Each week, over five million Americans tune in to watch The Bachelor. Penn women’s basketball makes up a small portion of this vast fanbase.
It has become a team tradition for the Quakers to get together each Monday night to watch the Bachelor. This weekly bonding activity has existed for several years. Senior guard Phoebe Sterba recalls that her teammates were fans of the show before she even arrived at Penn.
“That started my freshman year. Sydney Stipanovich and Jackie Falconer, who were two seniors on the team, always invited everyone over to 4030, which was their old house, so we all would just sit in the living room,” Sterba said. “So it was just like a whole thing that we would all look forward to, and we did it for the two seasons that were [on] that year. So it all started there.”
At the time, Stipanovich’s aunt, whom the team fondly referred to as “Mimi,” would buy them Insomnia Cookies every week. During Sterba’s freshman year, this was something for her to look forward to.
The tradition has carried on over the years. The Quakers also bond over watching The Bachelorette, which airs during their offseason.
Each week, junior forward Tori Crawford hosts the team in her apartment, and Sterba makes banana bread to share with her teammates. This treat is enough to draw people to hang out, even if they don’t care much for the show.
“I think the numbers have dwindled down because some people just don’t enjoy watching the Bachelor, but like they still come just to experience it, so I think that in itself speaks [to] what the bond creates,” Sterba said. “People will just come for banana bread or just watch, and they [might not] have even watched an episode yet, but they’ll just come to hang out and talk.”
Sterba, Crawford, senior guard Kendall Grasela, and manager Amanda Lawson are the most consistent Bachelor fans on the team. Sterba emphasized that their love of the show extends beyond Monday night watch parties.
“I try hard not to because I need to stay focused in practice, but sometimes [The Bachelor] says things and he does things that are just stupid,” Sterba said. “It’s so hard not to talk about it. In the locker room, we talk about it a lot.”
For a team that spends so much time together, this time off the court is an important way for the Quakers to rally around something that isn’t basketball-related.
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