Mikaela Rabizadeh social media editor
It’s game day. The stands are packed with roaring fans. Cheerleaders rally from the sidelines, heartening the crowd with backflips, roundoffs and catchy fight songs. The band plays to the beat of the match, reaching a crescendo when the home team snatches the ball. Students, parents, alumni and faculty all congregate not only to parade school pride, but to experience the backbone of every high school football or basketball game: the pep.
While extremely underestimated, pep is instrumental to high school athletics. It demonstrates school-wide support for our sports teams, all while promoting a sense of community. Pep not only shapes the atmosphere of a game, but builds up anticipation days prior; spirit weeks, pep rallies and other school events all contribute to pregame enthusiasm. Unfortunately, some teams receive less recognition than others when it comes to school spirit.
Aside from the recent low the school has been facing with school spirit, the spirit we do have has been overwhelmingly unbalanced. It may be that some sports are naturally more exciting to watch than others, the ambiance of a golf tournament differs from that of a basketball game, yet the imbalance boils down to the discrepancies between boys and girls sports. Pregame “hype” is one factor.
It’s no question that girls athletics, in both high school and professional sports, is underappreciated. One example is the the salary discrepancies between basketball players in the WNBA versus their male counterparts in the NBA. As one of the highest paid WNBA players, MVP Nneka Ogwumike made only $95,000 in 2016, while NBA MVP Stephen Curry made $11.4 million that same year. The same maltreatment is shown on a national scale, when on their flight to the 2012 Olympics, the Japanese womens soccer team flew coach, while the men’s team flew in business class.
Although this matter plays into controversies over gender equality, for Beverly, it also has to do with the extent to which girls sports are advertised to the student body. Organized spirit weeks, featuring blackout attire theme on game day, span an entire five days dedicated to promoting boys basketball. Homecoming, although following a precedent set by past high school tradition, sparks school wide recognition for our male dominated football team. What about our girls sports? Where is the school wide recognition? Where is the pregame hype?
It’s time we give girls sports more attention than just a shout out at a lunchtime pep rally. It’s time we parade school pride for every team, regardless of gender. This way, girls sports will not only be recognized, but celebrated.