I would like to enthusiastically applaud the two features in the Jan. 14 issue of The GW Hatchet that dealt with the clear evidence of a lack of student body support for the women’s basketball program at GW (“GW should be ashamed of turnout for women’s basketball,” “Need reasons to come to GW women’s game?” p. 16).
Little can be added to the strong points made except that this has been the case for the last nine or 10 years – even when the women’s team was among the top teams in the nation.
As a GW graduate from the 1960s, I marvel at accounts of 10,000-plus for a women’s game at the University of Connecticut or 15,000 for a Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt game. This lack of support shows up not only in small crowds, but in other signs – for example, the absence of the pep band at the VPI game (the men had a smaller band during their game, so what was the problem?).
I have followed GW basketball since 1955 and have been a season ticket holder for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams for many years. While I am always pleased with the success of both teams, I most confess that from the standpoint of my investment – time, money for tickets, modest contributions to both programs and encouraging others to attend games – I have gotten more from what I’ve given to the women’s program. No game in either program has ever matched the fantastic women’s comeback from a 17-point deficit in the last seven minutes in the 1995 NCAA Tournament game at the Smith Center vs. Drake.
This brings up the question of how to change an unsatisfactory situation. Appeals to school loyalty or spirit are probably out of date in this era. However, if students would attend a game or two on a trial basis, they would see what a fine group of GW athletes these women are and would be encouraged to attend more games.
One last point – even after many years, the women’s program still represents the ideal of the student-athlete. For example, Mary Kay Nordling, a former center on the team, graduated from the GW medical school and is interning at a hospital in Pittsburgh.
The Hatchet is to be commended for the recent articles. Hopefully it may lead to something positive.
-The writer is a resident of Arlington, Va.