Trinity female athletes on their participation in the event
Bailey McKeon ’22
Have you seen photos of members of women’s sports teams sitting in the stands circulating on social media? Last week, 130 female athletes gathered at Robin L. Sheppard Field to hear grievances from female field hockey and lacrosse players, who were promised permanent seats built on their fields for this fall, and unite in solidarity with female athletes suffering from gender inequalities in athletics. . After taking photos at Robin L. Sheppard Field and Jesse / Miller Field, the women walked to the softball field to shed light on the experience of softball players. Softball players work with a broken scoreboard, a frequently flooded field, and a lack of seats and lights. Many athletes have noticed and reported disparities between the treatment of their own team and that of the men’s team during their time at Trinity.
Regarding the field hockey player experience, in 2019 the sports department made a presentation showing the planned construction of seats at the Jesse / Miller and Robin L. Sheppard fields. The field hockey team looked forward to having permanent seats on their field that could accommodate 1,000 spectators. During the presentation, it was also revealed that Trinity will be hosting the NCAA field hockey tournament in the fall of 2021, this fall. When the field hockey team arrived on campus last August, construction of the Jesse / Miller Field was nearly complete while theirs had yet to begin. Athletic Director Drew Galbraith made an appearance at a field hockey practice to let the players know the bleachers would be arriving any day and construction would be completed quickly.
To players’ surprise, construction was completed in eight hours. Indeed, instead of the promised stadium, only a few temporary 5-row bleachers were assembled on the side of the Robin L. Sheppard field, just behind the huge permanent stadium of the Jesse / Miller field. This was particularly surprising given the historical parity between the Robin L. Sheppard and Jesse / Miller fields. âIt’s frustrating for us because it doesn’t even accommodate 1,000 people like it was supposed to,â said field hockey captain India Shay ’22. Shay and his teammates take on the Connecticut College Camels, whose coach approves seats for the NCAA tournament on Tuesday, October 12. Athletes anticipate that when evaluating their seats that day, the chance to host the NCAAs will likely be forfeited. of the Trinity. âIt’s a huge lost opportunity,â noted Shay.
Inspired by the disappointment and sadness visible on their coach’s face upon seeing the new bleachers, field hockey players ignited their passion for change. The players met up with Drew Galbraith to ask what happened to the stadium they were promised. Her response was that due to COVID and associated costs, the sports department had to dip into the budget for women’s field hockey and lacrosse. Galbraith also explained that the architect who drew the image of the expected stadium on the Robin L. Sheppard field simply “got carried away”. Additionally, Galbraith revealed that there were no formal talks or plans to change what had happened, other than putting Trinity banners on the stands. âWe’re not asking for aesthetics, we’re asking for proper seating,â Shay said.
The team also published a petition. In fact, on the same day the petition was published, the sports department sent emails to former athletes asking for donations. Field hockey alumni, who are aware of what is going on, immediately responded by stating that they would not donate to the sports department at this time as they do not believe their money will be used fairly. .
The petition calls for this error to be corrected by January. âAt the moment we have to accept that nothing will be done in five weeks which is disappointing for a senior like me, but I hope something can be done in time for the women’s lacrosse season this spring. Shay explained.
The initial goal of Shay and his teammates was to raise awareness. Now that the petition has around 2,000 signatures and a conversation about the disparities between men’s and women’s athletics at Trinity has begun, players are now hoping to receive a communication from the administration acknowledging they made a mistake and promising that they will work towards an active repair. âThe lack of validation and recognition of this has been extremely upsetting,â Shay said.
Galbraith only noted in a meeting with the players that he was disappointed to have made the players feel that way. In a meeting with a board member, however, it was admitted that what had happened was unacceptable, inexcusable and needed to be corrected. Supposedly, the board was as much in the dark as the players were. They felt like the photo of the original presentation would be built.
Shay and other members of the field hockey team plan to meet with Galbraith today to discuss it. âI hope they feel the pressure and want to take action to change it,â Shay said.