Another great opportunity

This is my first entry as a SUNY Oswego blogger and I am happy to be a part of a great tool in communicating ideas, events, and anything else that we have on our minds. I’ll start my journey as a blogger on this site with a little introduction;

I’m Jon Zella, I’m a Graduate student studying History: Museum Preservation here at SUNY Oswego. I recently graduated from SUNY Oswego with my Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in Italian, Buon Giorno. I am also the graduate assistant for Civic Engagement, I work as an interpreter at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, I’m the Head Coach for the Women’s Club Hockey team, Director of Athletic Affairs in Student Association, I write for a hockey blog called the Checking Line mostly about the Buffalo Sabres,  I play the drums in the Avondales and Burning Bridge Street, and now I write for this blog.

Though the above paragraph makes me seem like someone who might be high-strung, I’m generally a pretty calm person. Keeping busy allows me to stay focused and everything gets done, even if it’s at 2am. I enjoy being social, speaking to others; the exchange of ideas and culture is something I’ve always enjoyed.

I also run the Civic Engagement Word Press which will cover a lot of what I’ll be up to this academic year. I will do my best to blog on this as well and keep those interested in the loop with what I’m doing and how my year is going.

Breath, Stretch, Meditate

Recently I find myself increasingly curious about meditation, yoga and obtaining peace of mind. I am not sure if it has to do with all of the Oprah programs I am watching or more the desire to find a way to keep my mind clear enough  to write when I am up against the deadline (as I always am). Truth be told it is a fair mixture of both, I am a huge fan of Oprah’s LifeClass  any Own program and I still have a 2 page analysis paper due from before spring break(please don’t judge me). Whatever it might be that is bringing on my constant stress and cloudy mind I have found that a few things actually help to clear it.

After years of wanting to do yoga I finally took a friend up on an invitation to join her at a Sunday afternoon session. The experience was a memorable one; me struggling to balance my self on one leg or hold positions with every muscle trembling while the rest of the class seemed to flawlessly glide from position to position. I lost track of how many times I said to myself ” I thought yoga was supposed to be relaxing and calm”. But as the session was concluding , I found myself down on my yoga mat calmly breathing , mind effortlessly drifting off unaware of the macho body building men who had earlier watched me head over to the yoga mats.

When the lights finally turned on and the instructor told us she looked forward to seeing us next week, I was floating over to my friend with the surrealist feeling of serenity I had have ever experienced. I felt somewhere in between sleep and euphoria. The rest of the day and subsequently the next one as well was filled with great clarity. In the time after, I spent nights  practicing breathing exercises to help settle my thoughts enough for me to fall asleep.

Since then I have developed a weekly routine of attending a Sunday evening yoga class courtesy of Oswego’s fitness centers. What has made my yoga classes even better was learning that other SUNY schools don’t all offer classes without paying a separate fee. How lucky are we to get a yoga class that not only winds down as the sun sets over the lake but not  have to pay an additional fee?

The health benefits of yoga are substantial I am sure but I’ll leave that up to a professional or someone with more knowledge on yoga practices to tell you. I’m just here to say yoga has definitely been a great stabilizer in my life.


This past Saturday I went to my first SUNY Oswego hockey game. I was so excited that I thought the game was at 12 p.m. got ready made breakfast only to see it was 7 p.m. Fail I know. Anyway I’ve been wanting to go to a game for sometime now. First because I have school spirit  and secondly because supposedly we are really good (more on that later) so I wanted to see what all the “Hoopla” was about.

When we first arrived at the game(got there a lil late)

BOO! BOO THAT MAN! (Morrisville’s goalie ..supposedly he is really good don’t ask me his name though -shrugs-)

Some Lakers & those other guys

Face off:

I had really good seats in the student section I was Rink Side:

We lost the game so that was slighty disappointing. From what I’ve heard about how good our team is and the final scores I usually see you could tell that Saturday just wasn’t their day. They have been on the road for quite some time and when you are that good everyone is gunning for you. I’m not one to judge because we all lack effort sometimes. I’m writing this post instead of doing homework(shrugs) HEY MA ! lol.

All in All though I had the time of my life. I am definitely going to the next game. The student section is too live. I even started the “Lets Go Lakers” chant in the 3rd period when I worked up some nerve. So its official you can’t come to Oswego either as a student or a visitor and NOT go to a game that’s a crime. UPD will arrest you.

-Lifetime Laker Fanatic Now

Broomball Triggers Competition at Oswego State

Broomball? Um, what is that?”

That was my initial response three years ago when my new friend, Hannah, asked my roommate, neighbors and I to play in a broomball league throughout a portion of the semester. I had no idea what this game was, nor had I ever heard of it. But did that stop me from playing? Not a chance.

Broomball, she explained in a less efficient manner, is a game similar to ice hockey. There are two teams consisting of six players, including the goaltender. The object of the game is to score more goals than the other team. Sounds simple, right? Well, take off those ice skates and put on sneakers, and instead of a hockey stick, replace it with a “broom.” Oh, and you get a miniature ball (about the size of the balls you use when you play basketball in your room, with the hoop attached to the back of the door) instead of a puck.

