The Ranger Review

Athletes and Artists: Divided or United?

Brooke Obar and Olivia Giandrea

Brooke Obar and Olivia Giandrea

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We’ve grown up at Greely for our entire lives, and we’ve participated in a range of activities: running, swimming, basketball, band, singing. When rumors began to spread after Spirit Week last year that the artists and athletes of the school were fighting each other, we were hurt. So, we used an AP Language research assignment in Ms. Burroughs’ class as an opportunity to disprove that there’s a divide between artists and athletes. After looking more closely at our research results, however, we found ourselves rethinking our position.

Which activities have you attended this year to support your friends?

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We recently sent out a survey to a randomly selected group of 58 students. We combined our qualifications to represent both sides of the creative extremes. Livy represents the artistic side because she has been a member of Greely’s theater, band, and Madrigals programs throughout high school. Brooke represents the athletic side because she is a multi-season varsity athlete. We brainstormed questions to try and prompt honest answers from students without directly asking them if they thought there was a divide between artists and athletes to avoid any sort of bias in our data. We sent it out with a confident idea of what everyone would answer; there would be a wide variety of participation in Greely’s extracurriculars options. But when the results came in, we were shocked to find that the fabled “divide” was more of a reality than we expected.

Our data, surveying equal amounts of kids from each grade, showed that the majority of students, 41 out of 56 (73.2%), were athletes (see figure 1). The musicians/artists, 15 out of 56 kids (26.8%), paled in comparison. It’s obvious that students at Greely are extremely athletic, but what surprised us was the consistency in those athletes–those who were athletes were only athletes. As stated earlier, 15 out of the 56 interviewed students are involved in Greely’s extracurricular art programs. However, 11 of those 15 artistic students (73.3%) play a sport and a large amount of those students (5 out of 11, 45.5%) play sports for three seasons. On the other hand, only 15 out of the 41 athletes (36.6%) are also artists. In summary, while those in the arts also participate in athletics, athletes are less involved in the arts.

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However, our analysis of the reported friend groups was far more promising. We’ve been friends practically since we could talk, so it seemed obvious before we sent out our survey that others growing up in a tiny rural town in Maine would have both artistic and athletic friends.  The survey prompted students to think of two different close friends and select which activities they were involved in. Because the school is primarily athletic, almost all of the friends of our surveyed students were also athletes. But the groups still intermingled. Of 112 reported friends, 87 of them (77.7%) were athletes and 37 of them (33%) were artists, with 25 students identifying as both an athlete and an artist. Again, the number of artists who also play a sport (25 out of 38, 73.7%) immensely outnumbered the number of athletes who identified as artists (25 out of 87, 28.7%). This shows that people aren’t purposely choosing to be friends with athletes. Our data proved that the chances of meeting a student at Greely who isn’t involved in athletics is just extremely slim. Most students, even students only involved in art or no activities at all, reported to have both their closest friends as athletes because of this immense population.

Attending and cheering on matches and watching a play means a lot to the students who put so much hard work into what they love and helps strengthens our school-wide bond.”

We also found that the artists are far more willing to attend other activities than the athletes are. Artists receive less student support at their performances than athletes do at their games. 47 out of the 56 students (84%) reported that they attended sports matches/games to support their athletic peers. 33 of these 56 students (59%) said that they attended performances of the arts. Only 3 of these 33 arts-supporting students said that they didn’t attend sports matches while 12 of the 47 athlete supporters said that they didn’t attend any arts performances–not an awful divide, but a divide nonetheless.

We believe this issue is due to the sheer number of athletes in our school and how less publicized arts performances are compared to the athletic games. Of course, we’re not here to urge students to reject participating in sports. We actually want to enunciate how important sports are in the high school social structure. Being in a sport connects students to so many unique aspects of our school, including amazing new friend groups. Still, we want to remind Rangers that the arts can do that as well. Just as much dedication goes into a band concert or a musical performance.

A lot of the artists already compete in sports, and we would like to encourage more students to try and branch out and experience the other side of our school’s culture just like these multi-talented students. Arts and athletics both allow healthy expression of one’s mind, reduce stress, and bring people together. Attending and cheering on matches and watching a play means a lot to the students who put so much hard work into what they love and helps strengthens our school-wide bond.

Encourage your fellow teammates on the field to try their hand in art club, or get the other saxophones in your section to join indoor track. Let’s all work together to make our community happier each day. We shouldn’t be just surviving high school. We should be enjoying it!

See you on the field and stage, or cheering in the stands and audience! Go Rangers!

Figure 1 – Surveyed Students Extracurricular Participation at GHS  (Dec. 2018)

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Athletes and Artists: Divided or United?”

  1. Holly Susla on December 19th, 2018 6:47 pm

    Thank you Brooke and Olivia, for sharing your research on this relevant topic. I especially like your ending paragraph encouraging students to try new activities!

  2. Sarah Bailey on December 20th, 2018 10:01 am

    Wow! I’m so impressed by your work. Thank you for digging more deeply into a concerning social trend at GHS. As an arts teacher I think the recent work we have done on improving our culture is paying off. At the most recent chorus concert we had about half of an athletic team show up to support their teammate who sings. It was truly heart-warming. I hope our beautiful new facility might encourage those who are curious about the arts to give it a try. There is a place for everyone!




The Student Newspaper of Greely High School
Athletes and Artists: Divided or United?