The Head Fanatics are working to promote gender equality in sports and are also writing a mission statement. These changes are the result of high tensions on the Fanatics’ Facebook page as members and supporters of girls’ sports teams pointed out the Head Fanatics’ lack of promotion for girls’ sports so far this year.
“We think that it was a great thing to hear everyone’s opinion on where the Fanatics can be better,” Head Fanatic Gabe Golob ’16 said. “There is no doubt that the Fanatics have improved this year from years past and in order to continue to improve, we have to make sure we support and promote all Wolverines.”
The tensions began Feb. 9 when students protested the fact that Fanatics were promoting the next day’s boys’ basketball and boys’ soccer senior nights while not mentioning that the girls’ basketball team was in double overtime in a home league game and that girls’ water polo was playing its league semifinal the next day as well.
Following some back and forth between students over the inequity in promotion of boys’ and girls’ sports, the Head Fanatics stepped in and posted their response to the conflict, as well as changes they would make.
“As a way to help resolve the issues, I have decided to write a mission statement for the Fanatics and have had the idea approved by our athletic directors,” Golob said in his post. “When it is finished, it will be put in Taper above our student section and will serve as a reminder that we are not only here to support boys’ sports but girls’ sports, as well. I hope this post serves as a first step to calmly continue the discussion about equal representation and support for all sports.”
Since then, the Fanatics have made a noticeable effort to post equally about girls’ and boys’ sports.
“We are [also] working with the Athletic Department and would like to have the statement ready in the upcoming weeks,” Golob said.
However, the Fanatics still have work to do, as indicated by a March 16 Chronicle poll that shows 31 percent of students believe the Head Fanatics do a good job of equally representing both genders.
“I think they have been trying really hard honestly,” Taylor Ingman ’16 said. “After I posted a comment trying to quell the tension in the group, I got apologies texted to me from both [Head Fanatic] Nick [Richmond ’16] and [Golob], who both promised to be more mindful.”
In the end, the Fanatics hope to use this conflict to strengthen their resolve and reputation as one of the strongest and most supportive student sections in the area.
“We hope the creation of the HW Fanatics Twitter page and the mission statement will be [lasting reminders of our legacy],” Golob said.
President Rick Commons and the administration are also optimistic that the Fanatics will continue their efforts to equally promote boys’ and girls’ sports.
“I think the crowd will follow the Fanatics, so I would say the Fanatics are great, and they have the ability to generate real excitement within our community,” Commons said. “I hope they will draw us to contests where people have not been showing up in numbers because if the Fanatics show up, others will.”