Equality in the Gyms


Natalie DePaulo

Quaker Women’s Basketball in action!

Carlin Beskrone, Sports Writer

In the 2017-18 school year, several changes were made within the Wilmington Friends School Athletic Department. Prominent among these changes is the shift from the idea of “boys and girls gyms,” whereas the boys basketball team has been located purely in the west gym, while the girls’ team is located in the east gym. Instead, the west gym will now be known as the “game gym” and the east gym as the “practice gym.”

The motivations behind this change in the Athletic Department’s philosophy begin with the fact that the east gym only has one scoreboard, which puts one team at a disadvantage. Additionally, the bleachers are also about three rows shorter in the east gym. Furthermore, the east gym does not have a built in speaker system, so pregame music, announcements of starters before games, and other miscellaneous announcements are unavailable to players in this gym.

In addition to the physical advantages of the west gym, there is also a mental influence that comes from playing in the west gym. “The west gym has always been seen as the ‘good gym.’ Mentally, it’s much easier to play in the west gym – it’s the gym where the important games are played, the gym that has the sound system, the gym that doesn’t have slippery floors, and the gym that doesn’t have dead spots, etc.” commented Natalie DePaulo ’18. DePaulo believes that this new change in attitude regarding these two gyms will also raise the level of respect for the Quaker girls basketball team.

On the other hand, a large part of the school believes that this change will not have a large impact on either the level of play or the atmosphere of play. “I do not think that this will have much of an effect. I don’t see many differences between the gyms. The floors have the same amount of traction. The rims have the same amount of bounce. The courts themselves are about the same, so I think the effect will be minimal,” observed Timmer Farley ’19.

The faculty has taken a relaxed standpoint when about this subject. “I don’t think it changes a lot about [the guy’s] team, but it gives the girls an opportunity to play in front of a larger crowd, which is a good experience. I hope [the change in gyms] wouldn’t have too much of an impact on the atmosphere – I hope WFS fans come to both of our games no matter what gym a team is in,” added Chris Loeffler ’00, Assistant Head of Lower School and head boy’s basketball coach.

Beginning in the 2017-18 winter season, both girls and boys basketball teams will play all games in the west gym. WFS Director Jeff Ransom summed up the community’s attitude toward this change: “I do not think of the gyms in terms of boys and girls gyms. I think of them in terms of east and west gyms.”