Why JV and Varsity Sports are Not Equally Supported

Why+JV+and+Varsity+Sports+are+Not+Equally+Supported

Amelia Stone , Reporter

When was the last time you attended a junior varsity game at Stamford High? Every JV game I’ve been to here at SHS has left me as the sole member of the fan section time after time. Our teams’ Instagrams don’t even advertise JV match-ups as frequently! So why is this? What are the repercussions on our junior varsity athletes?

One issue with JV games are the deterrents from attending these games. JV baseball used to play a mile away from school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and JV soccer plays over two miles away at Rippowam. How likely are students, especially those without cars, to travel so far away from games that varsity gets to play at our school? Even when there are home games, it is still a challenge to attend, and is less lively. With games going on when many students are participating in their own extracurricular activities, and the concession stand and spirit wear vendors gone, junior varsity games become less of an immersive experience, and more of a relatively monotonous event. 

Many attendees of Friday night football games are more interested in seeing their friends than watching football, but still show their spirit and support. Without these extra incentives and with the added difficulty of getting to and from games, it begins to make sense as to why JV games are so poorly attended. 

At one of the most recent JV soccer games, there was not a single student representing Stamford High from the stands. Regardless, the game was action-packed, full of exciting plays, and a thrilling win for the Black Knights. It looks like without the addition of food, drink, and the highly sought after varsity title, students aren’t likely to be attending these games. 

I talked with former junior varsity baseball coach and girl’s basketball coach here at Stamford High, Mr. Michael Buzzeo, about how the lack of enthusiasm surrounding JV supporters affected his players. He argued that JV sports get taken as a joke, and it becomes a punishment to play on JV teams. Buzzeo said that some players see sitting on the bench on varsity as more lucrative than having play time on JV. However, being on JV teams can be extraordinarily helpful to an athlete. It is a learning experience, and a chance to build confidence before playing the best of other teams. 

He also noted the lack of support for girls’ sports in comparison to boys’ sports, which is only exacerbated by the junior varsity title. Buzzeo highlighted basketball in particular as a sport with greatly underappreciated teams. He explained that the majority of fan support comes from parents, and that on occasion, freshmen sports are more closely followed and more heavily attended than junior varsity sports. 

I also spoke with junior Ben Yudolevich about what it’s like playing soccer without the support of his peers. Yudolevich explained that some of his teammates felt bad about playing on JV, and saw it as a negative, rather than a chance to play. For him personally, he found it frustrating to be playing on the same team as younger athletes, as he felt he should be playing at a higher caliber. 

When examining it from a holistic viewpoint, it’s clear: if the players see JV as the lesser, and fans see JV as a hassle, the under appreciation of junior varsity sports will remain as it is. I guess it’s up to the last few parents and coaches to keep the spirit alive. 

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