Sports compete for spotlight


Ella Gray

East High is known throughout Rockford for its winning basketball teams, but nobody seems to know about its other record-setting sports. What makes basketball this all-mighty sport that overshadows other East High sports? 

I have always thought that football and basketball have been the top sports in East and that they get more attention and more support than sports like golf and swimming. I do recognize that football and basketball are more fan-funded and do more fundraising than other sports, but they still seem to be the only sports people talk about. I decided to see what players on teams that are usually overlooked, such as golf and swimming, thought, as well as interviewing two basketball players. I was able to get seniors Anna Homb, Eli Parker, Ben Bathje, Brianna Jenkins and Jerimiah Crawford’s opinions, as well as junior Anna Gray. 

The girl’s golf team is a co-op between all RPS205 schools, with Homb being East’s only varsity golfer. 

“We are all the RPS schools, there aren’t enough girls to make up one team, [we’re] mainly talked about at Guilford,” said Homb, class of 2022. 

The girls’ golf team has won regionals for three years now but still hasn’t been mentioned in the yearbook, let alone talked about in the school. East principal Jim Parker said that the team’s coach talks about their accomplishments a lot, but that their team isn’t as hyped up as basketball is. What could be causing people to not support the golf teams? 

A possible answer could be that many people believe that golf is boring to watch, but in reality, golf is more than what meets the eye. 

“People judge based on watching golf because it’s extremely boring, it’s fun if you actually go out and try instead of just basing off of just watching it,” said Homb. 

“Once you get the rules down, it’s like, this is crazy,” said Parker, class of 2022.   

Many sports are like this, they have complicated rules making them hard to watch if you don’t already play. 

Swimming has grown more popular because of the summer Olympics, so why is high school swimming not as popular? Bathje says that there is a stereotype put on high school students that if you are not on the football or basketball team you are not a real athlete. Gray says that it is assumed that people do not know how to or want to swim.

I agree with both of their statements. In the last few months of being at East, I have noticed that if you are on the football or basketball team, you seem to get more attention, and other sports are looked down on. 

The girls’ swim team had a week left in their season when the majority of fall sports were done. An announcement was made saying that all fall sports were finished, which was not correct. Later, another announcement was made out to the girl’s swim team apologizing for this mistake, but the team was still upset over it. 

“I think it means that we don’t get enough attention,” said Gray. 

Besides attention, other things, such as no practice spaces, also pose issues for teams. Certain teams are given four gyms, and some are given none. 

The dance team has never been given a consistent official practice space. Other teams take up all the gyms and courts in the field house. Without a practice space, how can the school expect a team to perform well and stay in the higher places of a competition? 

The dance team is expected to perform at the basketball games, go to competitions and stay in third place or higher in the NIC-10 competition. This is my first year being on the dance team, and we are constantly wandering around the school looking for a place to practice. Performing and competitions should be fun, we shouldn’t have to worry about if we’re prepared enough because there was no practice space available. 

Although student recognition is an issue with specific sports, it does not seem to be a problem that basketball faces.

Basketball is a huge part of East’s culture. Many people love coming to the games and cheering on their team, as well as students love coming to support their school. I wanted to know why basketball is so impactful to East High’s culture.  

Both Jenkins and Crawford say that basketball is very special to them. 

“I’ve…been playing for so long it’s just part of my lifestyle now,” said Jenkins class of 2022. 

“[It] gives me personality traits that I need for my life,” said Crawford. 

So basketball gives you special traits you need for your life, but are the girl’s and boy’s teams treated equally? Jenkins says no, but Crawford says yes with the exception of more fan attention for the boys’ team. 

“With the girls [the coach] doesn’t really care if the girls do the workouts or show up to practice, but if the boys do it’s like the end of the world,” said Jenkins. 

“I feel like they’re treated equally, they get the gear that the boys get, they get the announcements that the boys get, win or lose, everything is like the same with practices, the boys get more attention,” said Crawford, class of 2022. 

I noticed that all the boys believe that the girl’s and boys’ teams are treated equally, while all the girls said that they aren’t, but shouldn’t we focus on building up both of our teams regardless of gender? We as East students need to make sure we are giving equal attention to all of our sports teams.