Silently Succeeding Sports

Numerous Liberty sports teams achievements are in the dark, but bringing light to them isn’t a difficult task.

The+Liberty+student+section+at+a+football+game.+Football+has+student+section+themes+every+game%2C+which+encourages+support+from+students.

Bolts Journalism

The Liberty student section at a football game. Football has student section themes every game, which encourages support from students.

Winning the state title, voices roaring, parent section exploding. Social media bare, student section empty, peers unaware. This is the sad reality for many sports teams here at Liberty. While certain sports teams are met with cheering student sections and an overflow of encouragement, many are overlooked and almost completely ignored.  

It’s no secret that the student section is a vital part of sports events that many students and athletes look forward to. Without it, the loud uplifting cheers would vanish, along with the much-anticipated crowd themes and displays of school spirit. 

“I don’t feel that the swim and dive team’s recognition is equitable compared to other sports here at Liberty. We don’t really have a student section, only a couple of students come, the rest is family members,” an anonymous source said.

Along with swim and dive, soccer is another sport that receives very little support from students.

“Student sections at soccer games are practically no one. The only people that you see there are people that are supporting their friends, girlfriends, stuff like that, and other than that no other students come. There is never a student section, it’s only parents,” said Sydney Kepros, senior. 

“It would definitely help for more student support at dance team shows and swim meets or track meets or any other kind of sport that goes unnoticed.””

— Natalie Cargin

Sports teams such as soccer, swim and dive, and golf lacks a dedicated student section area. There is no zone reserved specifically for students, nor announcements made to encourage a large turn out of peers at these sporting events. While friends and family members often attend, the majority of the school community remains completely unaware and uninvolved in these extracurricular activities. 

“People could come to our meets, most of them are pretty nearby, especially Brown Deer down the road,” said Margaux Maurus, junior. 

Coupled with the lack of student involvement, the shortage of overall recognition for many teams’ achievements causes numerous activities to feel under-appreciated and cast aside. 

Dance team at Nationals in 2020. Photo Courtesy of Natalie Cargin.

In 2020, the Liberty dance team became State champs for their third year in a row, were first in both routines at regionals, and received eighth and ninth in the nation. This was a success that a majority of Liberty students were virtually unaware of, partially due to the school’s insufficient amount of promotion for the team’s events. Natalie Cargin, a former dancer at Liberty and now JV dance team coach said:

“[A lot] of times we would come back from a competition after having a big win and we wouldn’t even get an announcement.” 

It makes it hard for students to be aware of a sport and its achievements without the school staff bringing any attention to it, Cargin went on to say. 

“Not being recognized for being state champions or top ten in the nation, those in the dance world are such big deals and I feel like our school just doesn’t realize that or recognize it.”

Dance is not the only sport that experiences this feeling of little recognition. The swim and dive team has also dealt with awards going unnoticed. The girls’ swim and dive team has achieved multiple wins and titles throughout their seasons, yet a majority of students remain oblivious to these accomplishments. 

“Last year we got second at State and we have also been undefeated in dual meets for the past 5 years, there has been very little recognition for us, far less than other sports,” said an anonymous source. 

Girls swim team with their 2020 State runner-up trophy. Photo Courtesy of anonymous source.

Part of the reason the swim and dive team receives less recognition may have to do with the fact that the Liberty High swim and dive team is combined with the West High swim team.

“I think being combined with West leads to less recognition at Liberty because everyone thinks of swimming as just a West sport,” said an anonymous source.

Along with the dance and the swim and dive team, the soccer team has often felt unnoticed when it comes to the level of appreciation for their achievements. Last year the boy and girls soccer teams were able to make it through multiple rounds of sub-state. Kepros is on the girl’s soccer team, said that she was sure almost no one knew about this. 

Maurus mentioned her view on the recognition of the girl’s golf team that she is a part of. Maurus’ sister, Neely, was able to qualify for state last year along with sophomore, Isabella Pettersen. She mentioned that there was little to no recognition from the school on social media platforms or even through school announcements. 

Girls golf team after a win. Photo Courtesy of Margaux Maurus.

Winning state or any title is a big deal for all sports. While some sports are praised no matter their level of performance, others are dismissed and overlooked. These teams are often the ones bringing home titles, making the shortage of recognition very frustrating to athletes.

Although under-appreciation and unfair recognition in sports is an issue, there are many solutions that could create a community in which all athletes are appreciated by their peers and all teams are recognized for their victories.

“I feel that if Liberty took more ownership of the sport [swim] it would help with recognition and student support,” said the anonymous source.

Morrison said that there are numerous steps being taken by the school community towards equal sports appreciation. 

“We have some plans we would like to roll out as soon as possible.  Obviously, this takes a lot of people and resources to implement. We would love to expand our live stream, YouTube Channel, Liberty TV, and other outlets.  We will be looking for students willing to be involved in these groups,” said Morrison.

For many Liberty sports teams, social media is an outlet for them to share their accomplishments.

“I don’t feel that the swim and dive team’s recognition is equitable compared to other sports here at Liberty. We don’t really have a student section, only a couple of students come, the rest is family members.” ”

— Anonymous

“Currently we utilize social media as much as possible. Most of our teams have their own social media accounts and promote their teams through those outlets.  As we continue to grow and get more students involved in promoting our athletic and fine arts events, we will be able to have much greater coverage of all activities,” said Morrison. 

Maurus agreed with Morrison and also went on to add that increased use of the Bolt newspaper for sports events could result in an increase of recognition for all sports. 

“We could definitely post about it more on Liberty Instagram or the Bolt Live Wire,” said Maurus.

Along with the increase of social media usage and promotion, more student support is critical.

“It would definitely help for more student support at dance team shows and swim meets or track meets or any other kind of sport that goes unnoticed,” said Cargin. 

Morrison believes that the lack of student support would not be a problem if they attended any of these events just one time.

Morrison said, “If you can get fans to attend one time, they will most likely be hooked.” 

The absence of appreciation for all sports may not be an issue often considered, but it’s one that can easily be fixed. It only takes encouragement and interest from the students and staff to show Liberty’s sports that they are all seen and valued.