Athletics / football

Usain the Dolphin Fish
Girl holding a mahi-mahi, or dolphin fish (Florida Sportsman) Look at that girl! She is holding a dolphin fish! If you are this girl and you end up reading this blog, don't worry, this is not about you, it's about the fish in your hands. Dolphin fish is the more common name for mahi-mahi, the actual name of the fish (mahi-mahi is Hawaiian). It's a fish that can be found in tropical and subtropical waters around the globe. As you can see they are pretty big and are yellow and green. Despite the nickname dolphin fish, they are not related to actual dolphins at all. Apparently, the longer these are out of the water, the color changes, they become more yellow, or golden. A golden fish, which in Spanish is called dorado. I'm not going to bother you too much with explaining what the legend of El Dorado is, but if you are interested in reading about that, I recommend you to click here. Green and Yellow What do you think about when you think about a green and yellow combination? Flowers? Birds? Butterflies? Apples? Peppers? Sports-related perhaps? Norwich City? Jerseys in the Tour de France? Brazilian colors? Geraint Thomas in his yellow jersey in the Tour de France (Getty Images) Jamaica? Ya Mon! That's it! We're now going to continue talking about Jamaica. In the Jamaican flag, green represents the land, and yellow refers to the often brightly shining sun in Jamaica. The colors are also coming back in the Rastafari movement, where red is being combined with the two, due to the Ethiopian connection. Probably the most famous Rastafari was singer Bob Marley. If there is one Jamaican as famous, or perhaps more famous than Bob Marley, it is Usain Bolt. How much of an introduction does this man need on a sports blogging platform? Probably not much, but here's a short summary. Usain Bolt won nine gold medals in the Olympics (one got stripped off earlier this year), and he is an eleven-time world champion. He still holds the world records in the 100 meters, 200 meters, as well as in the 4x100 meters relay. Without a doubt, Usain Bolt is the GOAT (greatest of all time) in sprinting. Usain Bolt with his trademark (Daily Telegraph) So, why is Usain Bolt a dolphin fish then? Well, he's not, at least not yet. There's a lot of similarities between Usain Bolt and the green-yellowish fish though. We already covered the colors, as well the nickname in Spanish. Usain Bolt has won that many gold medals during his career that he can be more or less seen as "Mister Green and Yellow", or perhaps as "Usain Gold", which brings us back to the Spanish nickname of the fish, dorado. The logo of Dorados de Sinaloa Dorados de Sinaloa is a football/soccer team currently playing in the second league of the Mexican competition. As you can see, their logo is yellow/golden and there is a drawing of a dolphin fish on the logo. The 2018/19 season in the Mexican second league started in August 2018 and Dorados had a very tough start under coach Francisco Gamez. They only won one out of the first nine matches of the competition. The other matches ended up in four draws and as many losses. This was the moment where Gamez's position could no longer be backed up by the board of the club. They were looking for a new coach end ended up by the chairman of Dynamo Brest in Belarus. He was just appointed by Dynamo Brest in July on a three-year contract. This did not stop Dorados de Sinaloa to step up and managed to convince him, making the switch to Mexico. Diego Maradona, the new coach of Dorados de Sinaloa (Regeneración) Yes, you're reading it right! In case you didn't know yet, the man who made himself look like a fool during the 2018 FIFA World Cup is now the new coach of Dorados de Sinaloa. Maradona had a great start as a coach at the club, winning his opening match 4-1 against Cafetaleros de Tapachula with a hattrick scored by Vinicio Angulo. The next match against Alebrijes de Oaxaca was however lost 1-0. That was the only defeat in the league so far with Maradona as a coach. What followed after that defeat was six wins and two draws. Usain in Australia In October Usain Bolt spent some time in Australia and did so in an aim to fulfill his next dream, his next goal in life, becoming a professional footballer. Bolt ended up on trial with the Central Coast Mariners. During his trial Bolt was used in three friendly matches. He left quite a good impression with the team, scoring two goals. The Mariners were convinced and offered Bolt a contract. The offer made was far away from what Bolt had wished for and was kindly rejected. Third parties were asked whether they would like to help and assist the club in contracting Bolt. As this was unsuccessful Bolt left Australia behind and started looking for other opportunities. Usain Bolt as a Central Coast Mariners player (RT) Usain and Diego In March 2018 Usan and Diego met in Basel, Switzerland. It was for a charity campaign named the Hublot Match of Friendship. In preparation of this happening they met each other, Maradona gave Bolt some football tips and they went together on a few photos. All seemed to be a friendly meeting between two sports legends. However, now that Maradona is in Mexico in charge of an ambitious club may make things look a bit more serious. Supposedly Dorados de Sinaloa is ready to contract Bolt and seems to be even willing and able to accept Bolt's salary wishes. So, who knows, maybe Usain will be a dolphin fish soon. Please share your thoughts on this unique sports story. Thank you for reading. Maradona and Bolt in Basel (Evening Standard)

