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Schools of Thought: The great underwear outrage

October 5, 2009
By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

Apparently, the picture of Johnstown volleyball player Angela Holliday going up for a spike against Gloversville in Thursday's edition of The Leader-Herald has caused quite a stir.



In the photo, Holliday is swinging away at a ball above her head, jumping to do so, and due to the laws of physics, her shirt has moved up far enough to expose her bare belly. It also drew the attention of several readers to the shorts Johnstown volleyball players wear.

They're made of Spandex, so they're skin-tight. They're also short.

Hence the term "shorts."

They're too short for some readers, who likened the outfit to underwear and want to know whose decision it was to order the outfits.

It's actually the same kind of bottom that every volleyball player wears. Anyone familiar with the game would know that, but these are not volleyball fans who are outraged, they are people who need their fix, need their Outrage of the Week.

The Johnstown girls - and all volleyball players - have been wearing these shorts for some time without drawing online rants about the scandalized eyes of certain readers.

Just looking back at this season, The Leader-Herald has covered eight volleyball matches and one tournament with no complaints before this.

Not when Gloversville and Fonda-Fultonville were featured in a photo from the tournament at Fulton-Montgomery Community College (Aug. 30 edition), not with the coverage of Mayfield against Gloversville (Sept. 9), Johnstown against Scotia-Glenville (Sept. 10), Broadalbin-Perth against Gloversville (Sept. 12), Mayfield against Fonda-Fultonville (Sept. 16), Johnstown against Broadalbin-Perth (Sept. 18), Johnstown against Queensbury (Sept. 25) or Gloversville against Fonda-Fultonville (Sept. 29).

Same kind of fabric, same amount of fabric.

Neither has there been any problem with the outfits worn by athletes in cross country or track and field, some of whom wear far less material below the waist than any volleyball player.

Of course, some people have more of a problem with the zebra print on the shorts than the amount of fabric used or not used to make them.

Once again, the Lady Bills have had these shorts and worn them before without any problem. There was no fuss raised when Johnstown started wearing the shorts.

Last season.

Now, though, I wouldn't be surprised if they are forced to change back to flat black. Not because they've done some horrible thing the administration was unaware of before this, but because it's easier to say, "Sorry girls, you've got to change," than it is to say, "Too bad, adults, they've done nothing wrong."

This would be unfortunate because the administration either complicitly or implicitly approved the use of these shorts, either by talking with the coaches and giving a flat out "OK," or by seeing them when the team started wearing them and finding nothing amiss. To go back on that decision because of the complaints of people who are not these girls' parents - and some of whom are not from the school district - would be a mistake and set a dangerous precedent.

I know, I know, some people look at any clothing with an animal-skin print on it and think those are patterns reserved for ladies of the night or upholstery in tricked-out Honda Accords with huge, unnecessary spoilers on the back.

Personally, I think it's ridiculous. I think they should get a cow print on their shorts just to see if that gets people upset, too.

And no, that's not me calling anyone fat.

But who knows what some pervert might see in that Rorschach blot on some girl's hip. So scrap that idea.

I was surprised the furor was over the size and decoration of the shorts and not Holliday's exposed midriff. I'm willing to bet her rolling the waistband down (which I'm told all players do because the waistband stretches and, when it does, this is the way to keep them tight around the waist since they can't wear a belt) made her shorts seem more skimpy than they are and fueled the fire.

So I implore you girls, just wear new shorts each match. To avoid such scandal, I'm sure the school would pay through the nose.

Just don't roll them down anymore. You're making the natives restless.



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