By Briana Casey
At BB&N, we constantly talk about how important it is to be community-oriented. We talk about how we need to work together and respect each other and how we need to treat boys and girls equally in every aspect, including on the sports field.
On Thursday night, February 21, I was scrolling through my Twitter newsfeed when I saw many of my peers tweeting about the Boys Varsity Ice Hockey game at Middlesex that night. The boys had an extremely impressive comeback and won in overtime 4-3. I signed out of Twitter so I could finish my homework. When I checked Twitter two hours later, my newsfeed was filled with people talking about how important the boys’ next hockey game on Saturday was going to be, because they would be competing for the Eberhart League Championship. The Tweets encouraged everyone to attend the boys’ game on Saturday at the Brooks School at 4PM (this was later changed to 2 PM).
It was great that everyone rallied for the boys team, and they deserved the support. However, I was disappointed that there was not a single mention about the Girls Varsity Ice Hockey game that was also on that Saturday, a home game at 4 PM. Why was the boys’ game (an hour away from BB&N) advertised so much when there was so little advertisement for the girls’ game at home? I understand that this was a big game for the boys; however, for the girls, the game was our senior night, and, as a senior on the girls’ team, I really wanted the support. If we lost the game, there was a chance we wouldn’t make playoffs. The girls’ game was just as meaningful as the boys’.
My peers encouraged me to advertise the girls’ game on social media, since that was what the boys were doing. I advertised via Twitter and Facebook. However, come Saturday, there was much support for the boys at Brooks and almost no student support at the home games (Girls’ Varsity Basketball also had its senior night that Saturday), even with the time change for the boys’ game.
That Sunday, the girls’ team found out that we made Division I playoffs. For those non-hockey fans, this meant that the girls’ team was seeded as one of the top eight teams out of the top private schools in New England. This was something that the BB&N Girls Hockey team has not accomplished in the past 17 years. We found out we would be playing the following Wednesday at the Nobles and Greenough School (a school that is a half hour away from BB&N). I immediately created a Facebook event to promote the game, hoping more people would see it and come to show their support. I made the Facebook event four days before our game. 25 people RSVP’d saying they would attend our game, while 46 people said they would attend the boys’ game against Brooks.
How does this happen? At a school that highly values community, why are boys’ sports advertised and supported more? Now, I don’t want to say that all of BB&N supports boys’ sports more. At our game against Nobles, many teachers and faculty members were there, many more than I imagined. But there were practically no students. This shouldn’t happen, not in any sports season. During the fall, many students go to every football game, but almost no students go to the soccer or field hockey games. As a female athlete at BB&N, I constantly feel disrespected by my peers. I shouldn’t be surprised when someone asks me how my game went the night before or if I have a game later that day. These should be questions I’m used to, just like the boys are. But I’m not.
At BB&N, I have learned that the key to success is staying positive. It is hard to stay positive when you don’t have support, especially from your peers. Support is a sign of respect, and respect is a big part of what BB&N teaches us. I challenge students to support and advertise for the girls, just as they would for the boys. Although the hockey season is over, we can start this spring. Even going to one game will help, and if you can’t go to a game, ask the girls the next day, or even that night, how the game went. Congratulate them when they win. These are the small things that we constantly do for the boys teams but seem to forget when talking about the girls teams. Supporting girls’ teams might give them the extra boost they need to win, and through this mutuality we can become a stronger community.