Urban School’s values leave no room for football

Jack Gallo, s

“Whose House? Blues’ House!” is about the only chant that you might hear if you attend an Urban sporting event. However, if you went to a football game on the other side of town at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, a flurry of chants and songs would fill the air as the cheered on the team. Because of Urban’s comparatively small student body, our athletic culture is less prominent than that of a larger school. Furthermore, the reasons behind why Urban does not have a football team is telling of the school’s culture and values.

For example, supporting a football team is a massive financial expense. According to the Chicago Tribune, some schools in the Chicago area spend up to $100,000 annually to support their football program. Football would also require a large commitment from students, as most teams have a roster of around 50 kids – about an eighth of Urban’s student body.

Also, the typical admiration associated with football teams may would not fit into the broader picture of Urban. Football teams tend to come with a very traditional culture that gawks at male athletes and values them as local treasures.

Urban math teacher Riley Maddox recalled his high school football team: “At best, a football game can be an incredible community event … Lots of what I enjoy about Urban’s community – the inclusiveness, (on its best days) the lack of cliques, and the diversity of engagement – was often best brought out by football games … .”

  “On the flip side, however, the football program embodied–perhaps more than any other element–what was worst about high school. The team harbored a culture of exclusivity, and was incredibly anti-intellectual.”

  At a school where there are many socially-conscious individuals who do not put up with traditional stereotypes of male athletes, not only does it make sense that Urban does not have a football team; in fact, a team seems almost impossible to fathom.

Abby Lim-Kimberg, co-leader of Urban’s Students for Women’s Equality and Rights affinity space (SWEAR), said: “I think that football would not be successful at Urban because it is a very typical American symbol for masculinity and dominance (especially among young men) and that kind of outwardly-patriarchal behavior wouldn’t be supported by the community.”

Ultimately, Urban’s attitude towards sports and idolization of athletes, or lack thereof, would not allow for a vibrant football atmosphere to thrive. It is not that students don’t love to come out on a Friday night and support their school teams. In fact, a Facebook event was created for the boys varsity soccer team’s game against University High School on Sept. 25 that consisted of almost a 130 members. Rather, the student body equally values athletics with jazz concerts, theatrical productions, art shows, and student forums. Because the school allocates its resources, and the students give their time to the aforementioned activities, a football team just may not fit in.