Every week, USA TODAY High School Sports’ Suzanne Schwerer asks our panel of female athletes a handful of questions on a certain topic surrounding sports.
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Meet the panel
Nadia Salman is a senior at The Roeper School in Birmingham, Michigan. She plays volleyball, basketball, and track – but her passion lies in basketball.
Sierra Ray is a junior at Dayton High School in Dayton, Oregon. She plays softball, volleyball, and basketball, but her true passion is softball.
Emma Caviness is a Junior at Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, Massachusetts. She plays field hockey year round, and she’s passionate about her high school team.
Today’s topic: Cliques
What is the divide like in your school? Do different groups, specifically athletes, tend to keep themselves?
Nadia: Athletes stick together. At my school, during basketball season, the boys’ and girls’ basketball programs all mesh together socially to form what must seem like one large clique.
Sierra: At my school, there is definitely some different groups. However, there isn’t a specific group of just athletes.
What are the benefits to cliques? What are the negatives?
Nadia: Cliques are like a family. That’s why they are so appealing. The positives and negatives to any clique all come back to the same idea – exclusivity. It feels good to be part of an exclusive group (ex. sororities, teams, clubs, etc.), but it never feels good to be excluded.
Sierra: A benefit of cliques is that there are groups of people with the same interests as you. The negatives are that some people may felt left out and they can sometimes become segregated.
Emma: During the season, athletes are inseparable. It’s almost as if we spend ever waking hour together. But after sports end, the groups disperse.
Would you consider yourself part of a “clique”?
Nadia: I see my teammates every day for two hours after school and every Saturday morning for practice. We share long bus rides, have team sleepovers, and eat lunch together on game days. Spending this much time with the same eight girls forms something that could be referred to as a “clique”, but might more accurately described as a family.
Sierra: I don’t really consider myself part of a clique because I tend to hang out with a lot o different types of people. I definitely tend to hang out the most with athletes though.
Emma: I don’t consider myself part of a clique. If I were to invite all my closest friends over, they would not get along. I have lots of friends with different interests, and cannot describe myself with one clique.
Have you ever experienced any backlash for wandering outside of your clique?
Emma: During the season, the field hockey team and girls soccer team have a friendly rivalry. Though in the end we support each other and are friends with each other, field hockey girls stay with the field hockey girls and soccer girls stay with the soccer girls.