The year of you

Five steps to making a positive outlook permanent

The year of you

What if I told you that you had the power to make 2019 the year of you? Ultimately, your outlook on 2019 can only shift when your mindset does. A properly fuelled body and positive mindset will work wonders for an overall state of healthy well being and mental health.

To improve your mood, mindset, and achieve peak productivity, here are five things you should turn into habits this semester.

A positive outlook starts with you.

1. Be positive

Research shows that the way in which we think about ourselves can have a powerful effect on the way we feel. According to Psychology Today, “when we perceive our self and our life negatively, we can end up viewing experiences in a way that confirms that notion.” Be patient with yourself and write down realistic steps to achieving personal goals.

2. Exercise

Go out and be active! Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes a day to physical activity and your mind and body will feel refreshed. While working out, our bodies release stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins, making exercise a powerful way to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

3. Go to bed on time

Research has shown that not getting enough sleep has a negative impact on mood. Caffeine is just a temporary fix for not dozing off in class, and I’m sure a lot of us can relate. Maintaining a pattern of sleep and a technology-free hour before bed can make a huge difference.

4. Take a break

While the life of a student is an extremely hectic one, it’s important to take a few moments to breathe and relax. Utilize study breaks and listen to the needs of your body and mind. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take the necessary time to breathe.

Taking a step away from whatever is stressing you out will result in you coming back to the issue more clearheaded.

5. Be social. Laugh!

People function better when they have strong social ties with friends and family. Positivity is contagious when you surround yourself with the right people. Create lifelong memories and be sure to laugh as often as possible, as laughter can reduce stress and increase your ability to learn.

Should teams run up the score in games?

Why different sports have contradicting views on good sportsmanship

Should teams run up the score in games?

You’re sprinting down the pitch, chasing a pesky striker, and you’re nearly out of breath. The offensive player, shirt darkened by sweat, has his back to you as he makes his move toward the goal. There are only a few minutes left. You inhale, reach for the ball, miss, and the striker dashes the other way. He winds up, kicks, and boots it home: another goal.

You know your team is down, but you’ve lost count at this point. Then, the whistle’s blown. The game’s over. Very reluctantly, as if it’s the sun itself, you peer at the scoreboard, 30–0. No, now it’s 31–0. Great.

This was the disturbing reality for the 20 members of Team American Samoa in 2001. After losing 19 of their 20 players due to visa complications, the national team was forced to field a less-than-optimal squad against Australia.

Comprised of second-string junior-high students and call-ups who had never played a full 90-minute match, the team was annihilated, and left the sporting world asking, should the Aussies have run up the score so much?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it depends on the stakes of the game and the sport being played.

‘Goals-for,’ the stat that shows how many goals a team notches over the course of a season, is one of the battle cries for those who believe running up the score is the logical thing to do.

After Team Canada’s World Junior hockey team destroyed Denmark 14–0 last month, some commentators questioned the politeness of the massacre; shouldn’t Canada show some mercy to the poor Danes?

But the key tiebreaking statistic in that tournament was goals-for, and it was the World Juniors, after all. 

In the NHL, where Hockey Night in Canada icon Don Cherry’s word is as good as God’s, coaches do not run up the score. Cherry is a proponent of ‘the code,’ an oral tradition passed through the ages that acts as hockey’s rules of engagement.

These commandments dictate that players don’t celebrate too hard, don’t question the coach, and don’t tint their visors, and that teams definitely do not run up the score.

The league even has rules reflecting this code. A team’s goals-for is the third, rarely-considered step in the season-end tiebreak process. The first two tiebreak disputers, overtime and regulation wins, as well as the outcomes of the season series between the two teams, usually solve the problem of equal points.

But soccer is a different demon. This sort of code doesn’t exist in soccer.

Basketball has a different culture too. There are some who believe that the gentlemanly thing to do is to play defensive, to lay off on the fast break, to stop heaving up three-pointers. But this was clearly not the attitude of one infamous basketball coach, who led his high school squad to a 100–0 victory over a traumatized opponent. The odd thing is, it wasn’t even a playoff game. It was the middle of the season. The coach was subsequently fired by the administration.

But back to the Aussies. They were justified in running up the score. They wanted to win, they needed to get goals, and they used American Samoa’s misfortune to their advantage. This fits soccer’s rules of engagement and its culture. But it would never fly in an NHL game.

