Author Archives: haileysjohnson

When will things change?

For over 120 years, women have been fighting for gender equality in the sport industry. 

            “I hope in my profession when I graduate, I can help with a change and educate more people in what they can do to help,” said Miranda McNalley, a senior sports and fitness administration major at Piedmont University. 

            McNalley presented her research on “The Difference in Salary, Media Coverage, and Amenities Between Genders in Professional Sports” at Piedmont’s annual Symposium, held on April 14, 2021. McNalley is a huge sports fan and as a woman athlete herself, she understands the problem women face when it comes to gender equality in the sports industry. McNalley gathered information and statistics on the unfairness between professional sport teams, including their salaries. 

            “Equal play and equal pay has been talked about for years. The Women’s National soccer team is better than the Men’s National [soccer] team, yet the women get paid way less,” McNalley said. 

            In McNalley’s presentation, she stated that the USWNT (United States Women’s National soccer team) was paid $2 million for winning the world championship, while the USMNT (United States Men’s National soccer team) received $9 million for only making it to the sweet 16 round of the tournament. The women’s team also has to play on turf, “which is artificial grass that is made out of tires,” McNalley added. The men’s team, however, has the luxury of playing on real grass. 

            Not only did McNalley discuss the pay difference and the teams’ playing conditions, but also the difference in media coverage. Forty percent of all sport participants are female; however, women’s sports only get 4% of media coverage. Women are also more likely to be portrayed in sexually provocative ways when they are covered by the media. They are more recognized for their impressive bodies, rather than their impressive skills on the field. 

            “I think especially being a female and going into the workforce next year, I would definitely like to have more fair opportunities,” said senior Cassie Kirk, a student-athlete who attended McNalley’s presentation. 

            McNalley also brought attention to the difference in amenities between genders. She gave the example of the NCAA mistreating the women basketball teams at a tournament this year. The women were given a few dumbbells for their workouts, while the men received an entire gym with full equipment to use and train with. 

            “As has been seen with the recent NCAA basketball and volleyball tournaments, our society has a long way to go in terms of gender monetary equity,” said Abbey Dondanville, associate dean for health sciences and McNalley’s faculty advisor. 

            “Colleges and professional teams fall back on ‘market share’ as explanation for the lower salaries and fewer amenities,” Dondanville said. “But it’s a problem they created and perpetuate. Many in our society see men as ‘athletes’ and then ‘girls playing games.’” 

            McNalley said she has a passion for sports and equality for all. This helped her research her topic and gather the information she did. McNalley wants to see a change in this industry and wants there to be equal opportunities for all athletes no matter who you are, what you look like, or how you play. Athletes should come together as one to end the divide between the salary differences, media coverage amount, and unfair amenities. 

            “I love sports and I hope to see a change in the future, and I hope to be a part of that change,” said McNalley 

Piedmont College Disaster Drill

 

March 24, 2021 at approximately 10 a.m., students at Piedmont College began to witness harsh winds, debris, and chaos as the Swanson center filled with smoke.

            “The disaster drill here at Piedmont is an annual event we have for our nursing, athletic training, theatre, and mass communication majors,” said Professor Karen Greilich, the organizer of the event.

             Thankfully the commotion of smoke and debris were staged to help make the experience appear more real. This year, Piedmont simulated a tornado and fire to help about 200 nursing students get some hands-on learning experiences. Not only were the students involved, but this drill also included the City of Demorest Police and Fire departments, Habersham County Medical Center and EMS, Habersham County Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office, 911/Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security, Habersham Search and Rescue, and District Two Public Health Administration. 

         “My role was to flirt with the rescuers and ask if they wanted to go get a drink and I made it convincing by doing just that,” said Caitlyn Worthy, a junior and nursing major at Piedmont. Caitlyn’s role was to act as a victim who was trying to distract the rescuers to make it even more challenging for them to stay professional and do their job. Both juniors and senior nursing majors were able to participate in this event. The juniors were playing the victims and were all covered in fake blood and had fake diagnoses. The seniors were the nurses and had to help treat all the “patients.” Caitlyn said, “My favorite part was to see the victims acting in a real way to better the drill and make it as real as possible.”

            Professor Greilich said, “Last year we were unable to do the disaster drill due to COVID-19, however we were fortunate enough to make it happen this year. This is an annual event and about the 14th or 15th year we have had the chance to do it.” When asked if this is an event that will continue for years to come, she said, “Absolutely, it will only get better and more real.” 

            Gabby Lotter, a senior and athletic training major at Piedmont also had the opportunity to participate in this event. “This teaches students how to collaborate with other healthcare professionals in the event of an emergency.” Not only were the students told to act like it was a real tornado and fire, so were all the emergency and medical professionals that came to participate. They also made the event seem extremely real as the firefighters wore all their actual gear, and medical professionals helped guide and direct the nursing students. 

            Not only did the nursing and athletic training students make it believable, but so did the theatre and mass communication majors as well. Theatre students were at the Swanson Center hours before the event kicked off to help dress up the victims and make them look as if real injuries had occurred. The mass communication majors had students taking video and interviewing people of all kinds at the scene as if it were a real breaking news story.

            Overall, this experience had a positive impact on all individuals involved. It gave the nursing students at Piedmont a closer look at what a real-life situation in the medical filed may look like one day. It allowed theatre students to practice their acting skills and make the situation as believable as possible. It also gave the mass communication students an opportunity to practice their reporting, interviewing, and video shooting skills. This drill is something that not many schools give their students the opportunity to participate in, however, Piedmont goes above and beyond to give their students the most knowledge and experience in their field of study before their time at Piedmont has concluded.

