Female Fanatics

Izy Scott, Art Director

First off, I am an avid fan of the Hooligans, Weirdos and Lions Den, and oftentimes find myself standing among the crowd of them at sporting events. Belligerent heckling of the opponent and hazing the other team’s usually-barren student section, LT students know how to lightheartedly pummel the opponents confidence, no doubt.

I have a bone to pick, however, and in no way is it about how LT’s student sections are cheering, but rather who they are cheering for. Experiencing almost four years at LT, the ratio of girl-to-guy sports that I have attended heavily leans towards guys sports, and I have no one to blame but myself.

However, that means if your ratio stands similar to mine, then it’s on you, too. It’s on all of us, as a group of gregarious game-winning students to support not only the guys, but the girls who are putting just as much time and energy into their sport. We are not living up to our potential as an inclusive student body until we attend and support as many girl sporting events as guys events.

Of course, it’s impossible to cheer for girls wrestling or girls football because they simply do not exist, but girls cross country and swimming had profound seasons this year and their fan sections never surpassed half of a football student section. That needs to change. I know high school is a mental harassment of being told what to do and how to think, but the inequality of support for female and male sports is not something to be swept under the bleachers.

We have worked too hard to create an open, enthusiastic and athletic community of Lions, and to not cheer for those wearing a ponytail just because they aren’t stereotypically as athletic as the man, completely negates these efforts. Female athletes work just as hard as male athletes. With the lack of support they receive, I even argue that females have to work mentally harder than males considering they aren’t playing with the glory of fan attention.

Attending every single female sporting event is not realistic nor what I think is the solution to this inequality. But if everyone put in the effort to attend the same amount of female sports as male at LT, then the playing field of school spirit would even out dramatically. Take LT girls and boys basketball, for example. I attended both of their first games of the season and (insert results here. Boys play on the 24th girls on the 20th. I want to take pictures of both fan bleachers and put them on the website to show the comparison, assuming the results prove my point. If not, then I will switch to soccer and use PepsiCo crowd vs a crowd from last year’s girls team.)

I’ve learned one thing about LT students for sure, and it’s that they’re incredibly competitive, not only academically, but athletically, as well. So to only show support for the guys automatically depletes the confidence and possibly performance of the girl’s teams. Only giving full support to 50% of our sporting teams does not align with LT’s mission of pledging to “foster the full… physical growth of all students,” and based on LT’s Mission Statement, we should enjoy both genders of sports with equal enthusiasm.

There are a number of students who do attend girls sports regularly, and we should all not only applaud them, but join them. Join in on the fun and excitement that girls sports have to offer. Plan themes, promote fundraisers, cheer as loud as you would for the boys teams. When the game ends, every girl on the team should feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for achieving greatness in front of her peers.

The truth is that we’re all Weirdos, Hooligans and in the Lion’s Den, because we’re all LT students. From the freshman in the back row to the seniors leading them, we need to become more inclined to the equality of male and female sports, because I can guarantee at least half of the voices cheering on the boys are female athletes who show school spirit even when it is not returned.

Girls basketball is in season, but I don’t see anyone getting weird for them. Girls soccer starts this spring, and I’m ready to compare how many hooligans show for their games compared to the number that showed for the boys. The same goes for lacrosse, badminton, tennis, or whatever the sport may be, and just because we’re girls, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the same excitement from our LT community who we proudly represent on our jerseys.

President Barack Obama said recently that “Playing like a girl means you’re a badass,” and when the match begins, we’ll sure as heck be putting on an entertaining show as fearless as the guys. Don’t believe me? Then come watch for yourself and prove to me that girls don’t work, sweat or bleed for their sport as much as guys do, because I will fight like a girl for the gender equality of sports, and after attending one game, I think you will, too.

So, when the ponytails are tied and the whistle blows, will you be there to watch?