Gender and sports

By Emily Brooks
Staff Writer

“Okay, what about us? Hey, we’re here too. They didn’t even recognize us,” said girls’ basketball player Yancey Luft.
Luft and several other girls’ basketball players say they were not adequately supported last year, a year in which the team advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs, the furthest in the history for girls’ basketball at Northwood.
“[It makes me angry] that the Nuthouse shows up for the third quarter of our game and just sits down. When the guys start, they stand up and start screaming and cheering,” said Luft, referring to last year’s season.
In what seems to be the most talked about controversy between girls’ and boys’ sports at Northwood, many fans tend to watch and cheer on boys’ teams opposed to girls’ teams. This lack of support shown to the players enraged many of the girls’ basketball players last season.
Alex Plummer, a leader of the Northwood Nuthouse, said that the Nuthouse makes an effort to support girls’ sports as well as boys’ sports.
“As one of the leaders of the Nuthouse, I feel that Landis [Barber] and I have made an effort to be more supportive of sports other than just boys’ basketball,” said Plummer. “This year, the Nuthouse is not sexist, period.”
But Luft feels that not enough has changed, and references last month’s season opener, “Charger Madness.”
“[The boys’ team] got to do their little warm ups and show off, and we didn’t get to do that; we didn’t even get introduced,” said Luft.
Hannah Lawrence, a varsity soccer player as well as a member of the Nuthouse, shared her thoughts on the controversy.
“[The girls’ team] made it really far last year and I didn’t know about it [when it happened]. They just don’t get as much attention [as the boys’ team],” said Lawrence.
Throughout the past few decades, boys’ sports, such as basketball, have typically been more popular, have had more attendance and are discussed more. Basketball player Kerri Snipes gave insight to why she thinks that is.
“For most people, boys’ games are more exciting because they can dunk, and they are faster,” said Snipes. “Boys are just usually better at sports than girls, but that doesn’t mean that the girls aren’t good too.”
Luft had a similar opinion.
“I feel like the fans see the girls as wimpy, and not as good as the guys. I [know] we aren’t as good as the guys, but we can still put on a show,” said Luft. “We went to the Elite Eight last year.”
Plummer, an avid sports fan, shared his thoughts on the issue.
“I enjoy boys’ basketball games more because it’s more of a show, more entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I love the girls’ basketball team, as well as their games,” said Plummer.
In 1972, Title IX of the education amendments was enacted into law. Title IX prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating against students or employees based on sex. This law applies to all women’s rights, but in this world today, the most common aspect of the law has to do with athletics. Prior to Title IX, only one in 27 girls played high school sports, and there were almost no college scholarship opportunities for female athletes.
Though Northwood correctly addresses and complies with the standards and requirements of Title IX, some female athletes feel like they are not treated the same in a social aspect as the male athletes.
“The boys get the advantage to have the later games, because people are off of work and are able to see their games,” said Snipes.
Varsity girls’ basketball coach Cameron Vernon sympathized with the girls.
“I think that most basketball fans like to come to the boys’ games, and a 6:00 p.m. starting time would be hard to get to. I understand why our female athletes would be upset about that,” said Vernon.
In addition to later game times, junior Gaby Mehringer added that the boys’ team is able to practice as long as they want to, having the later practice starting time.
“A lot of things are [different] for [the boys’ teams] so they can be comfortable,” said Mehringer.