The Silent Crowd

As the girls soccer team approaches the State Championship this Wednesday, history can not repeat itself. Female athletes address the student section and often lack of support in the Jaguar Community.
The Jaguar student section sits down while the girls basketball team plays in the Great Eight game at the Denver Coliseum against Valor Christian High School Feb. 29. Many students who participated in the boys basketball student section prior to the girls basketball game left before half-time. I think it [the student section] plays a huge role because we actually had a decent crowd at a ranch game. I think that was the only time we had like a student section. And the energy was just awesome, varsity pointing and shooting guard Brooke Harding ‘25 said.  I dont expect much from them [the Golden Boys] at all. But the fact that they left at the Elite Eight game when they were already there is honestly mind blowing to me.
The Jaguar student section sits down while the girls basketball team plays in the Great Eight game at the Denver Coliseum against Valor Christian High School Feb. 29. Many students who participated in the boys basketball student section prior to the girls basketball game left before half-time. “I think it [the student section] plays a huge role because we actually had a decent crowd at a ranch game. I think that was the only time we had like a student section. And the energy was just awesome,” varsity pointing and shooting guard Brooke Harding ‘25 said. “I don’t expect much from them [the Golden Boys] at all. But the fact that they left at the Elite Eight game when they were already there is honestly mind blowing to me.”
media by Sanaa Sow

The Issue: Sexism in Sports or Just Plain Apathy

It’s Feb. 29 and you’re standing in the Denver Coliseum and seats are filled to the brink as students prepare to watch the Great Eight boys basketball game against ThunderRidge High School at 10:15 a.m. Everyone is cheering and screaming at the top of their lungs. So much so that you can hardly comprehend what the person beside you is saying. Tensions rise as the Jaguars enter overtime and chants are stronger than ever before. 

As the game comes to a close, a loss for the Jaguars 62-60 L, the girls basketball team prepares to take the court for their Great Eight game. 

This video depicts the Jaguar student section during the girls basketball Elite game against Valor Christian High School at the Denver Coliseum Feb. 29. The game took place a few minutes after the boys basketball game. Media by Sanaa Sow
This video depicts the Jaguar student section during the boys basketball Elite game against ThuderRidge High School at the Denver Coliseum Feb. 29. After going into overtime the team lost 62-60 L. Media by Sanaa Sow

According to the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), as of Jan. 19, the girls basketball team was ranked sixth in the state with a 12-1 W record. 

But all of a sudden, a drastic change occurs. The stands are uncomfortably quiet. The majority of the remaining crowd is sitting down, staring at their phones or talking to their friends with no regard for the game. 

“We beat Ranch and it was 10 years since we last beat them. Then, we made it to League A for the first time and we won our first playoff game as a group. We’ve never been to the Coliseum before so it was just kind of surreal to be in that moment,” varsity girls basketball pointing and shooting guard Brooke Harding ‘25 said.  

But where was more than half of the student section and the Golden Boys to support?

This is not a first-time occurrence.

For example, on the @goldenboysrc Instagram, back on Jan. 3, 5280 Hoops Academy questioned an apparent lack of support for the girls team, “We’ve got students driving to Boulder but can’t even advertise for the 5th ranked 8-1 girls program playing at home…..” 

Before this point, the Golden Boys had posted the game schedule and spirit themes for the boys basketball team but something had yet to be advertised for the girls team. 

“We were honestly shocked [by the comment] because that’s actually our coach’s account. But, it just kind of put it into perspective how bad it really is because it’s kind of crazy to think that they would drive all the way over there and so many people drive that far, when they can’t even come to a home game. So that just kind of made us down. But we are all just kind of used to it by now,” Harding said.  

After both the Canyon Crazies and the Golden Boys were called out for their lack of support preceding the playoff game and the small turnout at the Denver Coliseum game, it made me wonder, how big of an issue is this in the Jaguar Community and why does it happen?  

After further research, it turns out that this issue is prominent in many girl team sports in the community. 

According to MaxPreps, the girls soccer team is currently ranked second in the 5A/4A Continental League and made it to the finals for the State Championship last season. 

“There are boyfriends that come definitely to support the girls and a few of our friends will come up but it’s very limited compared to bigger sports, like football and basketball,” captain and attacking midfielder Grace Rossner ‘24 said. 

Even for playoff games such as the State Championship last season, turnout and participation were low in the stands.  

“Thanks to everybody who came [to the State Championship] but there was a very small amount of people. The ThunderRidge student section had like probably over 300 students and we probably had 50. So, people just didn’t really come to support,” Rossner said. 

