Popularity over success: uneven support in sports


Lillianne Hogsten & CameraBox

Carlisle varsity football, cross country, tennis and basketball showcased their skills in the past two seasons, leaving to question which sports received the most attention and why.

By Carter Smith, Carlisle High School

When it comes to watching high school sports, there are two clear favorites: football and basketball. While these sports may be the most popular among students, staff, and members of the community, it doesn’t always mean that the sports are successful.

In 2017, the CHS football team finished with a record of 5-5 and did not participate in any postseason games. In 2018, the team failed to improve upon their previous year’s record, when they finished 3-7 and missed the postseason for a second straight year.

The 2017-2018 CHS basketball team had a similar season to the football team, finishing with a winning record but missing the postseason. The 2018-2019 basketball season is still underway, but the team currently has a record of 3-5, and would miss the postseason if it were to start today.

Despite the lack of success between the football and basketball teams, the game attendance for both teams is through the roof. When the CHS basketball team recently played Cumberland Valley, on December 21st, the game was sold out before the players even took the court.

The fall football games also bring out substantial crowd; in fact, the local authorities can be found at almost every game in order to enforce safety at these crowded events.

It’s not only the Carlisle community who favorites sports like football and basketball; it’s also the local press. On news outlets like ABC27 or FOX43, you are very likely to see highlights of these sports front and center, but you rarely see any other sports in the spotlight.

While it’s okay to support a team no matter its talent, the most gifted CHS teams are barely recognized at all. One of the teams that have prospered for many years is the cross country team. Both boys and girls cross country finished undefeated in the regular season. The girl’s team advanced to districts and fell short of states after finishing 4th in the race. The boy’s team advanced to states, the only boy’s fall sports team to do so.

Varsity cross country runner Michael Ginter is not satisfied with the attention given to his sport.

Ginter said, “This team has been extremely successful for over 10 years, but has anyone cared to notice? A little respect would be nice for all of the hard work we put in.”

The CHS girls tennis team also flies under the radar, but had an outstanding fall season. The girls finished their season undefeated and advanced to states. They were the only girls’ sports team to represent the Herd at a state competition.

JV tennis player Helen Candland expressed her frustration with the recognition her team receives.

Candland said, “I know sports like football and basketball are fun to watch, but when is the last time they advanced to states? If you asked anyone walking down the hall if the tennis team advanced to states, they would have no clue. This is the lack of recognition I’ve learned to live with.”

Carlisle is not the only area who has favored the popular sports like football and basketball. The Washington Post released a survey in 2017 asking Americans what their favorite sports were. The results had football and basketball at the very top of the list, with very little competition.

These sports have received the flip side of things when from the popular sports, receiving minimal attendance and recognition from members of the community. While sports like football and basketball are fun to watch, shouldn’t we also be paying attention to the sports who bring home the championships?

This story was originally published on Periscope on January 9, 2019.