While women’s basketball took part in a student-athlete field day last May, sophomore guard Maddie Loder pulled out her camera and filmed her teammates, beginning the video with the phrase, “welcome back to my vlog.”
She said the vlog, which she posts to her YouTube channel about once a month, is a way to give people a glimpse into the lives of her and her teammates. Loder said that she, along with redshirt freshman forward Mayowa Taiwo and sophomore center Kayla Mokwuah, document road trips, team retreats and workouts through the vlog.
“As I’m getting older, I wish I would have done it earlier so I would have had all this stuff compiled from high school,” Loder said. “I feel like I’m forgetting more stuff from when I was in high school and now that I have this vlog, I want to keep all of my memories.”
Over the past 11 months, Loder has published 10 videos. The videos showcase her teammates touring hotel rooms and eating meals together during road trips to Dayton, Massachusetts and Villanova, as well as preseason workouts and a two–part series on a team weekend retreat to a ropes course in Virginia.
In her workout videos, Loder has recorded the team running and training around the Mall with the monuments in the backdrop. When the team hit the weight room, Loder was prepared with her camera, capturing the preseason strength training session.
In part one of the team’s retreat, Loder filmed the squad playing kickball, starting a campfire and roasting marshmallows while reciting “scary stories” to one another. In the second installment, she showed bonding events like a hike through the forest and ziplining around the ropes course.
Loder said she prefers to film on the road because the team spends more time together, giving her “a lot more content” to capture. She takes a minimum of one hour to edit each video, Loder said.
“I like to do road trips more because we’re out of our element and we’re more with each other,” Loder said. “In-home games we all have our different rooms, and when we go away there’s a lot more stuff that we do.”
Taiwo and Loder said they began watching women’s basketball players at BYU and a woman’s soccer player at Baylor on YouTube, which introduced them to student-athlete vlogging. But Loder said she wanted to use the vlog to log the lives of her and her teammates off the court.
“You see a lot more student-athlete vloggers popping up and that was the trend that at least I got on,” Loder said. “I wouldn’t say that I would show my side. They get to show what they do every day and I wanted to show what we do here, in D.C., at GW.”
Loder added that she wants to expand her video ideas to include “get ready with me” episodes while she prepares for a contest, but the team is often pressed for time before games.
“I want to do more sit down videos like challenges and stuff,” Loder said. “It’s just that we’re all so busy that nobody has free time. It’s hard to do that type of stuff, so that’s why it’s really spontaneous.”
Mokwuah said the vlogs have helped the team connect, especially for the four new additions who are still finding a place in the roster this season. She added that the freshmen have been eager to talk in front of the camera, and the whole team signs off videos together.
“It started off as a joke, and now as more people started watching, it’s been fun to do,” Mokwuah said. “And I think a lot of people are excited about it on the team.”
Taiwo said the videos can serve as a way for fans, students and prospective athletes to see behind the curtain and get a taste of GW student-athletes through Loder and her teammates. But she added that the videos are more of a way for her and her teammates to document the “little memories” they can look back on in later years.
“I think it’s really cool that Maddie started doing it because GW is not as big of a school in the area,” Taiwo said. “And if you’re thinking of coming here and you watch that kind of video, it’s so cool to show regular people what it looks like behind the scenes.”