I played volleyball for a long time, varsity in high school. I'm a whopping five foot two and I was an outside hitter and serving specialist, so you can bet I worked hard to be there.
The summer Olympics are filling up our Tivo, and I'm watching as much indoor volleyball as I can.
And every time I hate what beach volleyball has done to my sport.
I feel the same way about the changes in volleyball and the marketing of volleyball that your average varsity football player would feel if suddenly pro-football players were all on the field in muscle shirts and bright pink codpieces.
Specifically, I grabbed a couple of pictures of the internet by doing searches for beach volleyball.
If those little tiny suits were about anything other than selling Nike gear (note the logo placements) and beer ads, they would be wearing something closer to what the men wear, or what track and field people wear. It is not conducive to your serve to be picking your panties and sand out of your ass. It is not conducive to your sport to have sand burn on your inner thighs. It is not conducive to your sport to worry about the last time you had a bikini wax (unless you're a short speed swimmer).
Why does this bother me?
Sure, I'm bothered because it's using sex to sell a sport, because it's portrayed very differently than the same sport played by men, because the camera angles have changed, because the editing, and marketing of the sport has changed.
However, mostly it bothers me because it bleeds off into the Olympic women's volleyball. And then that bleeds off into the college. Which bleeds off into the high school. And suddenly you have girls who won't sign up for volleyball in junior high school and learn to play they game because at 13 and 14 most girls don't want to run around in underwear in front of the boys every day.
They also don't want everyone to know what panties they wore today, or that they have a pubic mound (everyone does, post puberty, but tell that to a 15 year old girl.)
I vividly remember girls threatening to drop off the team if our coaches bought us the "bloomies" that were coming out when I was playing... which were better than the stuff people are wearing now in that they were at least sort of thick and covered the whole butt up.
I think the most comfortable outfits I've seen this year are Japan's women's (the woman defending in white below). They look soft and easy to move in, without being completely stuck on like glue. They look easy to move in, and not so binding. (The US women's outfits seems... hot). They also don't seem to ride up the butt and have to be picked out as much. At the same time they seem to be cut to bot bind the arms or get in the way of quick leg movements, either.
For the record, IMHO, beach volleyball is also slower, less skilled, and less tactical than indoor volleyball. Good indoor volleyball includes strategy, quick quick thinking, awesome teamwork, and very high technical skill levels.