ELHS sees generally smaller crowds at girls’ athletic events over boys’
By Amelia Anglin
The royal blue floor rumbles beneath the spectators and players as they anticipate the tip off of what is said to be the game of the year: East Lyme boys’ basketball vs. Waterford. A sea of black arms the East Lyme end of the “X,” while a solid blue wall of Waterford students face the opposite. The rivals’ faceoff received a crowd of 1500 (TheDay.com).
It is incredible that our school comes together as a student body in order to support each other, however this same amount of support is not even close when it comes to the girls sports teams at ELHS. So what was the hype like when the East Lyme girls’ basketball team played Waterford?
Not even close.
Granted, the girls’ competition didn’t have Dev Ostrowski and Mikey Buscetto squaring up in a dual for the decade, but the turnout was nowhere as impressive for the 72-63 win for the girls’ basketball team. Looking at the stands in the North Gym, the gaps are noticeable and apparent.
“Based on the amount of money that’s taken in, there’s generally a larger attendance at boys’ games than girls’ games,” said athletics administrative assistant Susan Fletcher.
The unbalanced crowds aren’t just in high school sports, but even Division I schools see wildly different numbers for boys’ and girls’ athletic events. During a game played against FSU on Jan. 7 this year, the Syracuse women received a crowd of 4,338 at home. A week later, the Syracuse men saw 21,259 spectators for their home game against Pitt on Jan. 16 (ESPN).
“I think it’s changing, but in general, depending on the level, depending on the game, people will go to a men’s sporting event in more numbers than they would a women’s,’” said head soccer coach at Conn College Norman Riker.
The issue carries into other sports as well, soccer being a prime example.
The numbers at Conn College soccer games are pretty evenly spread, but at East Lyme, ELGS games see less support.
“The guys games normally have more people in the stands than they do in the tailgate,” said senior and soccer captain Karlie Rowe. “We [girls] didn’t really have as many people in the stands as we did last year [2016 season].”
The difference is clearly present, but why? Boys’ basketball captain Dev Ostrowski discussed the promotion of athletic events through the morning news show and the Viking Saga. Ostrowski recognizes the attention that is drawn to the boys’ basketball team with the help of these outlets, but also sees the lack of representation for the girls’ events. Social media can be used to get word out in order to draw more spectators, but is often underutilized for girls’ events and may contribute to the fluctuating numbers.
The style of play for boys and girls is obviously different. Sometimes there is more physicality and speed to a boys game,in any sport. But whether it be basketball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, or baseball/softball, East Lyme needs to do a better job of supporting its Lady Vikes.
“Obviously the boys are good. We’ve all seen them play. But if you want to catch a good game you shouldn’t count us out. You might be surprised,” said girls’ basketball captain Megan Bauman.