• September 16

Respect for women’s sports is hard to win

India Keene

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The Frederick High girls track team was home to individual and relay state championship winners, along with a 4×200 National Championship relay team and Jaida Smith, the 100 meter dash national champion. The girls lacrosse team finished the season as sectional semi finalists. Girls Swimming has opened the 2017 season with a 5-0 start.  Girls basketball advanced to the State Semi-finals in 2016, and have started the 2017 season with a  13-1 record.  Frederick High has many talented, division one bound female athletes and teams with state championship expectations…so why, as a school, do we not support them? Why does the intra city basketball game fill up noticeably more closer to 7 o’clock, when the boys game starts? Why do many students admit that they have never been to a lacrosse game, or swimming meet? This problem is a lot bigger than Frederick High.

Let’s use the NBA vs the WNBA as an example. The minimum salary for a WNBA player is $35,000 while for the NBA is is almost $900,000, nearly a million dollars. In 2015, the WNBA saw its lowest attendance, just above 7,000 attendees per game, while NBA was bringing in over 17,000. Because of the lack of fans and money spent on tickets, the WNBA does not bring in a profit, and is only still around because of the support of the NBA. This is the same sport, so what is the large difference that causes the wide gap between the leagues? For one who doesn’t watch the WNBA the answer would be it’s boring. But anyone who’s given it a chance and appreciates the sport knows that isn’t the case. Is it that women don’t dunk? Because the issue isn’t that they can’t because many can, they just don’t do it games  much.

Of course not all women athletes are ignored. Everyone fell in love with Gabby Douglas in 2012, then again with Simone Biles in 2016. Serena Williams is well respected and loved by many, and the women’s world cup gets worldwide attention. But these are exceptions and not the standard. It is also important to note how often times the female athletes that are recognized are praised for their beauty and looks. Even the women of the highest talents are reduced to their looks. This is a major flaw and takes away from the sport and further illustrates that women’s sports aren’t appreciated, but in some cases their looks are.

This lack of appreciation for women’s sports is a societal issue, not just a  Frederick High one. It trickles down through the sports we grow up watching, and because the rest of the world thinks women’s sports aren’t as interesting, our school community believes the same.  But at Frederick High we don’t have boys players dunking the ball every game, or a significant difference in the game play between boys and girls. If the teams weren’t successful there may be some logic, but that’s not the case. It’s unfair to wait until big championship games to support girls  teams, while attending every boy’s game in large numbers.

Perhaps your reason has nothing to do with gender, maybe you just don’t know the players. But remember, you only have four years here and it’s up to you to make the best of them. You’re missing out on passionate, energetic, intense games and matches because many are programmed to overlook women’s sports. And maybe it’s not your fault, because the media plays a part in this. Many women’s sports don’t have a major league, and the ones that do aren’t advertised or shown in prime time. Culture plays a part in this, but we can control the culture in our own little community here at Frederick High. We can create a culture of sport for every sports team, win or lose, male female. The hard working athletes at Frederick High (and all over the world) deserve our support, and maybe we can’t change the world (yet), but we can definitely change our school.

 

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