Kudos to our Football Team..But what about the rest of us?
Unless you're old and senile, you know that this fall, for the first time in 14 years, the Nantucket Whaler football team won the Island Cup. They won big time too, with a blowout score of...42-0. Yes, by now the whole story probably sounds familiar.
But did you know that last year, the swim team enjoyed an undefeated season for the first time in the program’s history? Did you know that both the boys’ and girls’ teams won both the Bay Colony Championships and the Dual Meet Championships? Did you know that the boys’ soccer team has won its league title for the past 13 consecutive years? Maybe you just learned something new. I’d be willing to bet you had no idea that in 2013, the Quiz Bowl team clinched one of only 16 available spots in a competition in which 120 public and private schools in Massachusetts competed in timed trivia games. The NHS Quiz Bowl team made it on television.
I generally don’t like whiners. I find people who complain to be quite annoying. Hopefully, you are not reading this with a dulled ear, half paying attention and completely dismissing me as some whiny kid.
The purpose of this editorial is not to bash the football team. They won a big game and brought home the Cup. But I am, like some other student athletes at NHS, slightly agitated….wondering why my team's accomplishments did not earn a special all-school assembly and a victory lap around the gym in front of the entire school. Why my team's victory or televised competition did not become the homepage photo on the NHS website. These feelings are secondary, of course, and my most tangible emotion is that of pride - I am happy for the football team - but every time their accomplishments earn something mine apparently didn’t deserve, these feelings surface.
Why aren’t my team's accomplishments celebrated with equal rigor? My skeptics are probably thinking - “because football has a significantly larger following in this community than any of the other sports.” To that I say, you're probably right. Over 490 fans traveled to Martha’s Vineyard this year for the Island Cup - that's 19 school buses of fans. The Boys’ Soccer Regional State Tournament Final game this year only brought over enough fans for a single bus. But this argument that more viewers justify more attention for certain sports should not apply to a high school. That argument is used to justify why men's professional sports get more air time than women's professional sports - and in that circumstance, the logic is sound. I don’t see that as a matter of favoritism or sexism, but rather one of the free market: men's sports bring in more viewers and for-profit television channels can charge advertisers higher rates if they have more viewers. Obviously, NHS is not a for-profit entity. Therefore it should do what is fair across the board and celebrate all of its students’ academic and athletic accomplishments with equal rigor.
Senior KD Tornovish, captain of the varsity swim team, summed it up well: “I thought the assembly [for the football teams’ Island Cup victory] was fun, but the NHS swim and dive team had an absolutely incredible season last year. Both boys’ and girls’ teams went undefeated and won championships. It doesn’t get better than that, so where's our assembly?”
Honestly, I am worried that this editorial won’t do anything. That it won’t broaden anyone's perspective or change anyone’s point of view. That when this issue of Veritas sits on our filing cabinet and starts to collect dust, the idea behind this editorial will die along with it. I sure hope I am wrong. But I call out to my fellow students, the faculty, and the administration: don’t forget about the rest of us and our teams and our accomplishments - both academic and athletic, musical and artistic. Make the effort to remind yourselves of all these notable, really incredible achievements - because all of them deserve celebration.