The Decline in Girls Basketball: Losses Felt in RHS; BMS Numbers Hopeful


Oona Shain

JV Girls Basketball players look with hope to their middle school counterparts.

Oona Shain, Reporter

The Women’s Sports Foundation writes that Girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities in high school sports than boys”

Girls are dropping out of sports nationwide, and our school has not been spared.

According to Gatorade’s recent “Girls In Sports” study by age fourteen, girls across the country are dropping out of school sports at almost two times the rate of boys. Rhinebeck High School is no different. We’ve seen a direct decline in girl’s sports participation as they start high school. 

Take the girl’s basketball team. For years they’ve had small teams, but this year the decline was dramatic. With only seven high school players, they barely have enough for a JV team and can’t have a Varsity team at all. 

Sports can build confidence, foster teamwork, leadership, and good communication. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation which serves millions of girls and women across the nation, girls and women greatly benefit from involvement in sports. 

Sports improve relationships and most importantly enhance self-image. The benefits of sports for boys, and especially girls is clear, so why do we see such a drop in interest?  

Often times, girls drop out of sports for two main reasons: lack of access and social stigma. 

The Women’s Sports Foundation writes that girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities in highschool sports than boys. 

Rhinebeck has girls and boys teams for almost every sport so it can’t be attributed to lack of access. Perhaps size plays a role. Redhook’s population is larger, and their girls team continues to flourish. Why is RHS girls basketball suffering so much? 

Olivia Helms is a senior and has been a part of RBK basketball since seventh grade. She herself isn’t positive why girls have dropped out but thinks it has to do with losing. Nobody likes to lose, and Rhinebeck girls basketball has been losing a lot. Last year, they lost many of their games and for years before that it was the same thing. Olivia believed that girls aren’t willing to join the team because they don’t want to lose. The girls that quit just don’t find it inspiring anymore.

While losing is hard, it’s also a key life skill. Olivia strongly believes that sports positively affect girls. 

Sports can “form friendships, promote teamwork, and it’s great fitness” plus Olivia added, “it can be super fun.”

Not only do sports contribute to fitness and health but it’s almost crucial for youth, especially female youth, to be involved. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, sports can lead to  better grades, an improved social life and the opportunity to learn life skills. Girls involved in sports, are more likely to have a positive body image and higher self esteem. 

The positive outcomes are undeniable, yet still the lack of players this year made it impossible to have two teams. Mr. Boucher decided it made more sense to have a JV team. Not only does this negatively impact the school and its involvement in sports but also the girls. 

Girls in 11th and 12th should be playing Varsity by now and were rightfully disappointed to play lower down. Other girls weren’t interested in playing JV and some dropped out— yet another group of girls uninspired to join sports. 

With only seven players, our girls will have a tough season ahead, they’ll all have to play almost every minute and won’t be able to play if even one girl is missing or hurt. This is obviously not ideal but the new head coach Ms. Renzi has hope for the future.

Ms. Renzi has had about six years of coaching experience, and when Mr. Boucher asked her to step up she gladly accepted. 

Ms. Renzi’s goal is “to have a program that has a modified, JV and Varsity team, to give the girls all kinds of opportunities.”

While the can’t be a reality right now, and probably not next year, it’s something we can work towards. 

The good news? Girls modified basketball is growing; right now they have two teams. Those girls in 7th and 8th grade are still inspired to do sports, still playing and still invested. Hopefully, that spark will remain during high school and these girls will continue through the program. 

Olivia believes it will. Although she’s scared for the future of Girls Basketball at Rhinebeck, she’s still somewhat hopeful. She has trust in basketball, in our schools program, and in the girls.

She thinks girls basketball will survive and is “optimistic that the girls will stay involved.

As long as we allow and encourage girls to play sports, we can help change patterns. We as a community and school can make sure that sports are a place for everyone.