Dive in ‘n’ run

Girls and boys sports deserve equal support

As I was tapping through Instagram stories over winter break, I kept seeing the same post, over and over. Naturally, being the curious person I am, I investigated to see what it was about.
Posted by @whitelandbeat, the sports news network for Whiteland Community High School, it contained a meaningful message from their Athletic Director, David Edens, and it called for equal support of girls and boys sports.
As soon as I read it, I knew I needed to use my next column to talk about it. Across the U.S., people watch more male sports than female sports, according to a June 2021 survey by Statista.
I see this same theme here at SHS. Our cheer team, for example, is at every single boys basketball game, home and away, but only cheered at three girls games this year, according to junior cheerleader Ellie Herwehe. I see no reason why they couldn’t split their time at games 50/50.
Look at Booster Club. Among other things, their job is to rally school spirit and get people to games, which they do primarily through social media promotion. For basketball, they have made eight posts for the boys team compared to just three for girls. The teams had one double header game versus Perry, for which both teams were included on the post. Though the account isn’t completely one-sided, the vast majority of their posts go towards promoting male sports.
Additionally, boys basketball games are given much more optimal game times. This season, there are 21 boys games scheduled on weekends, which is a prime time for spectators, compared with only 11 for girls. The boys have nearly twice as many games at times that are accessible to fans than the girls do.
Even during practices, the boys are given priority. The boys practice in the historic fieldhouse much more often than the girls do. While both gyms do have basketball courts, it just seems to be sending a very clear message about who we value more highly here at SHS.
While I know that these discrepancies may not be intentional, they are still unacceptable. Today’s society values men’s sports over women’s, but we can change that narrative. Look at the U.S. women’s national soccer team. Last year, they finally won a gender discrimination lawsuit that they had filed in 2019, according to CBS News. Now, the teams have equal pay.
The women weren’t satisfied with how they were treated, so they changed it. They got others on board, hired lawyers, got the public invested in the lawsuit and eventually won.
Just to make myself clear, I am by no means meaning to take away support from male athletes at SHS. I just want to bring attention to the disparity in support

And, even though I do think that there is unequal treatment of male and female athletes at SHS, I don’t want to overlook the opportunities given to female athletes here either. On Feb. 1, for example, there was a breakfast for the National Women in Sports Day, where members of the Indiana Fever basketball team came to talk with female athletes from SHS and PMHS. I went, and it was an incredible experience where I was encouraged by so many strong women.

between the two and ask for us to do better.

And although this great opportunity was just over a week ago, let’s not stop there. The power lies in our hands. We, as students, are capable of giving better support to our female athletes at SHS.All athletes, both male and female, put in hours upon hours of work to be able to perform, and it’s our job to support them. All of them.

It’s just as Edens wrote, “(Female athletes) put the time in the weight room, they watch film, they game plan, they do ALL the things that successful athletes need to do, yet we don’t show them the love that we show their male counterparts! We have to do better!”