Friday Night Lights

Hundreds of people are in the stands on a Friday night, cheering the boys on to victory against their rival school, Centennial. Everyone drinks their sodas and eats their popcorn while socializing with other students. Fast forward to a Saturday morning game and it is silent, as ten parents watch their girls play the same game against the same rival.

When it comes to the amount of support between girls and boys sports, Central and most other high schools tend to lean to more to the boy’s games.

As a cheerleader for three years, we were expected to attend every football game or boy’s basketball game to cheer the team on. While I think that the girls basketball team should also have a set of cheerleaders to cheer them on, my point in bringing this up is that looking at the crowds that go to the games of the boys, the stands were almost always full; the concession stands were full of things to choose from; there was a performance of some sort either from the dance team or the cheerleaders; they was bleacher bums  and there were companies who sponsored some of the games by hosting raffles.

Photo by Liz Brunson Photography

Photo by Liz Brunson Photography

When I went to my sister’s basketball games last year, everything was completely opposite. The stands were empty; there wasn’t a performance of any kind, companies didn’t try to sponsor the girls team, and the bleacher bums weren’t there. The support for the girls and boys teams are not equal in Champaign and they should be.

The level of support that the boys at the games receive results in the boys games being more interesting than the girls games. However, the only thing that makes one game more interesting than other games is the people. Even as a cheerleader, when I was on the floor doing the short cheers for the crowds, I felt the difference between the energies of a game that had more people there cheering compared to a game that had twenty people there.

This sexism doesn’t just apply to basketball, though. From what I experienced, it also happens in softball and baseball. The boys have a nicer field than the softball team, the turnout at the games of the boys tend to be higher than the turnout of the girls, regardless of who they play that day, and the boys have baseball gear, like bags and hats, that the softball team doesn’t.

I understand that boosters may raise the money to purchase all of the extra stuff that other teams do not have. However, boosters can only raise this money with the support of each person that buys the fundraising items that the team has at the time.

As a student body we have to try to change how we support our teams. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t support the boys at all because they should have fans in their stands too. I just think that students, parents and other members in Champaign should go out and support the girls teams equally. If you sit in the crowd with a group of friends and cheer as loudly as you do at the boy’s games, I think that the players from each of the girls teams would greatly appreciate you being there. Then, if a lot of people come and support the girls teams, the money would start to come in so that the girls can have bags and other gear like the boys.

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