Aside from men’s basketball, most winter sports don’t get much publicity within the Leesville community. While parents and friends attend some games/matches, most winter sporting events are barren, full of empty stands and forgotten athletes.
One of the many overlooked winter sports teams is the swim and dive team. Last year, the women won the state championship in swimming and diving, ending Hough’s three year streak. With such a dominant team, most would assume students would be excited to support it, however this is not the case.
“The attendance at dive meets are mostly parents. Not many students come to the meets,” said Ashton Zuburg, a junior and state champion diver. Part of the problem with attendance is that meets are held at N.C State on Thursday and Friday nights. “I think that dive meets don’t attract a lot of students because of the location and time. Students have to drive [to N.C. State] or find rides.”.
Swimming and Diving also lacks the recognition and respect that other sports receive. “I am not sure that much of the school knew that we had won states, especially for the first time in many years. Our team didn’t receive any memorabilia from the school, but we got t-shirts made to commemorate our States win,” said Zuburg.
As a member of a less recognized sports team, it’s frustrating to watch other sports get more recognition for lesser performances. The school gave absolutely nothing to the swim and dive team for winning states, but if football or basketball ever win states, it’s almost certain they’ll be given championship rings or jackets. The Leesville community needs to work on supporting all of their sports teams, not just the popular ones.
Many winter sports teams share swim and dive’s frustration–empty stands and forgotten teams plague more than just the pool. Gymnastics, wrestling, and most all winter sports get lost in memory by their fellow classmates for a variety of reasons.
“Most kids’ parents come to matches, the occasional teacher, but that’s pretty much it,” said Maximus Buico, a senior and captain of the Leesville wrestling team. “Attendance is so low because wrestling just doesn’t have the mainstream exposure of sports like football and basketball.” Most people simply don’t know the ins and outs of the sport; and even fewer care.
If people don’t understand or care for the sport, then the result is empty bleachers.
While some teams suffer from from obscurity, others–much like the swim team– some are just inconvenient
“Most people don’t really pay too much attention to winter track,” said Geoffery Travagline, head coach of the Leesville winter track team. “People are preoccupied in the winter; holidays are happening, people don’t want to drive all the way to Winston Salem [the only indoor track we can use]. Maybe if one were closer more people would come.”
Regardless of ability, winter sports teams are consistently forgotten, neglected, and generally underappreciated. Until our sports become more mainstreamed, more convenient, and more prevalent in the minds of our peers, we will remain in the dark. We can’t all be men’s basketball.