Sports team shows an absence of diversity

Ella Kanter, In-Depth Editor

You walk into tryouts, lace up your cleats and step out onto the field. Looking around, you suddenly get the feeling that you, nor anyone else within your race belongs there.

Certain Evanston sports lack diversity. While some sports teams are composed of a wide range of people, other sports like swimming, hockey, tennis and golf tend to be composed of mostly white players.

An ETHS school participation report states that in the 2016-2017 school year, 29 out of 32 girls golf players and 54 out of 68 boys baseball players were white.

Athletic Director Chris Livatino believes this lack of diversity in sports stems from many reasons, one being the  segregation in sports teams across the United States.

“Sports tend to be self-segregated prior to the high school level,” Livatino says. “There are existing racial stereotypes that are prevalent in our society and that we can’t ignore.”

People tend to choose to play sports that they’ll have success in or where people similar to them have history of success in. This may hinder students of color from trying out for sports with primarily white participants.

“Tennis is looked at as a rich white person sport,” junior varsity tennis player Jaylyn Anderson states. “People of color might feel out of place just by looking at the teams.”

Another factor that leads to the athletic racial divide is economic disparity within Evanston.

“Sports where there are more personal coaches or who are known to be an elite team tend to be predominantly participated in by students who have more economic opportunity,” Livatino explains.

The hockey program in Evanston is an example of a sport with higher financial costs. It is a club, not a school sponsored sport, making it even less accessible to students.

Besides high prices, hockey also requires extensive lessons and practice, which many people don’t have access to.

“I am one of the few black females on the tennis team, which can be tough because there aren’t a lot of people on the team that look like you or understand you,” varsity tennis player Abrielle Claude says.

Angie Escobar from girls varsity swimming, another racially divided sport, is one of the only Latina members.

“I talk to no more than about five girls on varsity and I don’t look like them, act like them and will never be them,” Escobar says. “I feel like I have to prove myself to these girls that I can swim just as fast as them or these stereotypes about Latinas will be proven right.”

The Girls Play Sports organization is working to introduce girls to a wide array of sports before they reach high school, so they feel more comfortable trying out.

The lack of diversity in sports is prevalent, but with the increase in programs like Girls Play Sports, there is hope for the future of Evanston athletics.