No approach is better or worse. Sometimes, running up the score is excusable. But sometimes, easing off the throttle is advisable. Sport is all about context, and the score is no exception.

Blues basketball earn sweep over Nipissing Lakers

Both men’s and women’s teams earned a victory on Friday night

Blues basketball earn sweep over Nipissing Lakers

Women’s

The Varsity Blues women’s basketball team came up big on Friday night, securing their fourth win at home in a 70–48 victory over the Nipissing Lakers. As a team who have had more than their fair share of injuries, the Blues squad was on full display as they ended their four-game losing streak with a well-earned victory.

Coach Michèle Bélanger said that the injuries the Blues have sustained “changed our team from being a contending team in the fall to scrambling for the playoffs.”

The Blues started the game on the right foot, going up 7–0 and setting the tempo for the rest of the game. A key factor was Mahal De La Durantaye, who fearlessly hustled for rebounds on both ends of the court. She grabbed three steals in the first quarter alone, most of them translating to points on the offensive end.

Ariana Sider opened up the second quarter with a beautiful spin-move, pulling up on a lost defender and beating the shot clock. Later on, Sider stole the ball and fed it to teammate Nada Radonjic for the layup. Radonjic responded by stealing the ball on the following possession and giving it back to Sider for a three-pointer. Toronto’s defense gave up just two points in the first six minutes of the quarter and by halftime they were up 11.

In the third quarter, the Blues’ seamless ball movement resulted in lots of open looks as the whole team got involved. Radonjic caught fire as she proved she could do everything from low post moves to threes. Her many heavily contested jumpers would help make up her 25 points on the night. Radonjic finished with a double-double and shot 11 of 22 from the field.

The Blues only added to their lead in the fourth and won by a comfortable 22 points. Jessica Muha, who came off the bench in her first game back from injury, dropped 15 points in 15 minutes. De La Durantaye led the team in rebounds with 12 and finished with four steals. Sider also picked up four steals, and despite running most of the plays, she finished with zero turnovers.

When asked what this win meant going forward, Bélanger said, “It’s important for us because we need to get some girls back in that were injured and get them back in the flow.”

From how they looked on Friday, the whole team has done an excellent job at that in the absence of their three fourth-year veterans Keyira Parkes, Sarah Bennett, and Charlotte Collyer.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SEYRAN MAMMADOV, THE VARSITY BLUES

Men’s

The Varsity Blues men’s basketball team fought throughout all four quarters to pull off U of T’s second win of the night in Friday’s double header. Nipissing showed little sign of giving up however, as they kept the game within one point until the final minutes of the game. It was Toronto’s ability to stay composed under pressure that made the difference, as they knocked down multiple big shots to defeat the Lakers 81–75.

Nipissing began the first quarter by hitting a three, to which the Blues responded with one of their own. In the first two minutes, Toronto lost veteran Nicholas Morris, who picked up two early fouls and had to be subbed out. However, first-year guard Iñaki Alvarez sliced through to the basket in addition to knocking down a couple three’s off well-placed screens to put the Blues up two into the second quarter.

Daniel Johansson got hot in the middle of the second quarter after the Blues’ motion offense gave him an open three, which he knocked down. He followed with a layup on the next play and then a heavily contested jump shot, giving Johansson seven points in three possessions.

“We like to play off the hot guy,” Blues guard Chris Barrett later explained.

Toronto would extend their lead to nine and force Nipissing to call a timeout as a result of Arash Dusek’s driving layup.

The Blues’ lead peaked at 11 points in the third quarter, with offense led by Alvarez and Johansson. The persistent Lakers still brought the game within one before Nikola Paradina drained one from beyond the arc for 3 of his 16 points on the night.

In the fourth quarter, Alvarez continued to make several difficult layups before suffering an injury to his abdomen. He was forced to sub out and did not return. With just under five minutes left in a one-point game, Barrett stepped up and put the Blues up by three with a spin-move layup. He later hit a ridiculous fading turnaround jumper to increase Toronto’s lead to five. He proceeded to make four out of four free throws in the clutch, as the Blues held the Lakers off by a margin of six.

Despite having to leave the game early, Alvarez led the team in points with 19. Four out of the five starters finished with 15 points or more, and Barrett had a game-high seven assists to complement his 17 points.

When asked whether or not he felt pressure toward the end of the game, Barrett responded, “When I’m shooting free throws, I’m never stressed.” It certainly showed in his eight for eight shooting from the line.