Needless to say, I fell in love with the game. We played various teams at around 11 p.m. every week, providing a relief from homework. My friends and I were so psyched about it, we even planned to sign up every year for the rest of our college career. It was freshman year then.

We were intense players freshman year.

It’s senior year now and I played broomball again for the first time last night since freshman year. College got in the way — suddenly my classes were harder, I had to work more hours and homework became more prevalent than gallivanting across the ice. Last night, however, kicked off a fierce competition between the employees at Campus Recreation and Cooper/Glimmerglass Fitness Centers. Although every member of my team (the fitness centers) hadn’t played in the same amount of time as myself or longer, and Campus Rec plays nearly every day, we couldn’t say no when they challenged us. So I put the homework aside for an hour and shuffled onto the ice once more.

After two 20-minute periods of a lot of falling and checking into the boards, Campus Rec added their first tally to the win column with a 5-0 victory. However, they believe that this was a one-time deal. What they don’t realize is that we don’t give up that easily. I have a feeling that I’ll be on the ice much more often this semester, whether I like it or not. My co-workers and boss might get upset if I don’t.

Broomball originated in Canada, but is now played across the world, particularly in the U.S., Australia and Japan. It’s a recreational sport, but play can often get intense. By the end of the game, I was sweating through my face mask and my shirt had subtle sweat stains. Not bad when I was playing in a freezing hockey rink and I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants.  It definitely made up for my lack of a workout yesterday; I burned about 476 calories in an hour. So if you ever hear broomball being promoted in your area, don’t be afraid to give it a shot!

Have you ever heard of or played broomball before? What do you think about the sport?

A Weekend Split

The first road trip is always a big test for a team, especially when it involves a 9 hour bus ride. Our destination: Adrian, Michigan . . . and our goal: Beat Em’!  The trip begins with giving jobs to every player, whether it be packing the stick bag or just grabbing the coaching board. Usually the more heavy work goes to the freshmen– everyone does their time. It’s just a seniority thing. Once we get the bus packed it’s time for some beautiful singing from the freshmen until we get off campus– just a little tradition we have to start the trip off right. Once we get settled down most players either do homework or take a nap. Then comes the next typical question by any athlete, “where’s the food?”

Four hours into the trip we stopped at Wegman’s. Each of us were allotted $12 to spend on whatever our little hearts desired. A teammate (Emi) and I decided to pool our money together. With it we each got an entree (chicken) and two sides (squash and green beans), a roll of spicy salmon sushi, two spring rolls, and a mixed concoction from the salad bar. Pretty good for two people.

With bellies full we popped in a movie, Get Him To The Greek. That killed about 2 hours of the bus ride  which was followed by some more napping. Finally we arrived at the hotel and were divided up into rooms. As soon as our heads hit the pillows we were out like a light. 8:45 AM Breakfast time. 11 AM Pre-Game Skate. 3 PM Pre-Game Meal at Adrian College’s dining hall. 5:15 Team Meeting in the locker room. Warm up at 5:30 and then the 60 minute clock started at 6pm.

Our warmup on the ice was good but not great. I think our legs were a little dead from the 9 hour bus ride. I also think that we underestimated Adrian and the type of intensity they were going to come out with. The first period they were all over us, constantly pressuring us in our own end, and making us cough up the puck. The second and third period were better but not enough to catch up to Adrian with a 2-0 lead.

As the buzzer sounded, I left the ice feeling disappointed in our team’s overall performance. I definitely felt that we could’ve won the game and that we should’ve been more prepared mentally for the game. However, the mental aspect is something only an individual player can control. I think that will be one of the things our team will need to work on this year. We need to be mentally prepared for every game and not walk in like it’s just another game. Every game is a test, every game is an opportunity to climb a little higher up the mountain.

Our second game was exactly how we need to be for every future game. Everything just clicked in our off-ice and on-ice warmup and from the first drop of the puck. We knew what to expect and instead of trying to play to them we made their team adjust to us. We dominated in every area of the ice. After the 1st period it was clear who was controlling the game. The ice in Adrian’s zone was completely cut up and the ice in our end looked like the Zamboni had just iced the surface. The energy in the dressing room was amazing and everyone was completely focused. The next two periods we dominated and the final score was 3-1.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we laid on the grass outside of the bus waiting for the rest of our teammates. There were about five us just lying there, looking up a the clear blue sky. The temperature was just perfect, and just above us were the Canadian and American flags flapping in the wind. It was almost too good to be true. It felt so good to leave Adrian with a win. Yes, it would have been better to win both but I think losing taught us a valuable lesson; we need to come prepared to every single game because you never know what to expect.

This year I am very excited for our team. I know we are going to accomplish great things for this program. Will it be difficult? Yes, of course it will but I think that’s what makes it that much more worth it.

Getting Flexible with Tara Stiles

I don’t know about everyone else, but I take the term “group exercise class” very seriously. As in, I don’t go unless I have a friend tagging along. Call me crazy but I need to have that moral support when I’m exercising in front of a group of strangers and the instructor can zero in on me at any second. I know from working at a gym that most instructors don’t judge (unless you show up to spinning class in cutoff jeans and hiking sneakers), but you never know about the other participants.

