Recognize, Represent, Respect

Last year, the women’s soccer team’s playoff run extended into the third round, and the softball team’s into the fourth. Despite a slow start in district play, women’s basketball made an impressive push to the playoffs this season, even making the second round. Each team, loaded with star power and talent, are some of the most successful within the district annually and have some of the most electric games. However, each team suffers from the same dilemma: a lack of student fans.

“It would be great to have people come out more often,” senior soccer player Ally Townsend said. “There’s a stigma around men’s sports being better than women’s sports overall, which is true talent-wise. But competition-wise, I think it’s pretty equal.”

Townsend and the rest of the team have been ferocious competition for the rest of the district. They cruised to a 14-0-2 district record, taking home the district title and even pulling out a crucial victory against the rival Tompkins High School squad. 

“We stay composed as often as we can and we have really great communication throughout because we all have been playing for so long,” Townsend said. “It was hard adjusting [to Tompkins] because they play a very different style than we do, but I think we’ll be better next time.”

Even as they find themselves ranked number one in the region, the women’s soccer team still receives far less fan coverage than the men’s team, something the women’s basketball team also experienced.

“People underestimate the skill that we have,” junior basketball player Caitlyn Quintero said. “Our biggest supporters have been ourselves, to be honest.”

The state-ranked men’s basketball team found their stands packed to the brim in nearly every district game, a result of their state championship potential. Unfortunately, this caused an overall impressive season by the women’s team to go overlooked by many student fans. 

“We knew that we struggled in the first part of the district games, and so we knew that we had to bounce back,” Quintero said. “So, we decided to keep our energy going as a team and increase our energy so we can bounce back.”

Similar to basketball, softball plays at a high intensity and tries to bring as much energy to their games as possible.

“We try to be as hype as we can every single day. In the dugout especially, we’re being as loud as possible and cheering every single play and keeping the energy up out there,” senior softball player Emily Johnson said. “But, the more people that come out [to watch], the more energy there is.”

Unfortunately, those extra Spartan Crazies are all but absent, even for the highly successful softball team. In an anonymous survey with Seven Lakes students, more than 85% stated that they had attended more men’s sporting events than women’s. One group that has shown softball support, according to Johnson, was the baseball team.

“We don’t really get many people,” Johnson said. “[The baseball team] does play a big part in supporting us and we try and do the same.”

Even with other sports teams showing support, these highly talented athletes could benefit from their games being attended by more of their friends and peers. As women’s sports are frequently overlooked and underestimated, many students miss out on the chance at watching intense, highly competitive matches, especially in district play. 

“I’d say do what you want done for others,” Townsend said. “If you would want people to come out for you it’d be great to show your face at other things.”