns to the gym? How many times has that been you? This method cannot last, and instead leads to thoughts of inadequacy and disappointment.

Instead, this year, make your goals about YOU. Not who you want to look like, but the type of person you want to be. Hopefully, that’s a happier, healthier, more taken-care of version of yourself. Decide to find a workout you love, think about how great it’d be to climb the Morton stairs without losing your breath (a seemingly impossible feat). Resolve to be less stressed and use yoga as an outlet. Enjoy nature by running outside or feel like a beast during BodyCombat. Exercise because you’re strong, because you’re committed, because your body feels empowered when you use it. Most importantly, make fitness a goal because being yourself is something worth celebrating.

This year, start the change from within.


Joanna Hernandez

November 4th, 2014

Adventures of a Sport Club

It’s seven in the morning and I’ve already driven a twelve passenger van through the streets of D.C. while wearing a ballgown and at least a quarter cup of hair gel. Welcome to collegiate ballroom dance, the only sport club at William and Mary that regularly practices in high heels and glitter. For us, fall competition weekend means driving up to the University of Maryland for two straight days of dancing, music, and desperately trying to avoid stepping on our partners’ feet. We may not look as rugged as soccer or rugby, but we’re certainly as intense.

At the same time we’re dancing the tango, over ten other William and Mary sport clubs are scattered across the east coast preparing for their own games and competitions. Having been both a sport club supervisor and a sport club officer, I’ve gotten a unique perspective into just how much work goes into ensuring all these clubs get where they need to go. When we have as many as eighteen clubs leaving campus each week, it takes a huge cooperative effort between campus recreation and the clubs themselves to get everyone moving.

Before the trip, sport club officers have gathered lists of participants, organized vehicles and lodging, planned budgets, and submitted registration paperwork, among a multitude of other things. All this paperwork is then reviewed by the sport club office. Waivers and driver authorizations are checked, vans are assigned, emails are sent, rosters and budgets are verified. Club members familiarize themselves with emergency protocols and re-stock first aid kits, preparing everyone for a safe and organized trip. It’s a lot of work – but it’s definitely worth it! For ballroom, competition weekend is a great club bonding experience, not to mention giving us the chance to meet dancers from other schools. At our competition this past weekend, I was really pleased to see so many of our newcomers reaching out to talk to people at other schools.

The competition this past weekend was one of our best yet, with more of our members getting ribbons than in any year I can remember. This will also be our biggest competition of the year, and club members more than rose to meet the challenge. We had one of our newcomer –level partnerships get third place (out of more than 60!) dancing cha-cha, three of our bronze partnerships got ribbons in their dances, our gold-level partnership got third place for all their rhythm style dances, and all of our latin style dancers progressed at least to semi-finals. Plus, everyone in the club got at least one callback to progress towards finals, which is awesome. More importantly, newcomers and returners alike had a great time dancing the weekend away. And there was not a single costume malfunction.

If you haven’t tried out a sport club here at W&M, I highly recommend you do so. We literally have a club for everybody, whether lacrosse or table tennis or ballroom dance is more your style. And if you do end up traveling with your club, be sure to thank your sport club officers and fill out any paperwork they need – they’ve put a lot of work into making your trip possible!

Angelina Schiano

October 27th, 2014

The World of Intramurals

I clearly remember my basketball senior night in high school and I remember wondering what I would do with my life now that basketball was over. I started playing basketball when I was in 4th grade and by the time I was in middle school, I was playing year round. My routine was wake up, go to school, play. Rinse and repeat.
I wasn’t good enough to play college ball but I couldn’t imagine dropping something that was such a big part of my life. At the same time, I was so focused on trying to find a group of friends, a place on this campus of 5,000 students where I could belong.
Enter the magical world of intramural sports. We brag about being a program for everyone and something I’ve learned from both participating and working for this program is that this statement is true. For the past two (almost three…wow) years, I’ve played for BCM, one of the Christian organizations on campus. We are definitely not one of the best teams, but we definitely have the best spirit and the most fun. For me and for this organization, intramural sports is the opportunity to pull in students and rally together for a fun cause: the coveted IM shirt. For an hour, just once a week, we get to forget about that job interview, that 4,000 word essay, or our two back-to-back midterms, and attempt to put balls in baskets and over nets. One day us BCMers will finally win that shirt, but until then we hold on to the smaller, more memorable moments: the buzzer beater 3pt I shot my freshman year, our associate pastor diving on the volleyball court for balls, and our accidental hug tackles from our lack of coordination.
In my final thoughts, I have to say I think I have the best job on campus. I get paid to watch sports. Granted, there’s more to what I do than just that, but in the end (on a good night with good officiating and minimal injuries), I not only get to watch some pretty fun(ny) games but know that I am helping to create memories like the ones I described above. I work on a staff with people who love what they do at a school with people who love to be here. In the magical world of intramural sports, everyone is welcome and everyone fits in.

Rebecca Koch

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