Categories
Sports

Connor Church shines at the 2023 Canadian Wrestling Championships

The Concordia wrestler and marketing student talks about his recent success at the university and national levels

Concordia student and wrestler Connor Church dominated at the 2023 Canadian Wrestling Championships, and his performance was telling of the wrestler he is.

The nineteen-year-old participated with his club, the Montreal National Training Centre (NTC), and began the championships wrestling in the junior division, which encompasses ages 18 to 20. The entirety of the championships was held from March 9-12.

Church had four matches in the men’s 79 kg junior division that all ended in technical falls, which automatically ends a match once a 10-point difference occurs.

Not wanting to leave any chances for his opponents, he won all his matches within the first round.

Church also wrestled in the senior division to see how he would measure next year and to gain experience.

“I wanted to see what I would need to work on, but it ended up going really well,” he said.

Indeed, the senior competition went no different than the junior. He once again ended all his matches in a single round due to technical falls. However, he still noticed a “huge difference” in the level of competition between both divisions.

“The senior guys are a lot stronger, a lot more experienced,” he said. “There are a lot of smarter wrestlers, they were tougher matches, but I was still able to get the job done.”

His coach at both Concordia and the Montreal NTC, David Zilberman, was very glad with Church’s performance.

“I thought he dominated everybody,” Zilberman said. “He wrestled really well. There’s still a lot to work on, but in the long term he shows a lot of promise to be an elite competitor on the international scene.”

His junior division win was his second in a row. In both years, it earned him a spot on Team Canada for the U20 Pan-American Championships.

He won bronze at the Pan-American Championships last year, but his eyes are set on gold this year for when they will be held in Chile.

Church attributes a lot of his success at the Canadian championships to his club. Because he practiced with older and more experienced teammates, he was prepared for the age difference in the senior competition.

“I wrestle against some of the best wrestlers in Canada every day at our club,” he said. “It gives me confidence going into every match.”

Church started wrestling six years ago in Winnipeg, his hometown. Then, in August 2021, he reached out to the coaches at Concordia.

“I knew that, if I wanted to excel at wrestling, this is the place where I wanted to be in Canada,” he said.

He was invited by Zilberman to try out and shortly thereafter, he moved to Montreal and started training with Concordia, as well as competing with the Montreal NTC. Zilberman remembers him displaying a lot of physical talent.

“He was strong and explosive, but a little raw,” Zilberman said. “He’s definitely evolved into a more technical wrestler, but he’s still very strong and gifted and that helps him a lot.”

“He puts in a lot of hours of training and he’s learning the game really quickly,” Zilberman added. “He has a strong character and will to win and it’s really important.”

This year was Church’s first time competing with the Concordia team and, in his first U Sports Championships, Church won the gold medal in the men’s 76 kg.

“That win, going into nationals, really boosted my confidence,” Church said. “It helped my success in the national championships and built my momentum.”

Church has indeed been on a roll ever since his move to Montreal. His innate motivation has undeniably been central in his achievements.

“I’m always willing to wake up and go to practice,” he said, adding that he trains two to three times a day, six days a week. “It’s a pursuit of excellence [for me].”

Church’s love for wrestling is palpable and a big part of his success.

“Nothing is more important to me,” he said. “It’s all I think about all day. It’s an obsession, really.”

Church’s next big tournament will be the 2023 Canadian U23 Wrestling Championships held in Laval on May 27-28. On top of the U20 Pan-American Championships in July, he will also be headed to Poland in August for the U20 World Championships.

“I’ve been eyeing that down for a full year now and that’s been my goal to get that win,” he said.

Categories
Sports

Pressure, academia and competition: why people quit organized sports

Concordia students share their experiences in organized sports

As a four-year-old kid in the UK in 2007, Kim Maurer, a current English Literature student at Concordia, was first drawn to sports when she wanted to follow in her older brother’s footsteps.

She enrolled in a wide array of sports like field hockey and football, but her true loves were dance, swimming and rounders (an English sport that resembles baseball). At 14, however, she would stop all those sports, joining an ever-growing trend of kids leaving organized sports in their teens.

“I was definitely a really happy kid because of how many sports I played. But I think, as you get older, it begins to negatively affect you,” said Maurer, recalling the pressure of competition she felt going into secondary school.

“I was always pushed academically,” she added. “So, if I was good at school, I had to be good at sports, I had to be good at music, I had to be good at every single thing I dipped my toes into.”

