Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two suggestions for beach volleyball

I, like so many, have thrilled to the excitement of Olympic beach volleyball, in which two people flail about an uncertain surface, hitting the ball in fairly predictable ways. I'm not sure why water volleyball and snow volleyball have not also been added - snow to the Winter Olympics, of course, so we wouldn't have to endure four long years between recitations of every biographical detail of the lives of Misty May and Kerri Walsh.

But I have two suggestions that will improve the women's version of the sport, taking it beyond its already wild popularity.

1) Every team should have the foresight of the Brazilians. They are smart enough to label one part of their uniforms as to its purpose, because I imagine it must be difficult to distinguish between the two halves, as they are both so small. But the Brazilians, canny veterans of beach volleyball that they are, save valuable preparation time by putting B R A right on their tops - very smart, indeed.

2) When you have a nearly unbeatable team like May and Walsh, the tension is quite diminished. After two weeks of pretty repetitive action, even the most ardent fan can get dulled. So here's what they can do.

In the first match, the women wear shorts cut like those the men wear. Beach shorts, to be sure, so the less-athletically interested fan can enjoy the sculpted legs. Then, for each subsequent match, a half-inch or so is cut away. By the finals, the women are wearing thongs, giving the viewer some reward for sitting through the tournament (ooh, Sandy Thongs, and you wonder where the great adult-film actresses of the future will get their names). That's gotta goose the ratings.

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