As you have probably gathered, I love basketball. I advocate for the sport from youth leagues to the NBA and I want to see it grow as much as possible, especially in a state dominated by football.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I had to work Saturday night to cover Stanhope Elmore versus Wetumpka in basetball. Seeing how many people showed up to support the county teams was incredible. I may go as far to say it was the best basketball crowd I have seen since moving to Elmore County.
Unfortunately, I could not enjoy it to the fullest as I could because although the crowd was incredible, most people did not show up until close to 7 p.m.
The girls game started at 5 p.m.
This has been a pet peeve of mine since I was in high school when someone pointed it out to me. I was at almost all my school’s games, leading the student section, but it did not don on me I was mostly doing that for just the boys games.
One of my favorite things about high school basketball is getting to see two games in one night. It may take some extra time but I get to see 64 minutes of basketball when I cover a game and that’s a good night whether I am working or not. Half those minutes belong to the girls game which somehow constantly gets overlooked in this county and in several other areas around the state.
A lot of people say because many girls games tip off close to 5 p.m., it is tough to get there for the start of the game. I say the boys should play first every once in a while so the girls can play in front of the rowdy crowd.
In fact, the girls teams deserve a bigger share of playing in the primetime slot. For a vast majority of games I cover, I see the girls players make tunnels for the boys team to run through and show way more support during the boys games.
During the girls games, you can find most of the boys players disengaged from the game itself before disappearing into the locker room for the second half and barely watching a second of their classmates. On more than one occasion, I have heard laughter and mocking words from a student section about its own team during the girls game.
And this is not to say it is all on the students because it’s definitely not. It’s the same trend for the rest of the crowd. For those who show up on time, most seem disinterested in the girls game.
I understand the argument a good team gets good support but that argument holds no ground in this conversation. We have a mixture of good and bad teams in Elmore County and I certainly hope all teams can get to the point where they can compete with anyone in the state but that cannot be the standard for every team in every sport.
The Elmore County girls team have won back-to-back county tournament titles and still have trouble filling the gym until the third quarter when people show up for the boys game.
Every high school basketball fan in the area should show support for the girls teams. They deserve it just as much as the boys teams do.
And if you can’t be there for the first game, ask your school to schedule some of the girls games in the later slot so you can split your support.
Success is a great way to drive support for your team but a big way to push your teams — yes, all your teams — to that success is by showing them support.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Tribune.