Posted by: Female Perspective | September 30, 2010

Who Wears Short Shorts?

                As you may have figured out by now, volleyball remains one of my favorite sports to both play and watch.  The game can be great while growing up and playing for your school, and it can be a great form of exercise later in life.  There are two main forms of volleyball: beach volleyball and indoor hard-court volleyball.  However, the game of volleyball comes with some controversy.  The controversy does not revolve around the rules of the strategy of the game, but instead it focuses on the players’ attire.

                For most indoor court volleyball teams, the uniform includes a tank-top shirt what is usually made of a loose-fitting spandex, and a pair of spandex shorts.  Over the years, these spandex shorts have become shorter and tighter.  The traditional beach volleyball uniform has become nothing more than an itsy-bitsy, barely there bikini bathing suit.  Many people outside and even inside the sport question whether these types of uniforms are necessary to play the game.  Does what these girls where on the court effect their athletic performance?

                In high school, I was member of the varsity volleyball team from my freshman to senior year.  By the time I had reached my freshman year of high school, the team before me had won the battle over spandex against my conservative Christian high school administration.  However, there were restrictions.  Our spandexes were to be finger tip length; when you put your arms to your side the length of your spandex were no shorter than the tips of your fingers.  My teammates and I wore spandex for practices and games.  Many of the girls I played with played volleyball year round and considered it impossible to play the game without their tight, wedgie-giving shorts.  They claimed that the quick sudden movements that you are required to make on the court were made more difficult with baggy shorts; so, having the spandex enhanced their ability to move with the necessary speed and accuracy.  They would also argue that when diving for the ball, if you are wearing baggy shorts, when you hit the floor the fabric of the shorts will ride up.  Therefore, this would cause more skin to be exposed than if you were wearing spandex.  For the entire four years that I played for my high school, these girls fought with the school administration about the length of their spandex. 

                However, the fact remains that many of the shorts that volleyball players are wearing today are more like underwear.  Often times, their shorts are so short and tight that it appears that they are walking around with eternal wedgies.  As a player myself, I understand a preference to play in spandex.  Certainly, it makes movement easier, but what does the length have to do with the ability to move easily?  The whole point of the argument for spandex is that baggy shorts are too difficult to play in.  So, as long as the shorts are tight to the skin, why does the length matter? 

                With complete domination of beach volleyball Olympians, Kerri Walsh and Misty May, beach volleyball has become a much more popular sport.  Summer leagues were formed all over the country the years after the Olympics.  It became known as the “sexy sport” because of the small amount of clothing competitors wear while playing.  Beach volleyball originated on the beach where people traditionally wear bathing suits, so it makes sense that players would want to wear beach attire.  Also, the fact that they are playing sand adds to not wanting to wear a lot of extra clothes.  Most beach volleyball matches are played outside in the middle of the day when it is hot and sticky (there are some areas that do not have beaches, so they set indoor courts).  The main defense for bikinis while playing beach volleyball is once again the need for clothes that are not baggy and therefore will not get in the way. 

                Having played beach volleyball as well, I understand why girls want to play in their bathing suits.  It is simply more comfortable.  However, why do their bathing suits need to be so small?  If you watch a beach volleyball match, you would notice that the women playing are constantly having to adjust their bathing suits.  As a viewer, you are almost waiting for a Janet Jackson like wardrobe malfunction to occur.  It always makes me think just because you have a bathing suit ready body does not mean you have to show it off while playing volleyball. 

                The attire of volleyball players will most likely remain an area of debate within the sport.  Many girls have been turned off by the sport because they feel like it is just a bunch of snobbish girls.  Their risky attire also draws the wrong type of crowd.  Many boys only watched the Olympic beach volleyball tournament because it was a great way to see a bunch of hot girls running around without any clothes on.  Even in high school, there were boys that would openly make comments about the girls’ volleyball and certain areas of their bodies.  Female volleyball players need be aware of what they wearing and if it is actually necessary.        

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