            Gabby Lotter stated, “This experience was really cool and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”

McCormack’s Journey

After never having a desire to coach, Timmy McCormack is now on his 18th year of being a soccer coach. 

  “I was a player in college and the high school I graduated from needed coaches and so I went back and coached for them a bit and I just enjoyed it,” he said. “As a young kid I realized it could be a career moving forward.” 

            McCormack is a 2008 graduate of Huntingdon College with a bachelor of arts in history. He also received a master of arts in teaching from Piedmont College in 2010. McCormack says it was “fairly easy” when deciding to come to Piedmont. McCormack’s college coach was asked to come to Piedmont, and with the experience he had coaching his high school team, his coach asked him if he would follow him to Piedmont to help coach alongside him. “It was an easy place to land,” says McCormack. 

            McCormack is currently in his fourth season as the head women’s soccer coach at Piedmont College. McCormack was quite familiar with the green and gold as before he became the head coach, he served as the assistant coach for eight seasons, seven of them were with the Lady Lions. McCormack’s coaching credentials are legit, as he holds a National Goalkeeping Diploma, Advanced National Diploma as well as a National ‘B’ License from the United States Soccer Federation. 

            McCormack has taught all ages and groups. He has coached men’s teams, women’s teams, girls’ teams and boys’ teams. He’s also coached youth soccer teams. McCormack said he can’t choose which group was his favorite to coach. With all this experience from coaching, McCormack has gained knowledge not only of soccer, but of some important life lessons, which has shaped his core values: “relentlessness, resilience and integrity.” Having integrity while you do it all, usually things end up the right way.” 

            McCormack said he wasn’t the best student growing up. He believed that he could be a great athlete and slack off in the classroom. Not giving his full effort in the classroom began to affect his athletic side. He thought he could separate the two and be a good player and not have to worry about being a good student. McCormack quickly realized that how you are academically reflected how you are athletically, so he began to clean up his act. 

            “It’s made me a better person, it’s made me a better husband, it’s made me a better family member,” he said. 

            Not only does McCormack care about how his players are on the field, but he also cares about how they are off the field as well. McCormack says that he enjoys hearing from players he’s coached in the past. He mentions how he likes to see the young players he has coached, graduate from high school and go off to play at the colligate level. 

            “I think if you can have a positive effect on people, that all starts to put you in the right spot to have success.

Finding my way

All of my life I have been the type of person who liked things to be familiar and comfortable and was afraid of change. Even though I should of been use to it with how much my family moved growing up, I still never was a fan of new and different challenges.

I was born and raised in Arizona and never once did it cross my mind that there was even a possibility that I wouldn’t live in this state for the rest of my life. I had an amazing childhood. I am the second oldest in my family and have four siblings, 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Having such a big family definitely kept things in my life busy and interesting. I started playing soccer at a very young age and I couldn’t tell you a time I don’t remember being on a team. My family was very supportive and dedicated a lot of time and money into my soccer career. I played travel soccer for 10 years and learned a lot about myself. I found out I had a natural talent for this sport and I fell absolutely in love with it. I created relationships with teammates and coaches that really left an impact on my life. Playing soccer led me to finding some of my best friends and I created some of the best memories. We were able to travel not only the country together but the world. I was very blessed and grateful for the opportunity I had playing soccer and growing up in this beautiful state.

When I was 15 years old, my life changed in a way I never expected. My dad had accepted a new job opportunity and we were all so proud and thrilled for him. At least we were until we found out we were moving across the country. After my parents had told us the news, we had 3 weeks to pack up our house and say goodbye to all our family and friends and move to Newnan, Georgia. I felt like I was in a dream and that there was no way my family could possibly be moving so far away. I had an extremely hard time with the move. I was leaving one of the best soccer teams on the west coast, the high school I’ve always wanted to graduate from, and everything I’ve always had known. I can still remember my last day of school and soccer practice like it was yesterday. I remember the tears, hugs and heartbreak. It was definitely one of the hardest moments in my life.

After moving over a thousand miles away from all my family and friends, it took me quite some time to realize this wasn’t a trip, we weren’t going back to Arizona, it was now permanent. I cried for months and was honestly depressed for the first semester of my sophomore year at my new high school. However right around my birthday, and beginning of our second semester, I met someone who changed my life forever. Sieria Behringer introduced herself to me in the locker room before our weight training class that semester. Little did I know at the time that this girl would be my life long best friend.

Sieria introduced me to everyone at our school. I was known as “the new girl from Arizona” for the longest time. But I was okay with it, I got a lot of attention and I kind of enjoyed it. I met all of my best friends that semester. We went on some of the coolest most memorable adventures. We all had just got our drivers licenses, so we had the world at our fingertips. That summer I really had the chance to get to know myself and learn things about myself that I didn’t even know. I met someone really special and fell in love, learned a lot of important lessons, and grew so much as a person. I began to love Georgia and all the people I had met and became so close with. I had such a fun high school experience in Newnan and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was able to play both travel and high school soccer, and that’s how I found Piedmont College.

My move to Georgia turned into one of the biggest blessings in my life. I grew as a person and truly found who I am. I have met some of the most amazing people in my life and I will forever be grateful for that. It made my fear of change turn into an excitement for new adventures. I am so lucky to have found my way to Georgia and I’m excited to see where my life will take me in the future and I can’t wait.