That’s why I dragged my best friend, Liz Shaftic, to a new yoga class when she came to visit here in NYC. After taking a six hour bus ride to arrive at 42nd Street at 12:30a.m. on a Friday night, you’d think I’d let her snag some extra shut-eye the next day, right? Wrong. We were up bright and early to head to Tara Stiles’ Strala Yoga in NoHo.

Due to some unexpected subway construction that seriously derailed our arrival, Liz and I kicked things off to a good start by showing up nearly a half hour late. However, we were still able to grab a yoga mat and jump into downward dog with one of the most prominent yoga instructors in the nation (Not to mention her husband, Michael Taylor, who’s studied and practiced Eastern movement and healing techniques for more than two decades, joined us for class).

Now, before you start thinking I’m a huge yoga guru because I work at FITNESS and really love participating in fitness-related activities, let me explain something: yoga has never been on the top of my priority list. I usually forget to stretch before and after my workouts (I’ve gotten better, though!), so contorting my body into various positions and holding them peacefully is not something I’m usually good at. But being the adventure-seeker that I am, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Although the “Strong” class I took is normally an hour and 15 minutes long, I was only there for 45 minutes and I still got a sweat-inducing, muscle-blasting workout. Tara took us through a variety of poses that didn’t just stretch the muscles. We did core, leg and butt exercises that really strengthen the muscles as well. By the end, my tank top was drenched with sweat and I realized I shouldn’t have bothered to shower before class. Don’t forget I was only there for 45 minutes — I can only imagine what I would have looked like if I was there for the full class.

Tara was also extremely nice and helpful with each class participant. She corrected my form when necessary, as a good instructor should, but she didn’t point it out to the rest of the class. In the middle of a pose, she quietly walked over and adjusted my body. And to make things less embarrassing, she cracked a joke and always had a bright smile. I noticed she was like this with all the participants rather than just with me because she knows I work at FITNESS.

Although all these things are great, I haven’t even gotten to the best part: the price. Yoga classes in NYC are typically $20 per class and can be close to $300 a month if you’re a regular goer. But Strala Yoga offers a unique, affordable opportunity: $10 a class.

“I want to make yoga affordable for everyone so that it can be something that’s easily integrated into everyday life,” Stiles told me after class. “We make the classes enjoyable and affordable, so we always have people coming back for more.”

This really could be the best deal around. So if you’re in NYC, pick up your yoga mat (or rent one there for $2) and head over to Strala Yoga. I promise, you won’t regret it. And look for me while you’re there — I’ll probably be the girl near the back trying to twist in various directions.

Tantalizing mind games

Ghana just beat the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup :) My friend Jenny who I met in Ghana is at the World Cup; I hope she saw it. My boyfriend and family says I have no national pride, which is slightly true. I was rooting for Ghana because I want to see a country whose main sport (arguably only main sport) is football succeed at what they do best. I get annoyed with the inherent winner-take-all attitude of American athletics. Why do we HAVE to be the best at every single sport in existence? Ghana beat the U.S. in two consecutive World Cups. Should we have hard feelings because the U.S. lost or should we be proud that a country whose intense focus on football reaped winnings?

I choose to sympathize with Ghana and give them as much congratulations as they deserve. I hope they win the World Cup!

Moving on to the title of this blog, “Tantalizing mind games,” I’ve been racking my brain recently with trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my life in the next year. A lot of good things have happened to me over the past couple of months. Got several big-ticket scholarships, got to go to Scotland, got to see the family in California, got my summer job back, and got to move in (partially) to my apartment in Oswego.

It’s hitting me every day: holy cow – I’m going to be a graduated senior within the next year, and I’m going to have to figure my life out!

I have so many thoughts running through my head, hence the mind games. I’ll think of possibilities for employment, where I’m going to live, how I’m going to afford everything. It’s like chaos in my head. I love to plan things out from week to week and have intricate details about what I’m going to be doing. The problem with planning for my life after college is that I can’t plan out what I don’t know!

I’ll be graduating with a journalism BA and global studies minor (which sounds good on paper but doesn’t actually count for anything concrete). I KNOW that I want to work as a writer/communications person for a nonprofit that works toward equal human rights/eco-justice/environmental justice. I want to be with my boyfriend, Josiah. The problem with that is that we have to wait until he finds out where he’s getting into law school. The options are: UCLA, UC Berkeley, San Diego Law School, possibly Georgetown, San Francisco School of Law, and others. This means that I have to find a job wherever he’ll be located. I wish I knew so I could start looking!

I also want to go to grad school for either journalism, nursing, environmental science, or global/international studies/diplomacy. They’re related, right? Sounds near impossible, but I think that our generation will be one where everyone has five careers or something. Hopefully.

Do you see my predicament? This is a dysfunctional blog – just like my creative non-mathematical mind on Sudoku. Sometimes I naively plead: why can’t this be easy?! Growing up is definitely not easy. I look forward to figuring out what I’m going to do. Hope these mind games clear up!