Girls Sports: Do They Get The Recognition They Deserve?

Girls Sports: Do They Get The Recognition They Deserve?

Regan Russell

For many years sports predominantly participated in by girls have been deemed as not as important or hard as sports predominantly participated in by boys. The story is the same for sports both girls and boys participate in. Oftentimes the girl’s side of the sport is overlooked and not paid as much attention to as the boy’s side. Girls all across the high school, college, and even professional levels have faced the struggle of not being as respected and praised as much as male athletes are.

 This year the high school girls basketball team has been able to go undefeated so far this season. They’ve Beat Baxter’s rival, Collins Maxwell, twice as well as taking down many other teams. Lilie Vancise, 12, who is a member of the girl’s basketball team and also a member of many other teams shares her feelings, “ I do feel like our school has been getting better at recognizing not only girls sports but other activities that are going on around our school that our students participate in. It does suck to be on a team where you feel like you aren’t supported by your school. And it’s very hard when you perform your sport and have no one there to cheer you on especially at the games that mean the most. I would like to see the school keep up the support, for not only the sports here in the school but other activities that our students are involved in.”

Another sport that has gained a lot of popularity on the girl’s side in the past few years is wrestling. For many years in the state of Iowa wrestling was not sanctioned as a girls sport by the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Association until recently when it was announced at the Girls State Wrestling tournament that starting in the 2022-2023 school year wrestling would officially be sanctioned as a part of the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Association. Hope Good, 10, shares what it’s like to be one of the only female wrestlers at Baxter, “Honestly it’s like being in any other team sport, it feels like a family and I got one that will always back me up if I ever get into trouble. Yeah, we the boys we have on the team some of the stuff they say is questionable, but growing up with them like that I’m used to it. It does get a little awkward sometimes but that’s how it’s always been since I’ve started. I don’t feel like my coaches give me any special treatment based on me being a girl” Good also talks about her feelings on wrestling now being sanctioned as a girls sport, “Female wrestling being sanctioned isn’t my favorite thing, although it does mean more all girls wrestling, that also means that if I choose to be apart of girls wrestling  I can’t participate in all the other normal (boy) meets. Also, we need to get a girls team to compete anyways and all we have in high school at the moment is two, our number of girls that are willing to go out for the sport needs to grow unless we want to join with another school, which is not my ideal situation.”

Another one of the most popular sports for girls to participate in is dance. Dance in general is definitely a sport that does not get the recognition or respect it deserves. This year at the state dance competition the Baxter Dance Team placed fourth in class one novelty and fifth in class two pom. Along with the team accomplishments, soloist Morgan Ratliff, 10, placed 7th in class 1 solos. Ratliff shares some of her feelings about ways the dance team may get overlooked, “One thing that I feel gets often overlooked within dance is that we compete. We don’t just do fun dances for homecoming and half time shows, it’s a competitive activity. Although our trophies may be displayed, I don’t feel like we are given much respect from our peers for our accomplishments. The support and enthusiasm the football team receives is expected each season, they never have to wonder if people will show up.” 

Ratliff also talks about some of the changes she would like to see made in Baxter to improve the recognition of female athletes and sports teams, “One way our community can improve the support and treatment of female athletes and teams is by encouraging the same enthusiasm shown for the boy’s teams.” Good adds to Ratliff saying, “All I can say is we need more representation. I can only talk to so many people and try to convince them to join so many times without seeming annoying and making it my own only personality trait. Also a couple more years time and we will have more female coaches which might make others more comfortable with joining the sport. The important thing is the representation, showing middle schoolers and even elementary girls that this is something that exists and they have these upperclassmen to look up to”. All across our community and even across the country changes need to be and should be made to bring attention to female athletes, their stories, and their accomplishments.