“That made a lot of people on my team especially upset because we work so hard, and we spent all season just grinding and working and putting so much work off the field as well. It’s just frustrating that we get to that point and nobody wants to come and support.” 

A similar occurrence happened earlier in the fall for both girls volleyball and softball. 

Girls volleyball was ranked second in the state for the 5A league during their preseason. As of the end of the season, the team ranked no. 12 in the state. 

“It’s like a thing where people only come to support their girlfriends and that’s pretty much it. So there’s no real student section compared to football or basketball,” varsity girls volleyball defensive specialist Reese Waller ‘25 said. “It definitely depended on the game I feel. But for the most part, it was like, 20 people or less. I know that there were a lot of people that showed up to one of our breast cancer awareness things where we wore pink, and they gave out prizes to people who did the raffle.”  

For softball, the question of admin’s participation was also put in the spotlight. 

“We barely got any student support, even adult support, which doesn’t really help the program. It kind of makes us feel like we’re not seen at all, or that no one cares about our sport when we try really hard to be seen and to represent the school really well,” varsity softball outfielder Sydney Lowery ‘25 said.

“We were able to get a couple of teachers to come to some games. But it’s even hard to get some parents and it’s definitely difficult to get admin to come up to games. Mr. [Ty] Clark showed up to a lot of games, which was great. But with everyone’s busy schedule, it’s hard. But we have a lot of games during the season so it’s not difficult to make one or two games. It’s not that long of a game to make, like, you just go and sit there.”

Female student-athletes seem to be in agreement that support primarily comes from family, some friends and significant others. Despite the majority of teams having had successful seasons and performing better than the national average as supported by MaxPreps data, Jaguar support for these teams continues to disappoint. 

We must do better as the Jaguar community. The Golden Boys praise the Canyon Crazies as the “Best Student Section” but I beg to differ and the attendance at girls games agree. 

“[I’ve been to] probably about 50 [boys games] in total across all sports in all my years here,” B Koheil ‘24 said. “I’ve been to a total of zero [girls games]. I’m just more friends with the guys on the sports teams. I don’t really know that many girls that play and also none of my friends have ever wanted to go to a girls game so we never found our way there.” 

Other students also found themselves in the same position as Koheil. 

“[I’ve been to] probably over 10 [boys games]. I haven’t been to any [girls games] yet but I look forward to going,” Carter Zhjac ‘27 said. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the lack of fan support is a common fact among female athletes and their teams. 

Through data collected by Athletic Assistant Karissa Osoba, ticketing numbers (dollar amount sold does not include Activity Passes or any booster club passes) between sports greatly vary. For instance, just by looking at ticket sales for both basketball teams this season, boys basketball sold over $24,980 worth of tickets while girls basketball only sold $10,990. Between these numbers alone there is almost a $14,000 discrepancy, proving that our support problem goes beyond just a few supporters not attending. 

My take: The Black and Gold Overalls May Be To Blame

If you have ever been to a football or boys basketball game, you may notice four seniors in black and gold overalls. These seniors are the Golden Boys. The group serves as the Canyon Crazies spirit leaders. The four boys are in charge of leading chants and promoting spirit themes for games. 

“For me, I go for the student section, and the girls games usually don’t have a student section. If they did I would totally go. [To bring in a bigger student section], it’s getting the Golden Boys out there really I feel like, usually they are the ones that are outgoing and bring the [student] sections,” Brennan Lanam ‘24 said. 

The video depicts Golden Boys, Gavin Neira '24, Andrew Southall '24, Matt Hardin '24 and Luke Fischer '24 leaving the girls basketball Elite Eight game during the first period against Valor Christian High School Feb.29 at the Denver Coliseum. Jaguars lost 60-44 L. Media by Sanaa Sow

Their influence over the student body’s attendance was made clear when the Golden Boys were put on probation for their alleged actions including fighting in the school’s parking lot after the boys basketball game against Mountain Vista, in which the Jaguars lost 67-54 L. After the incident, the Golden Boys were suspended for three games, where both attendance and school spirit were at an all-time low. For instance, at boys basketball Senior Night Feb. 8, three days after announcing their suspension from the games, the student section did not show up in spirit gear nor did they participate in the usual amount of chants.  

“I tried to go to as many basketball games as I could because they were just a fun thing to do with my friends. When the Golden Boys got out on probation, there were definitely less people there. The student section had way less energy and the games weren’t as fun,” Clara Benko ‘24 said. 

Administration also has experienced its own set of problems with the group.