Columbia Athletics can do better
Dear Columbia Athletics and the Columbia athletics community, During my sophomore year, I quit the varsity sports team to which I was recruited. I left volleyball due to frustrations with the team’s coaches that I felt would not be effectively addressed by the coaches or athletics administration while I remained on the team. After spending four years on campus interacting with current and former athletes, I have learned that negative team and coaching experiences like mine are the norm for many athletes, particularly female ones. I entered my first year at Columbia like most other incoming student-athletes: as an elite-level high school player excited to make an impact in an undervalued collegiate program. I was attracted to Columbia for its pursuit of “excellence,” a word that was continuously repeated by coaches and administrators throughout my recruitment process. After meeting talented and passionate teammates who shared visions of winning the program’s first-ever Ivy League championship, I was optimistic about the future. What I discovered, however, was that the team’s goal of winning was deeply misaligned with the strategy, and perhaps values, of its newly hired coaching staff. It did not appear that winning the game was the primary agenda when determining playing time. Further, issues that often undermine women’s sports became another hurdle for the team. For example, equipment was old, even dangerous, and prime practice time in the gym was all but reserved for men’s teams. My teammates and I had to wake up before sunrise to accommodate the 6:45 a.m. start times in season so the men’s basketball team could practice at their preferred time while out of season. The result of this was unsurprising. During my first season, we lost nine consecutive games, finishing second-to-last in the league with a conference record of 4-10. Patterns from the first season continued throughout the year and bled into preseason of the following year. I quit the team alongside three of my teammates in the fall of my sophomore year. ‌As I continued to interact with other female athletes, I learned that my experience was not unique—coaching turnover was frequent, coaches’ competencies often did not live up to expectations, and players from a range of sports expressed a shared sense of disillusionment with their Columbia athletic experience. ‌These issues are rooted in the investment decisions of the athletics administration. Last March, Spectator published a report on thespending gap between men’s and women’s sports at Columbia, which highlighted a growing wage gap between head coaches by team gender as well as fewer championship successes for women’s sports. My own analysis of the data shows a positive correlation between total investment per athlete and Ancient Eight championships won in the following season, as well as a positive correlation between total investment per athlete and retention rate in the following season, for both men’s and women’s sports. In other words, the greater the investments, the higher the retention of elite athletes and the more championships achieved—regardless of gender. The unprecedented spending and success of Columbia’s football teamserves as a prime example of the relationship between the two factors. Allocating equal monetary support to men’s and women’s sports is unrealistic, as popular men’s sports garner larger revenue streams. However, Columbia can do more to show it values its women’s teams. If Columbia Athletics wants to see greater success and fewer dropouts on its women’s teams, increasing investment, especially in women’s coaching staffs, would be a good place to start. Beyond monetary support, improved communication between players and the athletics administration is imperative. After my teammates and I quit our sport, not one of us received an exit meeting with administrators to discuss our team’s issues. We sent letters and received no responses. It is extremely difficult for athletes to initiate conversations with those in power regarding concerns for their team due to fear of retaliation, team politics, or the mentality engrained in athletes to push through the pain at all costs for their love of sport. The administration must be sensitive to this and become more proactive in listening to and engaging with its athletes. To enhance communication, I recommend forming a coalition of player-nominated representatives from each team to participate in regular meetings with administration leadership. Meetings could take place both as a group and individually and should serve as a confidential space to address team-related issues, to celebrate success, and to foster personal connections between the administration and student-athlete community. Although Columbia currently maintains a student-athlete advisory committee that espouses similar objectives, administrative higher-ups are often not involved in meetings. A space for direct communication between administrative and student-athlete leadership, where mutual accountability is the primary objective, is necessary. Additionally, student-athletes must continue to demand improvement when their needs are not met. In a broader culture where even the highest-paid professional athletes are expected to “shut up and dribble” and are boxed out for their beliefs, silence and complacency are toxic. Players need a forum to share concerns so they can help improve the quality of their team and pursue the excellence for which they were recruited. The relationship between athletes, coaches and administrators is reciprocal; each party depends on the others to work in its best interests and toward the same goal of fostering success and “excellence.” With greater administrative investment, particularly in women’s sports, and more open and frequent communication between all parties, Columbia’s longtime goal of athletic excellence can become its reality. The author is a recent graduate of Columbia College interested in promoting positive change in the Columbia experience. She is pursuing her master’s degree in journalism at the University of Southern California.

Coaching, Fans and Whiteboards
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