Too many game days have gone by when the Palestra has seen a disproportionate crowd between the men’s and women’s basketball games. This past weekend was no exception, when the women’s team could have used extra student support during its narrow defeat by Emory on Sunday.
Even though the men’s basketball team has had a sensational season, the women’s team has been successful in its own right. Entering this weekend, the women shared a tie for the lead in the University Athletic Association while the men ranked fourth. The men deserve their large fan base, but it is disappointing that the women appear underappreciated.
The Cheerleading Club has excluded cheering at women’s basketball games, singling out football and men’s basketball. If the Club is truly dedicated to promoting school spirit, then it should strive to support both basketball teams, like the Pep Band, which plays at all four games during each home stand. Five other UAA schools have their cheerleaders support games played by both sexes, so it is logical for ours to follow suit. If the time or physical commitment is too great for the group members to perform at all four games, then perhaps they can choose one men’s and one women’s game to attend each weekend.
It is also the responsibility of the Student Activities Office and the Class Councils to promote both games adequately, which includes supporting groups such as the Cheerleaders. Both organizations have done an admirable job by intentionally promoting each game equally. However, they must make sure to sponsor both events successfully and to achieve this, it may be necessary to ask groups to perform at certain times. A group such as UR Bhangra, who performed during the men’s game on Sunday, would always like to perform in front of a larger audience, but if they were to have performed during the women’s game, they could have helped to defer an early departure by some fans and to attract more people to cheer on the women.
Attendance at sporting events has never been a strong point at UR, but the University community should not continually ignore excellent performance. It is the duty of the groups associated with athletic events to provide a fun and inviting atmosphere for die-hard sports fans as well as casual observers.