Sports that once served Maurer as a distraction from school were soon overpowered by academic pressure.

“When I was doing sports, I was there physically, but not mentally, because I’d be focusing on what I have tomorrow, what kind of exams, what do I have to prepare for. It wasn’t fun anymore,” she said.

Kim Maurer holds sports awards she won when she was younger. Catherine Reynolds/ The Concordian

But Maurer’s not alone. More often than not, it’s the lack of fun in organized sports that makes kids quit.

“The stakes are much higher and people compare you to everyone else,” continued Maurer. “That’s one of the reasons why I quit [dance], it became too toxic.” 

The decision to quit swimming and rounders — one of Maurer’s favourite sports — was even harder.

Charlotte Weissler, a journalism student at Concordia, recounts a similar story. She, too, came from a sports-oriented family and started gymnastics at four years old in France. She recalled having a love/hate relationship with the sport.

“It was a really hard sport, it hurt physically, you fall a lot, and I got injured a lot,” she said, also mentioning the mental challenges that came with putting a lot of effort into the sport. Nonetheless, she felt at home in the gym.

At seven, Weissler began competing.

“I really liked it because I was better when I was young, I was winning all my competitions and I enjoyed it obviously. But it was also stressful, and I hated that,” she said.

Going to high school at 16 changed everything for Weissler, and the pressure to have good grades was an added source of stress.

“I didn’t think I could handle four training sessions a week and do my assignments. It just wasn’t possible,” she said. She was stuck in an all-or-nothing situation and her gym wouldn’t accommodate for fewer than four sessions per week.

However, some friends that Weissler met while doing gymnastics are now completing master’s degrees, all while keeping up with gymnastics. She believes the difference between her and them is passion.

“It was [a hard decision], but also, after 12 years, all the pressure became so strong that at one point I thought I wasn’t passionate enough to want that pressure anymore,” Weissler said.

Both Maurer and Weissler noted that many of their peers quit sports at the same time as them.

But juggling academia and sports is possible. Concordia Stingers’ Alice Philbert, goaltender for the women’s hockey team for six years, shows just that.

She started goaltending at 13 in the RSEQ — after playing defence for five years — and has dedicated her life to playing hockey and studying since then.

“I started my graduate diploma in business administration to continue playing hockey [with the Stingers],” she said. “If it wasn’t for hockey, I wouldn’t have undertaken it.”

Philbert’s coaches at Dawson and Concordia taught her valuable lessons through sports, like putting her team first and that everything is earned.

“When I go to the arena, I know I’m going to have fun,” she said. “It’s not stressful and I know people are there to help me.”

And that’s what sports should be for young people: a stress-free environment where they can have fun and make new friends.

Categories
Sports

The Concordia Stingers come out on top of the Montreal Carabins 2-1

Goaltender Alice Philbert shines for the Stingers this weekend as the women’s hockey team improves to 7-2

Though forward Emmy Fecteau scored the overtime winner for the Concordia Stingers, goaltending was the highlight story on both sides in the Stingers’ win over the University of Montreal Carabins on Friday, Nov. 18 at the Ed Meagher Arena.

“Montreal has a great goaltender. We have a great goaltender. There isn’t a team in this league that doesn’t have a good goaltender,” affirmed Stingers’ head coach Julie Chu after the win. “We have to get traffic to the net. That’s how we’re going to be able to beat them.”

The Stingers started the game slowly, getting outshot 13-7 in the opening frame, largely due to taking three penalties. They rebounded after that however, and outshot the Carabins 27-16 the rest of the way.

Stingers’ forward Émilie Lavoie and Carabins’ forward Raphaëlle Pouliot traded power-play goals in the first period, and the game was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes. Stingers’ goaltender Alice Philbert kept the game tied for her team in the first period, making 12 saves.

Both teams’ goaltenders stole the show after that, as Philbert and Carabins goaltender Aube Racine shut the door for the following 40 minutes, making 14 and 26 saves respectively.

But Philbert was not intimidated by her counterpart’s performance.

“In our league, there are some really good goalies. It’s like this in every game,” she explained. “For me, it’s just a motivation to push even harder, and be ready for the next shot every time.”

Fecteau finally broke the deadlock with 15 seconds remaining in the first overtime period. She rushed down the right wing and snapped a shot over Racine’s right shoulder, earning the Stingers’ a 2-1 victory.

