Four years ago, when the current seniors were freshmen, both the girls’ and boys’ Barrack Basketball teams competed for the Tri-County Independent School League Championships at Jefferson University. It was a perfect, exciting day. The school declared a no-homework night and sent a fan bus to the games. There were cheerleaders and a mascot and an absolutely packed student section cheering Barrack on to their wins. The fervor spread through the whole school, the court absolutely buzzing with energy.
Four years later, this very year, the Barrack Girls Varsity Basketball team returned to Jefferson, for the Penn Jersey League Championship game, and took home the trophy. But something was notably missing. The boys’ team wasn’t there, but that wasn’t the only absence. There was also no homework-free night, no fan bus, no cheerleaders, no mascot, and the Barrack student section was embarrassingly empty, with only two senior boys there to watch the team take home the trophy. Two people in the Barrack student section sat across from New Foundations’ loud, bustling, numerous fans.
It was a proud moment for Barrack, as the girls’ basketball team won the league championship. But it was also incredibly embarrassing. New Foundations lost, but they were cheered on by supportive, excited classmates. Barrack won, but it felt like nobody cared.
Women’s sports being deprioritised isn’t a new phenomenon, nor is it exclusive to Barrack, but it is particularly bad here. This year the lack of attention to girls’ sports is highlighted by the success of the various Barrack’s Girls’ Varsity teams. When the Girls’ Varsity Soccer team won their Penn Jersey Championship in the fall, there was just as little hype as there was for the basketball team. Basketball and soccer are two of the main sports at Barrack, and the Barrack girls’ teams have had wildly successful seasons including championships in both. As the defending league champions in lacrosse, the Barrack girls could sweep all three big sports. This should be super exciting, a huge source of school pride and spirit. But the whole Barrack community is missing out on the success and talent of the female athletes at this school, and that is a crying shame.