Going forward, Barrett and the rest of the team aim to “keep the momentum going towards playoffs.”

Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education Task Force recommends further inclusion of racialized, Indigenous students

Recommendations include changes to curriculum, communications, data collection, recruitment

Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education Task Force recommends further inclusion of racialized, Indigenous students

The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE) Task Force on Race and Indigeneity released its final report in response to the 2015 Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

In its December 4 report, the task force adopted three key terms — equity, diversity, and inclusion — from U of T’s Equity and Diversity in Research & Innovation Working Group Report.

‘Equity’ refers to the fair treatment of all people, regardless of their race or culture. While ‘diversity’ is described as a demographic mix in the community, it also focuses on groups that are underrepresented at  U of T. Combining these two terms is ‘inclusion,’ or an environment where everyone feels respected and valued.

The 12 operating members and four working groups sought to make recommendations to the faculty on how to address barriers that prevent racial diversity and equity.

The Task Force was, in part, formed in response to a panel held at U of T during the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, which focused on the challenges of being an Indigenous athlete in Toronto.

It also responds to a report from the 2016 Accelerating Action Roundtable Discussion event that recommended five themes for the faculty to address.

This includes hiring racialized and Indigenous peoples, improving visibility and recognition of diversity in KPE spaces, improving outreach to underrepresented groups, increasing accountability around issues of race and Indigeneity, and expanding support and resources for Indigenization, racial diversity, and anti-racism.

The TRC report stated that the University of Toronto was responsible for acting with “destructive impacts” against Indigenous people. Although the university did not operate residential schools, it educated Canadians who later contributed to the creation of these schools.

Researchers from the university have also recently been accused of damaging Indigenous communities through research studies. The report concluded that because of past ignorance and mistreatment toward Indigenous people, the University of Toronto has been an unwelcome place for Indigenous students.

The task force’s report organizes the working groups’ recommendations into seven categories, “intended to be considered simultaneously and in total.”

Academics, curriculum and programming

This section’s main recommendation looks to create content on race and Indigeneity across the KPE curriculum. The task force also recommends that KPE develop and integrate a course solely based on Indigenous history, issues, racism, and racialization within sports and physical activity.

Communications

This section recommends that KPE maintain “an attractive and informative website that conveys the importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” The task force emphasizes further promotion of Indigenous opportunities, activities, conferences, and events, both on and off campus.

Data collection

The task force recommends that KPE collect demographic data on new staff members to keep track of recruitment success, thus identifying needed additional time spent on recruiting Indigenous students. A survey is also advised to identify any areas of improvement in regards to recruitment and retention of Indigenous staff.

Recruitment

The report further recommends offering financial benefits to prospective Indigenous students through scholarships, bursaries, and grants. Great emphasis was also placed on financial support for achieving equity and diversity on campus.

Relationships

This section specifically focuses on improving relationships between the KPE and Indigenous people through mentorships, coaching, and community resources in order to build a healthy and comfortable atmosphere.

Space

This focuses on developing designated spaces to accommodate any cultural practices for Indigenous students. The report goes on to say that faculty should also create barrier-free and accessible spaces that value Indigenous perspectives.

Training

This focuses heavily on decolonization and anti-racism training for staff and faculty. Recommendations also include opportunities to connect racialized and Indigenous students with the wider community.

How to crush your 2019 fitness goals

New year, new fitness goals: be realistic and stay motivated

How to crush your 2019 fitness goals

“New year, new me,” is what we say to ourselves every single New Year’s Eve. For many people, New Year’s resolutions contain fitness goals to hit, but many of us fall short.

The primary reason why people don’t achieve their fitness goals is because they don’t begin the new year with the required discipline and motivation that would keep them going for the rest of the year. So this year, I am going to help you, Varsity readers, to hit your goals by explaining to you step by step what to do.

The most significant part is to decide on your fitness goal. There are different types of fitness goals and each require different strategies and steps to follow. The most common ones are losing fat, building muscle, and gaining strength. Once you decide the right fitness goal for yourself, you can start the journey.

Losing fat

If you are looking to get rid of some extra weight and get the physique that you’ve always wanted, never forget this: losing weight starts in the kitchen.

Modifying your diet in a few simple ways will have considerable impacts on your health and weight losing process. The most basic modifications can be listed as: eat more soluble fiber, avoid junk food, consume less alcohol, eat more protein, and cut back on carbs and fats.

