How would you feel if every day you trained to compete in the sport you loved but when it came to game day, rather than hearing the stadium erupt with cheers or your friends and peers screaming their support, all you heard were the plays being called and your coach yelling from the sidelines? Girls’ and women’s sports need your support.
In college it seems football and basketball games continue to draw a large attendance as many students crave to be part of a vibrant school spirit. However, many students still complain that their school spirit is low and encourage the trend by often times not being in attendance themselves. In a report by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, it says that two-thirds of millennials, those born between 1978-1995, claim to attend sporting events less often or never. We know one way to send school spirit soaring…start cheering on both women’s and men’s teams! Let’s take the steps to initiate the change we want to see and get in the stands.
In order to help women’s sports succeed, we must show our support. This means that as a country we should attend more women’s sporting events and tune in when they are broadcast on the television, radio or anywhere else. Since the implementation of Title IX in 1972, female participation in athletics has soared from one in 27 to now two in five, yet women’s sports are less than 2% of sport stories in the media. It is clear that girls are playing and participating but the gap of media coverage continues to stay wide between men and women. So how can we help keep our girls in the game? We must go out and cheer them on!
Many may say there is a lack of interest for people to watch women’s sports and have it covered by the media but we have seen that is just not true. This is particularly clear after the dominance of the American women at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics, as Team USA boasted the most women to ever compete for any nation at a single Games and the women won over half of the total medal count. Another moment was when the United States Women’s National Team brought home the 2015 World Cup, simultaneously bringing in the largest television audience of a soccer game (men’s or women’s) in the U.S. ever.
Let us continue to build on this momentum and all the other incredible achievements in women’s sports this summer and show that we support our athletes; all of our athletes. There are plenty of way’s to support your amateur and professional female teams, whether you are a parent, participant, peer or a member of the community.
Get together with your friends and make an event out of going to a local game, such as for the WNBA, the NWHL, the NPF or the NWSL league. In many cases, ticket prices for the women’s professional leagues are more reasonably priced compared to the men’s. Cannot make it in person to a game? Try livestreaming to watch your favorite athlete or team play.
If your school has a game go ahead and attend and support your friends and classmates, they will definitely appreciate it, and often times colleges offer special incentives if you attend. Majority of college and high school teams’ schedules are posted on their athletics websites and often do not require a purchased ticket.
If your sibling, niece, daughter or granddaughter has a game it could mean the world to them if you showed up and cheered them on from the stands, you can even feel free to embarrass them with signs and posters. However you choose to support the women and girls in your life and in your community, your attendance alone at a match, game or competition of any kind is an encouraging factor for women and girls everywhere to continue to train, compete and stay active.
It will take time to build a substantial following but every fan counts and can contribute to the growth of women’s sports. By learning about a team, attending games and becoming invested in the rivalries, “characters” and atmosphere, we build a connection as a fan to a team. Start building your new connection today!
Photo © Getty Images/Thomas Niedermueller