Sidwell Students Fail To Equally Support Girls’ and Boys’ Sports


A lack of lively student support leads to feelings of discouragement among players. Photo: Sidwell Friends.

Sidwell Friends is known for its incredible athletic programs, specifically the Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity Basketball teams. In the 2022-2023 season, the girls’ team had a record of 31 total wins and won the 2023 Girls’ Basketball Invitational. The Boys’ Varsity team had 28 wins and 4 losses in their season. Throughout their seasons, both teams showed incredible skill, dedication and discipline, with both teams winning DCSAA championship titles.

In the girls’ Independent School League (ISL) championships this past February, Georgetown Visitation faced the Sidwell Friends girls’ team. According to a player on the Girls’ Varsity Basketball team, despite it being a home game, Visitation fans filled the stadium while the Sidwell fan section was left mostly vacant. When asked if the rowdy Visitation fans affected the outcome of the game, the player said, “Definitely, they got in our heads and changed the atmosphere of the game.”

Speaking about general student attendance at girls’ games, the player also stated, “Generally the only people who really show up for our games are parents, and the boys team if they can make it.”

The Sidwell F.A.N. club, while a great source of student spirit, generally supported the boys’ basketball team more than the girls’. The F.A.N. club uses its Instagram account and all-school emails to inform the student body of any upcoming games club members will attend. In terms of the F.A.N. club’s Instagram publicity, the boys’ games were advertised 45% more than girls’ games. In terms of email publicity, a player on the Girls’ Varsity Basketball team said the older players had to continually remind the club to send all school emails about their games, meaning they would not have otherwise been advertised.

Although the F.A.N. club’s attendance to games affects other students’ attendance, the differentiation between student support of these teams does not lie completely on the F.A.N.’s shoulders.

In fact, after the loss to Visitation, senior and F.A.N. head Ava Johnson sent an all-school email expressing her regret that student attendance to the championship was so low, stating that the girls’ varsity team was “battling through constant noise from the Visitation fan section, and we had nothing to respond with. There were only a couple of seniors and the Boys Varsity Basketball team in attendance. The lack of respect for this amazing team of incredible female athletes is truly depressing.”

Even with this support by F.A.N. heads, the student body is heavily influenced by the club’s social media and emails, meaning that the F.A.N. needs to be more aware of the narrative they portray.

Overall, the Sidwell Friends Girls’ Varsity Basketball team deserves to be treated with the same appreciation and encouragement as its male counterpart. This equal respect should be implemented with Sidwell’s other highly competitive programs, such as boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, softball and baseball. As Sidwell moved into its spring season, the F.A.N.’s pattern of posting largely for boys’ sports has continued, with 12 posts on the F.A.N. Instagram solely dedicated to advertising boys’ games and only four posts for girls’ games, the majority of which are in support of girls’ lacrosse. When the Girls’ Softball team won the ISL championship this spring for the first time in the team’s history, there was little recognition by the F.A.N. due to the male baseball championship that day. In the future, the F.A.N. needs to equally publicize both girls’ and boys’ games in order to fully represent Sidwell’s impressive athletic programs.