The following is in regard to Jeanny Sharpís Tuesday editorial on Ottawa High Schoolís student section at the recent sub-state basketball tournament.

Yes, the students do a wonderful job in supporting our boys athletics, with their strong cheering and chants, and have done so throughout the season, as they are known to do. However, itís a totally different story when it comes to supporting the girls athletics. Sure, they showed up, cheering and standing at sub-state, but if you had seen them during the regular season, the opposing teams usually had a louder and larger student group at the girls games than we did (even at our own home games).

Another case in point: The girls played in the championship tournament earlier this week in Salina, but there was virtually no active student section. The student section consisted of the OHS boys basketball team, their managers and four other students ó including a couple of middle school students. There also were two other OHS students who came to support the girls, but they chose to sit with their parents as the parentsí cheering section was more active and louder than our student section. Very sad indeed.

Itís not all the studentsí fault. My understanding is that if the kids are involved in spring sports ó such as soccer or track ó their coaches were not very supportive of allowing them to miss practice to attend the state basketball tournament. So those kids were reluctant to miss three days of practice, hoping to somewhat appease their coaches by missing only one or two practices to attend later in the week.

I also want to highly commend the OHS cheerleaders. They travel to all of the games, boys and girls, and cheer loud and proud. They donít get the recognition they deserve. And even though they are at every game, they have to travel back and forth, whereas the school allows the teams to stay overnight. The cheer squad is a team too, and a very important and supportive one. They should be given money from the budget to travel and stay during state appearances.

Lastly, the pep band ... They werenít around earlier this week at the girlsí game. Once again, itís my understanding the students volunteer to play.

I know this lack of support by their fellow students is not a new challenge for OHS girls sports. Itís been this way for years and was also noted during the girlsí noteworthy volleyball season this past fall. It really is sad when an opposing team brings in a more loud and proud student section on your own home court.

I want to congratulate those few students who attend the OHS girls sports activities. Your support is greatly appreciated by the athletes and their families.

ó Betty Birzer, Ottawa