[OVERTIME] Don’t forget about JV sports

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[OVERTIME] Don’t forget about JV sports

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The narrative is always clear. High school sports fans, no matter the level of their devotion or their connection to a particular sport, always attend varsity games as opposed to junior varsity or 9th grade games. The logic is clear; varsity games boast the highest level of competition, are generally the most popular game, and are most time convenience of any games offered for a particular sport. The energy at the games is, when packed, contagious; it makes for an enjoyable experience for both fans and the players. But, does this excuse us from ignoring junior varsity games? It shouldn’t.

For one, most of the fans for junior varsity games are the parents of the junior varsity players. By and large, a sports environment is at its peak when students are cheering, and outside of a few special occurrences, they attend games far and few between. As a result, junior varsity players, who happen to usually be underclassmen, drop out of a sport at a much higher rate than varsity players do. Without their peers in the stands to support them, they lose interest in playing; the sacrifices that they make on the court, field, or rink go unnoticed outside of parents and adults. Luckily, there is a solution to this problem. Instead of only advertising coming to varsity games at school the day before the game, teams should make a pledge to include the junior varsity teams in there advertisement as well. They can do so by incentivizing fans to come early; for example, students who watch both the junior varsity and varsity games could get a prize handed out by the team once all games are finished. This way, students are getting more involved not just to watch the most popular game, but by supporting an entire sport and making younger players feel more valued. If this culture is instilled, more younger players will opt against quitting a team, strengthening the program for the future as well.

So, what can you do to increase junior varsity attendance? For one, start the conversation with friends whenever convenient. Ask if they want to see the younger players play before the varsity game, and reference the benefits it has for the sports-watching experience. Talk to other players about advertising all games, and not just varsity games; make an announcement in the blue sheet or during an assembly. Do whatever you can, because supporting all teams is the best option for both fans and players in the long run.

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