But if you think that losing fat is only related to eating less and healthy, you are wrong. Training is just as important as eating healthy for leaning down. Strength training is a requirement because with strength training you build muscle, a process that burns more calories. And of course, don’t forget to pair your strength training with cardio.

Building muscle

When it comes to gaining muscle, what you have to do is fairly straightforward: eat big, train big.

As you have probably heard from any ‘big guy’ packed with muscles, protein is the key to muscle building. In addition to eating more protein, you should basically stop cutting calories and start eating more.

In the gym, you basically should be lifting for two or three sets of an exercise for six to 12 repetitions, with short breaks between sets. Pay attention on keeping relatively lower weights to do more repetitions.

Gaining strength

In order to gain strength and build muscle, you should lift each workout, push yourself to your limits and hit your main muscle groups — your chest, back, shoulders, and legs. Try to maintain lower repetitions and higher weights to maximize the strength gains each workout.

After learning more about what is the right goal for you, the next step is to actually start the journey. At first, it will be really hard, but once you make fitness and healthy living an integral part of your life, you will not only look better, but also feel better.

Getting fitter and healthier is a long and difficult and it requires a good amount of patience, but as Samuel Beckett once said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Varsity Blues win big on first-ever Pride Night

Blues women’s hockey team defeats the UOIT Ridgebacks 4–1

Varsity Blues win big on first-ever Pride Night

A Pride fag sticker is illuminated on the back of second-year forward Louie Bieman’s helmet. THEO ARBEZ/THE VARSITY

 

Fifth-year defenceman Julia Szulewska stands ready during a break from action. THEO ARBEZ/THE VARSITY

 

The Varsity Blues women’s hockey team huddles around starting goaltender Erica Fryer. THEO ARBEZ/THE VARSITY

 

Blues captain Becki Bowering battles for possession of the puck. THEO ARBEZ/THE VARSITY

Varsity Blues men’s hockey team edged by Brock Badgers

Joey Manchurek scored Toronto’s lone goal of the game

Varsity Blues men’s hockey team edged by Brock Badgers

The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team fell short 21 in yet another aggressive matchup against the Brock Badgers on Friday night at Varsity Arena.

With just under a month left in the regular season, Toronto sits last in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West men’s hockey standings.

The Blues were aggressive early in the first period, as Joey Manchurek shot one in the top corner of the net past Badgers goaltender Logan Thompson for what would be Toronto’s only goal of the night.

Following the goal, both teams were involved in a physical altercation which resulted in both teams earning minor penalties. Toronto’s Ryan Kirkup was sent to the box for roughing, alongside Brock’s Tyler Rollo for cross-checking. Brock’s Ryan Burton answered with a game-tying unassisted goal to close the first period.

The second period went scoreless despite a Toronto powerplay that ended the period. The rough interactions between teams continued as Brock’s Ethan Price was given a 10-minute misconduct for foul head contact. Both goalies stood strong in the second as Toronto’s Alex Bishop and Brock’s Thompson each stopped eight shots on goal.

With the score levelled at one goal a piece, intensity only increased in the third when Willy Paul drew a penalty for kneeing. Later in the period, Brock’s Ayden Macdonald’s shot took an unexpected bounce off the glove and then helmet of Bishop, for Brock’s go-ahead goal in the third period.

Thompson was briefly attended to late in the third period after an awkward save but remained in the game.

The Blues outshot the Badgers 28–24 in their loss. Toronto pulled Bishop to rally back late into the third period, but it wasn’t enough as the blue and white fell just short of the Badgers, 21.

Neoliberalism, sport, and the working class

Toronto Workers’ History Project event features U of T academics

Neoliberalism, sport, and the working class

United Steelworkers Hall hosted one of the Toronto Workers’ History Project’s monthly talks on January 8. Featuring two University of Toronto academics, the event was a discussion and presentation on the history of workers and sport in Toronto.

Held in a basement room, audience members sat in fold-out chairs filling the space. Clearly, most had been there before: they called back and forth to one another, saying hello and exchanging news. No one was on their phone, or even sitting alone. It was initially discomfiting, in some ways, to feel so present — and somehow welcome — in a room full of strangers.

The night was segmented into two brief but connected lectures and a discussion and Q&A session. Former UTSC Principal and Officer of the Order of Canada recipient Professor Bruce Kidd spoke first, providing a brief overview of historical generalizations about sport and its development in the modern period.