“The Golden Boys have always been a challenge as long as I’ve been here because the Golden Boys are not a school-sanctioned thing. So it’s not like we control who the Golden Boys are going to be, nor do we give them direction on what to do,” Principal Andrew Abner said. “But, that being said, I want [to] have more conversations with them and ask them the same question you’re asking me. What do you guys think you should do as Golden Boys in terms of support? So, for example, I saw yesterday that the Golden Boys posted that we were playing a soccer match against Vista last night. I was at the game. The Golden Boys were not at the game.” 

Throughout the year, the Golden Boys have promoted themselves as committed fans of sports such as football and boys basketball. But, once those seasons end, the support for other teams falls short.

The Golden Boys decided not to comment.  

“It literally took us everything to get the Golden Boys to post us on their account. It was so frustrating… When they did show up, they weren’t as outgoing as they are for football or basketball games. No one is doing anything, no one’s cheering and no one’s making it fun for us,” Waller said. 

But for others, not receiving support from the Golden Boys has not served as a big impact of why their attendance is low. 

“I don’t really like them all that much. I think it’s a little too rowdy,” varsity tennis player Lauren Vick ‘24 said. “I think if [the Golden Boys] are going to attend the guy football games in the fall and then go to all the boys basketball games then you need to be at girls basketball, girls soccer, like we deserve equal recognition as women… But, as far as tennis goes, we don’t really want that type of energy at a really formal match.” 

This leads me to conclude that lack of support can not only be blamed on one social group. Societal norms have shown a great interest in male-dominated sports in the United States such as the National Football League (NFL) which generates over 17.9 million viewers per game, the National Basketball Association (NBA) which produces over 1.6 million viewers per game and Major League Baseball which gets over 1.5 million viewers per game. On the other hand, the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBA) averaged 627,000 viewers this whole season and the US Open Coverage averaged 1 million viewers total being one of its highest due to Coco Gauff’s victory.   

“I would definitely say men’s sports have a bigger kind of following… women’s sports just recently [have] actually started going up in attendance, like I’ve been watching some women’s soccer games and seeing the attendance from years ago was nothing and now they are selling out,” Rossner said. “But, it’s more I feel like over a period of time, men’s sports were always there. Like, if you watch sports, you watch men. But [women’s sports are] definitely getting more prevalent now which is great.” 

 The Solutions: Bringing the Jaguars Together

It is never too late to change bad habits. We are, for the most part, guilty of not going out and supporting our women athletes, but it is never too late to change. For current freshmen, sophomores and juniors, let’s learn from this year’s mistakes and make next school year a better one, a more inclusive one. Here is how: 

Advertising on Social Media: Connecting Teams Across Platforms

Start by following the team’s Instagram handles. By following these accounts, as Jaguars, we can become more educated on when certain games will be happening and all the information so that we can be there and present. Additionally, by following these Instagram handles, you can freely repost game day schedules to share with others. 

“I think [we] could do the same thing they do for the guys, just posting on Instagram. So, I think we need to get people that everyone knows to come to our games first and then [the Golden Boys] will follow because if the Golden Boys are posting but won’t even come to our games, there’s no one else that going to follow,” Harding said. 

Teams Supporting Teams: Building Community

One of the best ways to influence and set an example will be to have teams attend other team’s events. For example,

“I feel like a big thing could be like getting other sports together, like coaches together, and say ‘we’d love to have a game of the week,’ so all other sports can come to support different sports as well,” Rossner said. “That always helps because they’ll bring their friends, so just kind of reaching out to people about it more.” 

Golden Girls: For Girls Supporting Girls

The newest solution to come to the Jaguar community is Golden Girls. Three junior girls including Amelia Solano ‘25, Cleo Melville ‘25 and myself have begun to organize a new school-affiliated spirit group with the help of both our Athletics and Activities Directors Thomas Brieske and Tyree Clark.

“We would love to just increase student turnout, support and just awareness for the women’s teams at Rock Canyon. And hopefully, be able to facilitate a positive student culture towards them and supporting them and being on their side,” Solano said. “We will definitely be creating a Remind before the end of the school year just so people interested can join and receive updates about what we’re doing. Also, we’re hoping to meet up over the summer and just kind of discuss our goals and have some club bonding.” 

Any girl a part of the Jaguar community will be welcome to join the club. 

“We’re looking for girls who are really just ready to get out there who enjoy going to football and basketball games and want to find other opportunities to do that and support their peers… really just girls who are ready to cheer on no matter what and contribute to a positive environment in sports, and represent girls supporting girls,” Solano said.

Editor’s Note

Representatives from all teams were contacted; Not all responded to requests for interviews.

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