Much like having a football team named the Washington Redskins, the issue of always having the girls play first is one of those things that no one really thinks about until someone points it out. But come to think of it, there isn’t really any moral high ground to keeping the schedule the way it is besides the resistant inertia that always comes with reform.
Unlike the incredibly divisive (and still yet unresolved) issue of the Redskins, there isn’t a conceivable downside to giving the game schedules a rework. If you’ve read the story on p. 2, you’ll know that a lot of the girls feel that the current modus operandi results in much less support for them.
Reality reflects that opinion. Yes, it’s true that the boys’ team is more exciting to watch because of how well they’re doing, but even when we had girls like Mary-Clare Bosco,‘13 – who absolutely crushed it on the court and currently plays for Pomona – there weren’t a lot of people who came out to support them.
More than we have now, but not that much more.
We’re not saying that nobody comes to girls’ games because of some sexist conspiracy – that’s simply not true. But the reality is that the team that plays early doesn’t have as many spectators. Their game time often conflicts with the schedules of busy parents, and many students who are staying for the games skip the first one to go out to dinner.
That’s just the way it is, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
What is wrong is permanently giving that sub-par slot to the girls. Everyone would agree that being a Cavalier doesn’t require a Y chromosome, so let’s not act like it does.
The solution that Occidental College chose was to have the teams switch off, which we think is a pretty great idea. Rather than making one team shoulder the burden of low attendance and morale, they could take turns.
It works out well for all. Parents who couldn’t come to see their daughters play now can, and the decision to go grab a bite to eat no longer earns you a black mark on your political correctness card.
Of course, Homecoming would be an issue, but that could be decided by a simple coin toss.
The only real hurdle would be that every other school would have to go along with the change. We don’t know the specifics of league administration, but we’re guessing that this would not be a simple process.
Not only that but we might have to deal with athletic directors whose reasoning behind not switching is more unsavory than “we just never really thought about it before.”
But it’s worth a try. The girls are our friends, and it’s a shame that we leave them with empty bleachers.
Previously published in the print edition on March 17, 2015.