Sexist spectators

Lex Higbee
Staff Writer

Our school prides itself on its athletic success, but are male athletes the only ones getting the attention?
Some of the most successful teams on campus are made up of women, yet they don’t get the same amount of support as the men. Every team works hard so that when it’s game time, they are ready to compete and show everyone what the Marlins are made of.
“It’s definitely frustrating, especially because I experienced it as a player as well,” said Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Andrea Ushinski “When I coached at Lynchburg everyone came to the games, both girls and boys.”
There are a good amount of parents who make it to games on a regular basis, but not many students do.
“A lot of the women’s parents will not only come out to watch them play, but then will stay for the men and vice versa,” said Associate Athletic Director Jeffrey Bowers.
Parents watching their own kids and staying to watch others is a great example to students. Those parents don’t have to stay and cheer on other players, but they choose to show support and pride for all athletes.
“This is a huge soccer community and we get a lot of those people coming out as well,” said Bowers.
The same cannot be said for the basketball teams.
When the women’s basketball team plays at home, the amount of students that attend the game could fit into less than one section. When the men play, the gym is packed to capacity.
“The quality of basketball adds a great atmosphere to watch,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach Dave Macedo. “We’ve been able to be pretty successful at home.”
The increasing amount of pre-game activities held for students attending the games has benefited the men’s basketball game attendance, but has posed even further problems for the women.
“It is also disheartening when certain pre-game activities are planned during our game-time,” said Ushinski.
While the Wesleyan Activities Council does a great job running different events for the sports teams, the timing seems a bit off. Instead of hosting a tailgate outside of the gym while the women are playing and drawing the crowd more away from the game, there could be more activities inside the gym to help keep people in their seats.
Coaches have had different ideas about how to increase the amount of students that come out to all sports games.
“I think awareness is the biggest thing,” Macedo said. “It’s tough cause a lot of games overlap. I know we have a lot of teams supporting each other and we just need to keep letting people know when people are playing.”
“One major way is through friends,” said Bowers. “It helps when you know people outside of your sport.”
The more people are aware of games for all sports, the more there could be a fan base that all teams deserve.
“Women also don’t support women’s sports,” Ushinski said. “If we don’t support women’s basketball, why would anyone else want to?”
Marlin pride needs to extend past the popular men’s sports, and be used to support all teams. This will not only encourage student athletes, but make our Marlin Nation even stronger.