“There were several moments where it was going well for our team,” Fecteau said. “We were putting on good pressure. I think the goal was coming.”

The Stingers made a point of getting in the Carabins’ shooting lanes and blocking shots in this game. Chu was impressed with her team’s courage in that respect.

“I emphasize it a lot because I’m a big believer in it,” Chu explained. “We’ve worked on it in practice, they’ve embodied it and they want to do it, which are huge momentum moments for us.”

Philbert also thought her team’s effort was a big factor in the win.

“They worked really hard,” she said. “The first period was not the best, but we bounced back in the second and third.”

Chu thinks that the Stingers need to figure out how to play a physical game without taking too many penalties.

“The last two, three games we took a lot of penalties and we’ve got to find that balance,” she noted. “We want to play aggressive, we want to play physical, but we don’t want to stay in the box all day.”

The Stingers improved to a 6-2 record with this win over the Carabins. They defeated the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 2-0 on Sunday, Nov. 20 to improve to 7-2. The Stingers now sit in first-place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec standings.

Categories
Music

A brief guide to Montreal’s local live music scene

Here’s Where to find Montreal’s finest live music offerings

Sometimes, keeping up with show organizers is where it’s at

Good Shows

Ever since pandemic restrictions loosened up, Good Shows have proven to be one of the most exciting organizers in Montreal. With shows sprawling across town touching on genres like math rock and hardcore to dance-punk and everything in between, you’re always in for a rowdy and wild ride with Good Shows.

Expose Noir

For five years, Expose Noir has been throwing parties of the highest caliber, turning warehouses into full-fledged all night long rave frenzies. Their mainline multi-room events, or the smaller and more frequent single-room offshoot “volume x” always guarantee international DJ talent to the highest degree.

Blue Skies Turn Black

Blue Skies might be Montreal’s premier booker for the indie scene, frequently bringing some of the top rock and hip-hop talent that’s currently on the road to a great variety of venues, theatres, and halls throughout the city.

Greenland Productions

Greenland Productions is responsible for bringing some of the biggest shows to the largest clubs and venues across Montreal. Radiohead offshoot project The Smile, and drain gang predecessor Yung Lean are just a few of the heavyweight talents coming in the next few weeks — thanks to Greenland — and with multiple shows each week, there is something for everyone.

Five bars where you can hear live music on the reg

Bar Le Ritz PDB (179 Jean-Talon O)

Owned by the members of Montreal’s own Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Bar le Ritz is one of the best places to catch out-of-town up-and-comers. Shows span from various styles of rock and hip-hop, to hardcore and metal with plenty of exciting touring acts performing every week. 

Bar L’Hémisphère Gauche (221 Rue Beaubien E)

The beer is cheap, the staff is cool and the music is loud at Bar L’Hémisphère Gauche. Located in Little Italy, L’Hémisphère Gauche is where you can find local fresh new voices performing almost every night of the week to packed and rowdy crowds.

La Sala Rossa/La Sotterenea (4848 St Laurent Blvd)

Whether it’s the saloon atmosphere of the main room upstairs (Sala Rossa), or the smaller room devoid of a stage in the basement Sotterenea, you are bound to find an eclectic mix of bookings in this building.

Casa Del Popolo (4873 St Laurent Blvd)

The sister venue of La Sala Rossa, located just across the street, is a smaller room, darkly lit and decorated by beautiful moldings on the ceilings and chandeliers above the bar. Experimental shows spanning from harsh noise to power electronics happen frequently, and you can also catch a hardcore or indie show being put on by Good Shows or Blue Skies on a regular basis.

Collage by James fay @jamesfaydraws and Catherine Reynolds @catreynoldsphoto

Categories
Concert Reviews Music

 A sold-out Psychedelic Porn Crumpets frenzy at Bar Le Ritz

PPC constantly flirted between playing perfectly on-beat and nearly losing control, keeping audience members in a satisfyingly hectic musical limbo

Montrealers were treated to a heavy set of acid-dosed tunes on Oct. 17, courtesy of Perth rock outfit Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (PPC) and supporting alternative rockers Acid Dad. While it’s still not quite clear what a “Psychedelic Porn Crumpet” is, the band name does at least serve as a spot-on description of their music.

PPC are very much a product of Australia’s gold-standard modern psychedelic rock output. While the scene’s bigger names like Tame Impala and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard may be filling larger venues, PPC proved that the smaller acts can still set crowds ablaze.

