Friday Night Spikes Heralds Women’s Sports


Fiona Spillane, Contributing Writer

Poly began this year motivated to “bring back Poly spirit” in all aspects of school life. Sports Information Director and Middle School Athletic Director William McNally brought something new to the table: a rejuvenated focus on the representation of female sports at Poly. There have been Blue Devil Nights in past years, but only for football. This year, Blue Devil Nights, according to McNally, will be structured around female athletes. McNally said he strives to achieve a community in which Poly equally represents all sports teams, and the individual athletes can get the support and attention they deserve. 

McNally intends Blue Devil Nights to be different from regular season games, stating he “wanted to focus on doing some for different groups, and we certainly want to focus on making sure we highlight female athletes.”

Throughout the school year, Blue Devil Nights will showcase different teams. In the women’s sports-specific Blue Devil Nights, attendees and players can expect food, music (female artists only, a suggestion by Kym Carter, Poly’s new Head of Athletics, who has said one of her main goals is to promote girl’s sports events), a limited edition t-shirt customized for the sport, and support from family, friends, and fellow student-athletes.

In an interview with Carter, she brought up the anniversary of Title IX; a law passed in 1972 prohibiting discrimination in education based on sex. This law simultaneously revolutionized women’s sports, giving women the right to equal opportunities in athletics that were previously unavailable to them. In recognition of this shift, Carter said the project to increase support for women’s sports was created around the anniversary of Title IX, but not because of it. Women and girls in sports need to be recognized regardless of this historic occasion.

  Poly’s female sports teams are some of the most successful in the Ivy Prep League, with many Ivy League and NYSAIS Champion titles attributed to each team. McNally expresses Poly “certainly wants that to be out there. We don’t want that to be a secret. That’s something we have great pride in.”

Despite the teams’ strong records, prior to this year there hasn’t been advertising specifically for nights geared towards highlighting women’s sports that is comparable to the football team’s “Friday Night Lights.”

McNally is attempting “to create events for everyone” that connect students from all grade levels and make Poly “a place of joy and where you can make nice memories.” One goal he has for these nights is to inspire the younger athletes in both the Middle and Lower School and have them be able to say, “in a couple of years, that’s going to be me.”

Although there are many objectives for these nights, McNally believes the most important thing is for “people to see our student-athletes…we just want to show them love.” He also highlights the importance of the “unforced way that different teams come out to support each other across the board.”

McNally said he believes that the first of these nights, “Friday Night Spikes,” went very well, considering it was the lead-off event. He received a lot of positive feedback and hopes these nights can become a new tradition. He noted large-scale school-wide events like these do not go without their complications (i.e., scheduling conflicts, opponents dropping out, etc.). Nonetheless, attendees and student-athletes alike considered the night successful. In a text message to the Polygon, Victoria Gontowicz ’23, a member of the Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team, reflected positively on the first of these nights, “Our team is very big on culture and these kinds of events let us build this culture and tradition to pass it onto future athletes. It was great to have a big crowd support our success, and Coach McNally definitely contributed to that.”

McNally looks to what we can expect for the future this year: “We’ve tried to do one thing each season for this year. February 1st is National Women and Girls in Sports Day. We’re gonna have some things around our Girls’ Varsity Basketball game against Fieldston, and then we’re also going to do it when the softball field opens. That’s kind of like our fall, winter, and spring [seasons], but we’re also trying to do things around other sports and other activities as well.”