Editorial: Is Roberts Rowdies sexist?

This year’s men’s basketball season stands as one of the biggest successes in Webster basketball history, backed by one of Webster’s biggest student sections from the stands.

Roberts Rowdies is definitely the most exciting, organized and enthusiastic student section Robert’s Gym has seen in at least four years, but there is controversy behind it.

Senior Roberts Rowdies members Mick Hanrahan and Antoine Givens cheer during the men’s basketball team’s win over Rockwood Summit. Photo by Cullen Drissell
Roberts Rowdies members seniors Mick Hanrahan and Antoine Givens cheer during the men’s basketball game on Feb. 11 against Rockwood Summit. The Statesmen won 80-30. Photo by Cullen Drissell

Comparing Roberts Rowdies support between the women’s and men’s basketball teams, one may feel like the Rowdies have a heavy preference towards the male athletes. They show up to more men’s games than women’s. They’ve chosen men’s away games over women’s home games. They’ve reached maximum capacity at a men’s game, but not at a women’s.

At first glance, Roberts Rowdies seems sexist. Looking at the matter through a black and white lens of “men’s basketball” and “women’s basketball” hides details and distorts the truth. There are so many more factors that affect Roberts Rowdies.

First of all, the men’s team has only lost once this whole season. ONCE. They’re not only an incredible team, but an exciting team. They move the ball like lightning, sprint full force down the floor and score baskets that leave spectators’ mouths agape.

Now the women’s basketball team definitely deserves support. It was projected to win Districts by none other than sports editor Bennett Durando and is on the road to it now, but Robert’s Rowdies should not be shunned for choosing to watch Jay Blossom’s team over Patti Perkins’s.

Those in the student section have plenty of reasons to show up to every men’s game and yell their voices dry.  Whether it be the team’s dominating victory over SLUH for the first time in three years, watching top 50th prospect in the nation sophomore Courtney Ramey play, or witnessing coach Blossom win his 15th straight conference title and have his 13th straight 20-win season, there are plenty of reasons why Roberts Rowdies loves men’s basketball.

The Rowdies not only support Blossom more because of the numbers, but the relationships too. Roberts Rowdies co-founder, leader and senior Sam Cashel said, “‘Hard core rowdies’ are boys, and their friends play on the boys team. Boys are friends with boys, and most of the rowdies are boys, for whatever reason, so it makes sense that we get rowdier at their games because they are our friends. I’ve probably talked to about one girl on the basketball team and don’t know the rest of them. It’s nothing against girls basketball, because I like watching them play, but we can’t go to every game.”

There is and always will be under-supported high school sports. Men’s tennis, baseball and even this year’s football team lack rowdy student sections because they’re boring. They lose. Fans stop going to games when their team loses. Look at The Rams.

An anonymous member of Roberts Rowdies said, “There have been a good amount of students in the student sections at four or so of the girls’ games, and they’ve lost all four. It wouldn’t be fair or right to go to no games at all, but because of all the success the boys have had, more people want to go to their games.”

Had Roberts Rowdies boycotted women’s games, claims of sexism would be more plausible, but the Rowdies proved that they were willing to support women’s basketball four times, and the team lost each time. There’s nothing that can bring a student section down more than losing, and Robert’s Rowdies just weren’t finding the “rowdy” in women’s basketball.

Because a great student section rises up to support men’s basketball, people start telling them to support the women’s team too, as if Roberts Rowdies were some robot that spits out support on command.
Support has to be earned, and men’s basketball definitely deserves the support it’s received. Instead of acting negative towards Roberts Rowdies when all they’ve done is become an excellent student section, why not join them? Get rowdy. Don’t support a team because they’re women; support them because they’re good. That is how a student section like Robert’s Rowdies is born.

It’s true that women’s sports are under-supported, but that doesn’t have anything to do with Roberts Rowdies. Take off the glasses of “male” and “female” and look at Roberts Rowdies for what it is— students who created an exciting student section to go with its equally exciting team.
Anyone making claims that the Rowdies are choosing the men’s team over the women’s because of gender is misled by a poor lens prescription.


See Also: Rowdies, Pioneers go at it on Twitter

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