The band’s set exploded with a particularly bumping rendition of their hit single “Tally-Ho,” immediately turning a sold-out Bar Le Ritz into a human wave pool like some kind of magic trick. The song’s jumpiness can be attributed to the riff-heavy nature of the track, as looping fuzzy guitar riffs proved good contrast with frontman Jack McEwan’s signature soothing vocal style. These kinds of guitar-based songs like “Bill’s Mandolin” were the highlights of the night, as crowdsurfers levitated above the packed audience below.

But PPC proved to be about more than just heavy riffs played in front of psychedelic video projections. The five-piece also often broke out into seemingly impromptu jams, stretching and pulling their tracks way beyond what you’d hear on-album. 

As McEwan led the band into these chaotic moments, guitarists Luke Parish and Chris Young noodled over the backing beat created in tandem by drummer Danny Caddy and bassist Wayan Biliondana. PPC kept pushing the musical envelope during these wilder instrumental sections, flirting between playing perfectly on-beat and nearly losing control, keeping audience members in a satisfyingly hectic musical limbo where it seemed like anything could happen.

This ability to “jam” is really the testament of a good psychedelic rock group. Many bands can adopt the flower aesthetic but only few can create that sense of chaotic yet controlled concert experimentation that gets to the root of what psychedelic rock can attain as a genre. While contemporary acts like Tame Impala can feel somewhat stiff at times, PPC’s more fluid chemistry really contributed to the quality of their live show.

Graphics by James Fay @jamesfaydraws

Categories
News

CSU, GSA and TRAC withdraw from Concordia’s Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence

Three student organizations — the Concordia Student Union (CSU), the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), and the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC) union — announced their withdrawal from the University’s Policy Advisory Committee on sexual violence on Oct.5. 

During their press conference outside of the Hall building, student representatives announced their decision to no longer participate in Concordia’s Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence due to ignored demands and mishandled complaints. 

The committee is made up of students, staff, and faculty with the goal of raising awareness to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence on campus.

Alan Shepard, President of Concordia between 2012-19, announced the establishment of the task force on sexual misconduct and sexual violence in Jan. 2018, following several harassment allegations within the University’s Creative Writing program. 

Since then, student representatives like Vice President of TRAC Becca Wilgosh have shared their disappointment in the lack of transparency and resources for students. 

“We’ve talked a couple of times about how complainants’ survivors in the University don’t even receive the results of their case, especially when that case is regarding faculty,” said Wilgosh. 

“And the University is more concerned with their reputation, especially when it comes to faculty than actually giving justice to students,” she added. 

Margot Berner, a past student representative in the standing committee, read the statement at last week’s press conference, describing Concordia’s policy processes as ‘hostile to students.’ 

Berner also explained that the required non-disclosure agreements to participate in the committee prove a lack of transparency towards student organizations. 

“Non-disclosure agreements work directly against our mandates of transparency, accountability, and accessibility to information,” read the statement. 

Another reason that was provided for the collective withdrawal was the lack of student representation. Only four of the 15 committee members are students, representing only slightly less than a third of the active student body. Berner also highlighted that the final authority on the sexual violence policy remains at the discretion of the Board of Governors. 

“With most decisions taken behind closed doors or through coercive consensus, the student representative positions in actuality remain simply observational rather than representative,” Berner added. 

During his speech, Nelson Graves, a TRAC delegate for the philosophy department, claimed the department has a history of sexual violence. 

Graves recalls an instance wherein two teaching assistants (TAs) were recently assigned to one individual who has allegedly perpetuated sexual violence amongst his female TAs. 

Additionally, Graves spoke about another situation in which an international student felt humiliated by the lack of awareness from the University about the sexual misconduct allegations.

“We’re working with TRAC Union to better expand our campaign, and we are interested to see how the University responds to this larger campaign,” concluded Graves.

Payton Mitchell, communications coordinator for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), was also present at the press conference. 

“Concordia’s sloppy process and refusal to approach problems with a student-centred and solution-oriented mindset have hindered accessibility to fully support our own membership,” said Mitchell. 

The CSU, GRA, TRAC and ASFA have no plans to return to the standing committee in the foreseeable future unless major changes regarding transparency are implemented. 

The three organizations will work closely together to raise awareness and support students who are mistreated. 

“We actually believe that we would do a better job of leading, beginning the discussions about what the sexual violence response should be in the University because we don’t have these institutional restraints that the University faces,” said Wilgosh.

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