Friday, October 09, 2009

ESPN Nude Volleyball Article Online

Here. It's generally positive, and it will reach a large audience, but it does manage to perpetuate many of the negative and ignorant attitudes towards nudism and the human body.
When we drive through White Thorn's front gate, all of our concerns disappear, replaced by sheer and utter disbelief. An elderly man carrying a clipboard approaches on the driver's side. He wears one of those Day-Glo orange vests that are popular with parking attendant types -- and nothing else. I can't help but gawk at his manhood. Not surprisingly, it looks like every other one I've ever seen. Next to him stands a stout woman with short gray hair. She's in jeans and a burgundy flannel shirt, unbuttoned halfway to reveal two bronzed, sagging breasts in their entirety (I swear I've seen her on HBO's Real Sex). Jeans and a flannel? Yes, it is unseasonably cool for the last week of summer -- temps are in the low 60s -- but still. "We're nudists," the woman says, "but we're not stupid."
Don't people understand that such callous disregard for someone's appearance is hurtful? And why is it that nudists have to keep telling people that "we're not stupid?" It's discouraging that we have to keep apologizing for and justifying our lifestyle.

Anyway, like I said, there is a positive message:
"None of us is ready to get naked," says Michele. But by the time the ref (naked) blows the first whistle, we're all rocking birthday suits. As it turns out, it's not unlike rocking a new pair of prescription glasses. At first we're very conscious of the difference, but before long we don't even notice. Everyone else is doing what we're doing, so by definition, it's normal. And playing a very high level of volleyball, we all get caught up in the game. "At first I felt unprotected," Carol says later. "Like, just because I had my clothes off I was going to get hit in the crotch. But after about five minutes, I totally forgot I was naked."
"By definition, it's normal." That nails it perfectly.

The closing statement to the article is "Can't wait to come back next year." Hopefully White Thorn Lodge will be able to handle the potential influx of more participants and watchers next year. It's always been first come, first served, so they might be forced to adopt a reservation or ticket system. At any rate, this sort of publicity, although still less than ideal, should be a shot in the arm to nude recreation.


thomas said...

I like the comparison to new prescription glasses. That seems an apt description of how it feels to be nude in public for the first time.

Academic Naturist said...

I went to 3 stores looking for that magazine, one of which had the old issue. Then, I come home to find that it's online!

I think it's a pretty good article! What makes it better is that they've been hyping the "body issue" with promises of nude athletes, so I bet the magazine will sell more than usual.

I bet many v-ball players will see this as a challenge.