Softball, tennis, and bowling are just a few of the sports that receive far less support from the GV community. For some of the teams here at GV, this isn’t the only issue. Another problem some organizations face is not having enough players to compete. Can this be attributed to the small size of the student body here at GV or maybe the lack of sufficient facilities on campus?
A small campus and therefore, a small student body are a few symptoms of the private school blues. These may be costly to the attendance in small sports on campus and detrimental to some teams’ success. However, support is also an issue that contributes to a small number of fans showing up. Many of the teams’ most significant battles come from this.
Often times, the turnout for home games resembles that of an away game for these Viking sports teams. Could this be because some of these groups are on the road in tournaments facing competition outside of Des Moines? They’re facing top-ranked teams in their respective sports and pull off incredible wins over their rivals. Even so, the praise these groups receive is minimal after capping big-time wins. They usually don’t get to hear the roar of a student section filled with a sea of red. Instead, they find the familiar faces of their parents or friends greeting them. Students said thanks to close relatives, turnout isn’t bad.
“The alleys usually are pretty full as we bowl against a bunch of other teams, so parents always come and support their kids,” said Kenan Hall on the bowling team. However, he also confirmed that this might be because a lot of the matches are played outside of Des Moines.
Eisha Nathwani, tennis player, gave an estimate that the attendance can range anywhere from 10-20 people on average at a home meet.
Sometimes the effects of being at a small school can be very costly to some teams such as tennis. Here at GV, they have had to forfeit numerous meets due to not having enough players on the team.
“This fall we had to forfeit two games each time automatically,” Nathwani said. This time around they were playing matches with only five girls in a competition, which is far less than the 12 they had a year ago around this time. Even though it’s currently off-season for tennis, the number they have now is too small. If it remains this size, it will make it much harder to win competitions and get the full experience. The players must instead look for other reasons to continue to do what they do.
“Softball is the thing that gets me through school. It takes a lot of time and effort and endless hours on the field and in the weight room,” said Kristen Webb of the softball team. Despite the time commitment, Webb shared that the GV softball team is one big family. A family is one thing that plays a huge part in people’s lives. This is probably one of the things that make the softball team so impressive, leading them last year to win an outright Heart of America Conference Championship.
Team bonds are without a doubt one of the things that makes playing the sport they love worth it.
“Softball and being a collegiate athlete has taught me time management skills and how to juggle a busy life schedule,” Webb said. Even with a smaller amount of support, these small teams show big heart by making huge strides.