COVID-19 Closeup: Marty Calder
Subject: Marty Calder, wrestling coach and former Olympian.
What would you be doing right now with Brock wrestling if the pandemic hadn’t hit? We would be back training full throttle preparing for the Olympics and getting our younger athletes international experience at tournaments and camps.
What are you doing now with Brock wrestling? I have weekly meetings with our coaching group and administrators at Brock. I’ve also been finishing with our recruiting for the 2020-2021 season. We do some one-on-one consultations online with our athletes as well going over technical gaps, tactical gaps, reviewing their current strength and conditioning programs etc.
What is the biggest obstacle to coaching during the pandemic? Well, we aren’t in our practice setting so it has limited us in what we can provide as far as coaching goes. In the end, being on the mat is going to give our athletes the best chance to grow as wrestlers and that is obviously not possible at the moment.
What do you miss the most about the pre-pandemic world of Brock wrestling? I think routines are important. I enjoy a very busy schedule that asks me to be productive every day. My athletes expect a lot from me. They have some extremely high aspirations and that means I have to be on all the time when I’m with them. So my answer would he that I miss getting up every day with high ambitions to make each and every day a day that revolves around the pursuit of excellence. I miss the energy that I see in my athletes through their ambitions.
What do you miss the least about the pre-pandemic world of Brock wrestling? I think the pandemic has allowed me to see the big picture a little clearer. It has helped me realize that I might be focused too much on sport as opposed to things that are clearly more important to me yet may get pushed aside at times because of the intensity of my occupation. So I don’t miss Brock wrestling dictating my priorities at times.
What is the biggest thing wrong with wrestling that you can reveal without getting fired or demoted for your honesty? LOL. Honestly, my experience at Brock has been fabulous. It’s hard to put into words about how grateful I am to Brock and what a great experience I’ve had there. I’ve met so many great people, coaches, administrators, staff, educators, athletes, trainers, etc., that have really heightened the experience. The biggest challenge at Brock that we have faced for years has been our wrestling room. As our program has grown over time we’ve faced major challenges in our existing space.
Is there an easy way to fix the problem? The Canada Games facility at Brock has plans for a suitable wrestling space for us. Doug Hamilton came to us early on in the process, well before we were given the Games. Tonya Verbeek accompanied Doug and his group to the announcement in Toronto. In the end, we are finally going to have a conducive environment to run our training sessions both for the varsity team at Brock and for our youth programs in Niagara. It’s a very exciting opportunity.
What would be one suggestion to make wrestling better? I don’t think there is a balanced effort in Canada to deliver an equitable commitment. Obviously we have our challenges, geography being one big one. We are isolated in North America in contrast to Asia and Europe. Athletes on those continents are exposed to international competitions early on because of the easier access. If we want to win, we need a full effort, coaching and administration wise, financially, etc., or we are kidding ourselves.
Has the pandemic changed how you will approach your coaching with Brock? Not one bit. I’m an optimist, I think. I believe that society will allow for some limitations at first but I also believe that people will demand to resume their lives as they were prior to this, and I don’t expect anything different from our group. Of course, we will adhere to all government legislations.
What is the first thing you are going to do when life returns to normal? Get back to my daily routines I would assume. Work and enjoying my kids, family and friends.
What daily activity do you miss the most? Dave Collie and I like to workout together after our practice sessions. He crushes me!
What guilty pleasure do you miss the most? I’d say eating out at restaurants. There are some really great authentic restaurants in this area.
What is your favourite outfit to wear around the house if you are working from home? I have had track pants on for two and a half months, LOL. If you were to ask Mike Strange, he’d say I’d have my shirt off 100 per cent of the time too. LOL
What do you do to replace the time spend coaching? I’ve spent a good amount of time with my twin Mickey. He’s a jack-of-all-trades kinda guy. He’s intelligent and likes to fix things. If a bird flies by you, he’s a tell you everything about it kinda guy. So he’s been mentoring me on trying to add some balance in my life. We put up a fence, we built a bridge, we made maple syrup, we’re chopping down trees, cutting grass on his Kuboda, etc. It’s been a new experience, one that he can’t wait to be over with. LOL.
Are you most likely to be a hunk, chunk, drunk or Sasquatch when the pandemic ends? I think a mixture. The hunk you can completely forget about but the other three might be accurate.
What is the worst habit you have picked up during the pandemic? I think sleeping in a bit later and staying up later.
What is the best habit you have picked up during the pandemic? Well, I know how to go online and join meetings on Lifesize and Zoom.
What is something good about yourself you have discovered during the pandemic? I can make one heck of a grilled cheese sandwich.
What is something bad about yourself you have discovered during the pandemic? I don’t have to shower everyday. It’s not a necessity. And you can wear the same clothes for days on end and no one really cares.
In the weeks ahead, BPSN is hoping to get people in Niagara’s sporting community to share their COVID Closeups. If you want to volunteer, shoot Bill or I a text. You have our numbers.
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Bill and Bernie