Winning Still Means Losing for Some Gorloks

Women’s team still struggles to get attendance at home despite leading conference.

By Jeremy Clements

(February 4, 2010) In American sports culture today, winning means many things. For some it means higher revenue, for others it means higher expectations, and for most winning teams it means more fans in the stands. That doesn’t seem to be the case at Webster University.

Let’s compare teams and explore this phenomenon. Team A currently sits atop the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a conference record of 9-2 and an overall record of 14-6. Team B is clinging to fourth place in the SLIAC with a conference record of 7-4 and overall record of 10-10. Just knowing those numbers, one would think that Team A has the higher average attendance. If you think that too, you are wrong.

“Our society has been dominated by men since sports have been around and because women haven’t ever been seen as athletic as men.” – Tori Fenemor, Gorloks Women’s Basketball

Team A is Webster University’s Women’s basketball team. They lead the SLIAC and are poised to bring the conference tournament to Grant Gymnasium for the first time since 2001. Despite this success, the women just don’t get the support the men’s team does. According to the SLIAC website, the Lady Gorloks have a total home attendance of 1,540 through their first 10 home games. That  is only an average of 154 people per game.

Team B is Webster University’s Men’s basketball team. They currently find themselves in danger of slipping out of the conference tournament and are clinging to fourth in the conference. According to the same SLIAC site, the  total home attendance as 1,900 meaning the men have an average of 181 fans per game.

So  now you’re reading this and thinking “the men only have about 30 more people at their games, big deal!” That might be what it says on paper but if you go to any of the Gorloks remaning home games, you will see first hand they difference in attendance. For more proof just look below.

One Building, Two Atmospheres

Fourth-place Webster Men’s Basketball team fills Grant Gym on January 30th.

Women Still Fighting for Equality on the Court.

Most sports fans know the stereotypes about Women’s basketball not being as exciting, but Gorloks forward Katy Meyer, believes the lack of fan support goes much deeper.  “Society has traditionally accepted sports as something for males and women were supposed to do ‘womanly things’,”  said Meyer. “When women started playing sports, they already had a lot working against them and even to this day, funding, facilities, and support have been largely uneven. Until we are on an even playing field, what we do as athletes will never be valued to the same degree as male athletes.”

Fans of Gorloks basketball don’t do anything to make the players feel any different. In fact, some fans don’t shy away from their belief that men’s basketball is more exciting .

“Why Should I come out and watched a slow-paced, boring game?! I don’t care if they are in first or last, it’s just not as exciting.” – Blake Harris, Webster Student

Gorlok fans hold up a sign in support of Cody Bradfish during Men’s game on January 30th

Other players believe that society dictates that men don’t support women like they support the men. Gorloks forward, Catherine Russell thinks the men should come out to watch them play more often. “Girls come out to watch the boys play, but boys don’t have any interest in coming to see us play, and that is how it has always been.”

The Lady Gorloks next game is on Saturday, February 6th at Eureka College.

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