Sport dress codes at East

Belle Gorsline, Staff Writer

“Practice is sometimes really hard,” says Abby Willaims 20, “but all the girls on my teamwork really hard.” That’s what being an athlete means: consistently and determinedly working hard. Whether it’s sprinting to the finish line, shooting a goal, or so much more, an athlete’s body must be able to endure a lot of physical distress. With that comes attire: the uniform athletes are wearing should obviously allow them to move freely and easily, enhancing rather than hindering the end result. Considering that there are undertones of sexism with the dress code for many schools, it’s interesting how sports attire compared, and if our female athletes feel comfortable with what they are required to wear for their sports.

According to the East handbook:

“Students’ dress and grooming must not disrupt the educational process, interfere with the maintenance of a positive teaching/learning climate, or compromise reasonable school and/or community standards of health, safety, and decency.” 

This, however, is all that the school district addresses in terms of uniform. The MHSAA is responsible for outlining what specific aspects of a uniform are necessary, and they are considerably lenient when it comes to uniforms and regulations for the clothing worn at practice. They extend a lot of responsibility to the coaches, and beyond students being able to “remove articles of uniform if possible” when hot, it is up to the coaches what is appropriate and what is not.

“For cross country practice, it’s just a regular workout clothes, so you can really wear whatever you want,” says Caroline Roth 20. Similarly, Abby Williams added that besides “tucking out jerseys in,” volleyball coaches aren’t very strict when it comes to dress code.

Even some of the schools best female athletes if they feel comfortable in what seems to be the equivalent of going shirtless for boys (something that is done quite often): wearing a sports bra. According to Roth, “During XC workouts, a lot of girls wear sports bras” and Williams noted that in track, girls do the same thing, and for both of them, wearing a sports bra in practice does not make them feel at all uncomfortable.

Clearly, much of the power, in terms of uniform regulations, lands in coach’s hands…so are they doing enough to make their athletes feel comfortable? It seemed like overall, athletes feel comfortable in their uniforms, and have the ability to take off parts of it (without being inappropriate) to cool down when necessary. Despite some small differences in dress code in general, both boys and girls not only feel comfortable in their sport’s attire but they seemingly really like their uniforms. As a school, it’s of the utmost importance that all of our athletes are given opportunities to perform the best they can, and as rudimentary as it sounds, how uniforms are addressed by the school plays a definite role in that. Luckily for East Grand Rapids athletes, our school does a pretty good job.