Same Effort, Different Results for Boys and Girls High School Sports


Jules Gonzalez, Staff Writer

WWS goalkeeper Abbie Brennan lunges towards the left post as she saves her third penalty kick of the game, sending our team to the championship game of the biggest high school soccer tournament in the country. Our team rushes the field screaming and piling up in celebration. I look to the sidelines and see about 10 pairs of parents clapping. I wonder to myself, ‘what would this have been like if this was a boys sports game and we had the support of the 12th man and hundreds of students?’

There is an extremely noticeable difference between the attendance of boys and girls sports games in local high schools and high schools all across the country. I decided to dig a little deeper into the reasons why this is such a trend all around the USA and has been for decades.

One of the biggest reasons for the lack of support at girls sports games is the difference in physical ability between boys and girls. In the article Gender Inequality in Sporting Event Attendance Can be Corrected, author Meggie Furlong interviewed an assistant athletic director by the name of Tom Reagan. Reagan stated, “Some of it comes down to physical abilities as well. There’s just some things that women’s body types cannot do. Does that make them better? No. It just makes them different.” Although it’s not something that girls can control or fix, it is true that men have a naturally more athletic build than women. This allows some of the sports matches of men to be more fast-pace, which draws more attention and supporters. However, this does not mean that the sports games of women are not entertaining. The sports games of women are highly under advertised. Several local highschoolers that were interviewed said that they were unaware of when the women’s sports games even occurred at their high school. Maybe if the games of female athletes were advertised as well as male athletes, it would lead more students to attend the games. Varsity doubleheaders seem like a stronger way to build school spirit, to some,” said James Johnson, author of the article Section V basketball: Are boys-girls varsity doubleheaders the way of the future? This has actually been attempted at South and worked out very well. In the basketball program for the Wheaton North vs. South game, the girls Varsity team plays right before the boys Varsity team, which massively brought up the amount of spectators at the girls game.

In a survey I conducted, a whole 17.1% of local high school students surveyed said that they believed that boys deserve a bigger audience for their sports than girls. Though the boys may be more naturally athletic than girls, that doesn mean that the girls work any less hard than the boys do, meaning that even if boys games are more entertaining, they’re not more deserving of an audience than the girls. One of the quotes that stood out to me the most was from Wheaton Warrenville South High School senior Joshua Diomar. Diomar stated, “They (boys sports games) can be more entertaining to watch. There’s more hype around male sporting events”, which went along with another quote from Wheaton Warrenville South High School Junior, Meghan Economos. Economos said, “I think that boys get the better times for games. In addition the 12th man doesn’t go to girls games”. This is true. Why is it that boys games are always scheduled on Friday nights and the girls games are on Tuesday and Wednesday nights? Also, with the lack of the 12th man, there’s nobody to rile up the crowds at the girls games, leaving for a quiet and not very hype environment. If the girls were given the opportunities of these game times and the amount of school support that boys were, maybe things would be different. 

To conclude, I’d like to end with one of my favorite quotes from my survey, “I believe it’s been a standard and a high school tradition for home football/basketball games etc. to receive big audiences. Most sports seem to only have large audiences with boys sports games compared to girls. I don’t agree with this standard but it’s been utilized for such a long time, it’s considered the norm.” said Glenbard West Senior, Katie Dusz. This resonated with me because this has been the standard for so long, that many people don’t believe this will be fixed. We have the power to support girls sports, it’s just up to us to make it happen.