Sports, Kidd asserted, began as a classed, gendered, and racialized practice. The sports most popular today in the Global North were not always universal, he explained. Rather, modern athletics were created for and by the upper class men of imperial Britain. Further, the values they attempted to inculcate through sport — masculinity, elitism, achievement — still dominate much of our contemporary conceptions of the practice.

Kidd went on to highlight how the excluded have fought and continue to fight for inclusion in sport. Working class people, especially women, faced a series of barriers to participation. First and foremost were their long, grueling work hours, which prohibited any possibility of leisure time. Although Kidd mainly referred to this impediment as a modern phenomenon, it’s clearly evident in the contemporary world as well — just look at neoliberalism’s marketization and atomization of every speck of free time an individual can muster.

Not to be constantly working, constantly online, constantly striving is the ultimate failure. As demands on our time increase, so too does the cost of participation. While this was a barrier in the 20th century, the increased elitism of sports as we know them today consistently favour the wealthy. Kidd quoted a fellow scholar to exclaim that “if Gordie Howe were alive today, he wouldn’t have made the NHL!”

Nevertheless, the working class did mount a resistance to the wealthy dominance of sports. One of the most powerful organizations was the giant ‘Socialist Workers’ Sport International,’ which counted two million members at its peak between the world wars. Every six years, they held ‘International Workers’ Olympiads,’ which admitted all interested workers, dismissed the idea of national teams, and enthusiastically included female athletes.

After the Second World War, the organization regrouped and is still active, but in a more collaborative capacity with establishment sports institutions such as the International Olympic Committee.

Other, smaller groups also cropped up between world wars, such as the Jewish Women’s Working Sports Association, whose members met at Spadina Street and College Street to practice gymnastics and other activities. However, today, most of these organizations are gone.

Participation in organized sport has fallen dramatically in the past twenty years, while the class stratification between athletes and the public has only increased. Kidd relates this gap to an atrophication in the public provision of leisure and sporting activities, as well as the dogma of neoliberal performance and elitism.

Kidd was followed by Janelle Joseph, an adjunct lecture at U of T’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education Professor. Joseph, the author of the recent Sport in the Black Atlantic: Cricket, Canada and the Caribbean Diaspora, discussed her research and shared stories from her ethnographic interviews with older, male Canadian-Caribbean cricketers.

She quickly introduced the audience to a few key concepts in Black diaspora studies, such as the power of routes, the process of travel, and roots — cultural push-pull — before grounding these concepts in the wave of Caribbean immigration to Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Many of these Caribbean immigrants settled in the Golden Horseshoe region, and many played cricket. The cricket leagues that formed were often extremely competitive but also extremely leisurely — players and spectators worked to recreate a carnival-like atmosphere around the cricket fields. Joseph described constant music, camaraderie, food and drink, and less demanding recreational activities, such as playing dominoes and dancing.

These cricket teams provided both an anchor and a barrier for new Caribbean immigrants, allowing them to feel at home in Canada and to create a space for themselves outside the often white-dominated spaces which they lived and worked in. Joseph also spoke to the distinctly masculine nature of these cricket teams, explaining the processes of performance and communication embedded in different methods of play.

Many of these Caribbean cricketers are aging out of the game, instead choosing to play in ‘Masters Leagues’, where the emphasis is on fun rather than competition. Many of these players struggled to encourage their sons to take up the game, and as such represent a last generation of committed and talented Caribbean-Canadian cricket players.

Furthermore, the Caribbean dominance of Canadian cricket is today quickly being displaced by a strong contingent of South and Southeast Asian players. Sometimes, Joseph explained, tensions between the two groups of players can erupt, as both try to navigate their shared colonial attachment to cricket and its place in their cultural histories.

Sports and the working class are intimately tied, both as a site of struggle and as a place of self-expression. Historically, working people have mobilized with incredible power to build parallel sporting institutions that were open to all, equitable, and firmly anti-capital. Today, the power of these institutions — as well as public services more generally — has dramatically waned.

As Joseph highlighted in her talk, independently organized sporting events and organizations are a vital ground for building community — but the cricket leagues which she discussed were private undertakings, not a success of public services. In the era of neoliberalism, mainstream sports have effectively doubled down on their ugly roots: classed, gendered, and racialized.