When you walk into a boys sports game, like basketball, it’s exciting, it’s loud. The stands are full of students, parents and teachers and the crowd is brimming with energy and spirit. But when entering a girls game of the same sport, it usually feels different. Most of the attendees are parents, and there aren’t many students there, if any.
While some say the disparity is caused by the differences the way girls and boys play, I think differently. Ultimately, this disparity in attendance is caused by the subtle misogynistic trends that occur in school sports.
First, think about something: How often do you see boys sports games promoted, either on a poster at school or on social media? Pretty frequently (at least when we were still in school), right? But you can’t say the same for girls. Honestly, you’re lucky if you’ve seen even one. The Los Altos Blue Crew Instagram, @lahsbluecrew, rarely promotes girls sports.
What’s more is that cheer and dance only perform at football and boys basketball games. The cheerleading and dance team’s halftime performances are exciting and great ways to raise school spirit, especially at home games. The girls games lack this enthusiasm, which is disheartening for not only the crowd, but for the team.
Girls teams don’t get these resources or enough publicity because there is a preconceived notion in organizations like Blue Crew that promote school sports: people don’t want to attend the girls games and putting resources towards them would be a waste.
I just have to ask, why? In my experience, watching girls games is just as engaging and dynamic. The only downfall is the lack of music and yelling from the crowd, but with higher attendance, that’s a problem easily solved. With more people there, game organizers will have an actual reason to play music, have more engaging commentary on the game and have a fun halftime show.
Many people come to school sports games to hang out with their friends and have a fun night out, not because they’re overly interested in the gameplay. So with higher attendance and more school spirit surrounding the games, the energy that often comes with boys games can easily be matched.
Another reason attendance can be low is the timing of games. The girls basketball rival game against Mountain View was at 4p.m. on Saturday, January 11, while the boys counterpart of that game was at 7:45p.m. on Friday, January 3.
It’s clear which game will likely get higher attendance. People aren’t as compelled to go to games in the late afternoon, not only because they’re more likely to be busy at that time, but because they don’t get the same late night buzz and exciting energy.
It’s a trend across all sports: girls usually go earlier in the day, when people are still in school or otherwise busy, and boys get the optimal time for people to attend, in the evening. Boys sports get the themes, the publicity and the attention.
While some may argue that higher attendance should come first, and that the spirit and publicity will follow, that just isn’t realistic. People won’t go to a game if they know it isn’t going to be exciting, especially if they don’t know the sport well.
That’s why it’s important for school administration to allocate more funding and advertising towards girls sports. If people start seeing girls games promoted on their Instagram, and see fun themes promoted for them to dress up as, the attendance and school spirit at games will follow.