by Katie M
Despite being the top ranked team in their division 2, the girls hockey team has experienced a significantly lower number of student attendance at games than the boys hockey team. This is due to sports gender, as all girls teams have less student participation than the boys teams. Some speculate that it is also due to the location of the games, or the order of the games. The athletics director and some of the girls on the team think that gender plays a definite role in this issue.
The athletics director, Mr. Maidment agreed, “I wouldn’t point to gender in just hockey, I don’t think it’s specifically hockey gender. Overall for all sports, attendance for girls is low.”
This problem isn’t just present in girls hockey, but for all sports the girls teams have a much lower attendance rate compared to the boys teams. Mr. Maidment made an estimate of 75 students for the boys, and 25 students for the girls from Duxbury. A big factor of this issue seems to be that in sports, boys teams are allowed to make contact, leaving more room for violence, while girls are not. Society has decided that the boys version of the sport is much more interesting to watch because it is much more physical.
There is no other reason that students shouldn’t be showing up for the girls games, “Maybe it’s the location, but people show up to the boys games,” Mr. Maidment said. So why do people simply care less about a team that is number 1 in division 2? Unfortunately, no one seems to have an answer.
All adults involved; athletics director, coaches, and parents think this incredibly impacts the morale of the girls, seeing everyone leave once their game begins. This may be true for other team members, but senior Grace L, one of the captains said, “It’s not bad, as long as my friends are there it’s fine.”
She expressed that it does bother her and the team sometimes, but for the most part if the people she wants to be there are present, then it’s okay. Grace also said that for playoffs and other tournaments the crowd is much bigger.
Senior Katie G had similar thoughts, “I never really thought about it before but it makes a lot of sense that people are more interested in boys hockey but not girls hockey. I guess it can be seen as boring, but that’s not anyone’s fault except for the sport rules. For us we will get a penalty if we are too physical.”
However, Katie G had a little more concern when it came to the attendance of her games, “I do care that not a lot of people show up to the games. Lately, more students have been but that’s because of the tournament. I do appreciate my friends that show up though. I can’t speak for the other girls but I guess it just depends on the person on how much it impacts them.”
To solve this problem, there are many things that the girls, and the parents are doing to help raise the attendance of the games. Mr. Maidment spread a bit of awareness about the problem by posting a picture of the empty stands on twitter with the caption, “I’m disappointed for the team that’s number 1 in the state.”
The parents and other adults organized raffles, and gave prizes in between periods and he said it worked a little bit. He also believes that if they rotate the order of the games, then it might help more people come see the girls’ games. Most of the time, the boys games are before the girls, so people show up to the boys game and then leave after before the girls game starts. If they switch the order so that the girls will be able to play before the boys, Mr. Maidments hope is that people will come early for the boys game, see the end of the girls game, and come back to watch a full game when realizing how good they are.
Mr. Maidment shared a strategy that he saw help at the previous schools he has worked at, “If we support one another, crowds for all sports games will grow.”
The girls hockey team is very under-appreciated despite their record, and there are many things students and adults can do to help; raffles, spreading the word, inviting other friends, etc.