Theory: Volleyball could be a mainstream sport … if everyone played naked.

Here in America, we have three major sports industries. These are (in no particular order) baseball, basketball, and football. Sure, we have hockey, soccer, and to some extent, golf, but none of these sports possess the annual draw and media attention that the other three do. Baseball alone has 162 games played a year and even when the season is over, offseason trades tend to take precedence over who won the Columbus Blue Jackets/St. Louis Blues game the night before. It’s just a common fact.

I will say that there are die hard golf, tennis, hockey, and soccer fans out there. That’s an undeniable fact too. I also have felt the World Cup fever, been excited over the Stanley Cup from time to time, and even tuned in when Roger Federer competed for his 10 billionth Wimbledon championship. However, I don’t find myself following these sports as closely as I would baseball, basketball, or football. And part of that is the media’s doing.

For instance, the ultra-hyped Super Bowls are a perfect example. Even if you’re not that big on football, you can still watch for the commercials that cost millions of dollars to even put on the air. Unfortunately, the other sports aren’t always as large a platform as football. One of golf’s bigger promotions in the last few years has been the comeback of Tiger Woods, aka the recovering “sex addict.” Not exactly the best media coverage, but some press is better than no press, I suppose.

Which is a great lead into what I’m proposing. And I believe this to be an honest and modest proposal meant to be taken with serious consideration. How does one make volleyball a mainstream stay in the American market? Yes, I have an answer for you: volleyball should be played in the bare. Buck naked; as nature intended; in a birthday suit…or however else you wanna call it.

Don’t think that’ll help? Well, let’s take a look at history, shall we?

The ancient Greeks used to compete in the nude when they had their Olympic games. These events were performed primarily as tributes to their gods, but the reason for the nakedness was to make it impossible conceal anything. Participation was mano-a-mano and unless the Greeks possessed some primitive form of steroids back then, it’d be rather hard to cheat when you’re stripped down to your flesh. But hey, all things considered, look where we are now. The Olympics are a constant every four years and could be considered one of the best ways to settle differences between nations (or just ignite new ones). I know what you’re thinking too – the competitors aren’t naked but the concept sure started out that way. And let’s not forget how Kim Kardashian first became popular. Granted I don’t really approve of her methods but would anyone have known her had it not been for the infamous sex tapes? Maybe, maybe not. However, I guarantee that if some celebrity suddenly “leaked” one of their own private videos on the internet, their collective stock would increase ten fold (sad enough as that is).

So why not let volleyball in on that action? Specifically outdoor volleyball. True, the sand could be a real issue for people but that’s all part of the game, right? You have to take the good with the bad. If it becomes too much, then play on the grass. That could be painful too, but think of the ratings here, people. And once we have a firm grasp on the major market, we’ll let our players wear bottoms if it becomes too much (sorry ladies, but I won’t give away the whole farm just yet).

My one disclaimer would be that the rule only apply to the professionals. Considering how I play in some leagues myself, I don’t exactly want to bear witness to some of my teammates jumping around in just their skin. Especially if it’s coed. That’s just not cool. Despite that, I’ll still stand by my original proposition. It’s an easy enough rule to implement; all that’s required is mutual cooperation on the part of the players. Sure, there would be no shoe deals or clothing lines, but volleyball players could become major spokespersons for issues like skin cancer awareness. And we all know that’s a growing epidemic in this great country, if not around the world.

So you want ratings, volleyball? You want to be recognized as a major player in the sports realm? Then you’re gonna have to let it all hang out.

Literally.

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