Last night, Baldwin had another tough loss to a strong opponent on the road. Despite a promising first two games, some recent injuries have set the team back a bit. While injuries are "part of the game", I'm sure it's still disappointing when players have to sit out after putting in the summer training. At this point, the team's record is far lower than they'd hoped. And yet, despite all of this (and arguably after years of playing in a very tough conference), football is still the sport to see at Baldwin. If you ask anyone in the fall "hey, are you going to the game this week", they'll know immediately what you're talking about. Despite the Girls' Volleyball team's rise to prominence in the last two seasons, and the playoff runs by the the baseball, lacrosse, and softball teams in the last couple of years, There's still football, basketball...and everything else. It's not just a Baldwin thing either; the entire region, and perhaps even the entire country views football (in the fall) and basketball (in the winter) as priority 1 and 1A and everything else settles to niche groups. I'm guilty of doing it myself; despite trying to go to at least one of every sport throughout the year, I'll likely promote the football/basketball games far more with my students. They have the monopoly, and losing football/basketball teams combined with winning volleyball teams do little to change it.
As I gear up to go MC the Tournament of Bands Championships at Baldwin tonight, I can't help but wonder how to break through this cultural sports/clubs monopoly and bring more notoriety to the other groups. The Band/Guard/Drumline, for example, have more students involved and an equally committed army of parents, chaperones, and fundraisers, and yet you rarely hear about the band's work unless you're a member of band's inner circle. It's not so much a matter of wanting to emphasize football/basketball (in fact, those crowds could use some building-up as well), but there has to be a way to build up the brands of the other activities. I do give credit to this year's Student Section who's made a concerted effort to bring out a crowd to all the sports on the biggest games of the respective seasons. It's great to see the students actively addressing the inequity and trying to bridge that gap. I doubt that'll fix everything, but it's a step in the right direction. They also say that "winning cures everything" but even after last year's volleyball championship, and the baseball team's championship loss in 2014, they're still second-class sports. The Band dominates in it's competitions as well, but the bodies in the seats don't always follow.
So football, you're great at bringing people together...but perhaps you could share your secret with everyone else. It'd be great if I could say "hey, are you going to the game this week?" and hear "which one?" instead of "of course, see you on Friday."