As winter sports kick off, some athletes feel they are getting the short end of the stick. Women’s basketball, men’s basketball, and gymnastics all use the main gym for their games and meets, and the scheduling of these events is often difficult. Similarly, all basketball teams use the same gym for practices, and players have been voicing discontent on how practice space is shared.
Asha Johnson, senior and captain of the girls’ varsity basketball team, explained, “We have study hall right after school and then at 3:45 we get changed, and from 4 to 6 we have the left side of the gym for practice. But varsity guys get to practice in the gym right after school, we’re still stuck in only half the gym because then the JV team gets the other half. So basically while they have full priority, we only ever get half the gym.” However, Johnson believes that the use of the gym for games is fair, saying, “When we have a game one week, they have one the next.”
The gymnastics team uses a separate gym for their practices, but not for meets. Gymnasts still feel they are not getting adequate prioritization when it comes to meets. The team only had one scheduled home meet for the entire season, which kicked off the season two weeks ago. Senior and gymnastics captain Claire Schwartz stated, “We don’t get a senior night at Roosevelt. Instead, we are sharing a senior night with Holy Names at their home gym which is in Kent, which is a club gym. So it’s not really a senior night for us because it’s not here and nobody will come. Someone should have given us a home meet.” Schwartz explained that she understands that the majority of the scheduling for meet location is out of the school’s hands and under the control of the district, but that that doesn’t make it less fair. “I don’t want to say that basketball gets priority because I don’t know, but we’ve been trying to get another home meet for our Senior Night. We’ve talked to Mr. Katinas about it and he said that JVC has a game, and I feel like a varsity gymnastics meet should have priority over a men’s JVC basketball game.”
Both Johnson and Schwartz agree that this scheduling’s caused by the bias that so many people still hold against women’s sports. As far as turnout goes, Johnson shared that the men’s varsity team has significantly more spectators. Their first game of the season had more of an audience than usual due to Rider Crew, a newly formed club by ASR aiming to support all Roosevelt athletic teams. Johnson said, “if it hadn’t been for them we probably would’ve only had our best friends and parents there. It would’ve been empty stands.”
Johnson voiced that this is because of societal norms, saying, “Everybody thinks that guys’ sports are more entertaining, or that they’re better at sports so they get more attention. But from the people I talked to on Rider Crew they said it was a pretty good game… So I think you just have to give it a try before you automatically shut it down.”
Schwartz made similar comments in that meets get low spectator turnouts, but that their first and only home meet was supported strictly by Rider Crew, family, and close friends. “People don’t really know about it and understand what an interesting sport it is, and especially since there’s no other home meets I feel like we aren’t as important, and that we aren’t being prioritized.”
Featured Photo: While the student side is packed for the men’s basketball game, this was not so for the girls’ game. Photo by Ryan Henrie