A Nude Direction – Ospreys embrace ancient tradition

Spinnaker

Throughout the history of man, the world’s greatest athletes have shared one thing in common at birth: nudity.

Lately, it appears as though the sporting community has taken notice and begun an attempt to revive a passion for its common bond. The sports community at UNF, and across Florida, is a big part of the athletic community looking to gain an edge from losing their clothes.

Although public nudity is currently illegal, it was once a common part of everyday life in the world of sports.  Athletes at the original Greek Olympics traveled from all across the known world to participate in events such as wrestling, the javelin throw and running in the nude.

Today, students who enjoy the pleasures of nude sports are trekking to Florida to get their yearly fix. College students have been gathering near Monticello, Fla., for 14 years to recreate the events of the pentathlon in honor of their athletic ancestors.

The event, which occurred March 29, is sponsored by Tallahassee Naturally and is the oldest continuing nude college event in the nation. Although the groups compete outdoors with just the bare necessities, they refer to themselves as competing in a gymnasium, which is the ancient Greek word for a “place of nakedness.”

Recently, this movement has appeared to spread from the gymnasiums of the world and onto college campuses.

In the month of March, UNF baseball faced a new form of entertainment to draw crowds to their games: streakers. The March 24 game at Harmon Stadium vs. the University of Florida featured the largest crowd in UNF baseball history – 3,194 – and the first streaker of the 2009 season.  After the streaker was arrested, another UNF student took on the role when the two teams met again in Gainesville March 25.

Other sports have felt the impact of the nudity movement at UNF including track and field – the sport with the closest link to the Olympians of the past.

“If nudity was good enough for the ancient Greeks, then I see no reason why we shouldn’t go au-natural,” UNF track and field head coach Mark VanAlstyne said.

The track team is looking to embrace the nude trend and believes nakedness can bring it several
competitive advantages.

“Nudity is a big boost to the level of athletic competition,” freshman runner Cameron Dickerson said. “It gives me a huge sense of freedom and helps take me to that next level.”

Other UNF runners are already beginning to prepare for the transition.  Sophomore runner Will Pearce began the slow process of cleansing himself of the hindrance of clothing by running the last quarter of a mile of the 5000-meter race at the FSU relays with only one shoe on.

“You definitely would be able to run a lot faster,” Pearce said. “I lost at least a quarter pound of dead weight from taking off one shoe. Think of all the possibilities with no weight at all.”

With all the benefits of nudity, UNF’s runners see the trend spreading even further in the future.

“I’m hoping it’s something that will catch on,” Dickerson said. “Athletes are ahead of the curve. Eventually everybody will be going to class and out to eat naked.”

However, the coach has doubts about how far the trend will spread.

“Some people might not be able to make the transition very well,” VanAlstyne said.  “I imagine hurdlers could run into some pretty painful problems.”

Pearce is part of a group that recognizes these obstacles but is advocating the amount of limitless potential for the movement.

“I definitely understand how a lack of support could be a problem for some people,” Pearce said. “But this is all a part of the huge liberal movement that is going on in our country. Someday some fashion designer will be brave enough to come up with the radical idea of reviving clothing, and it will all be a part of a cycle. All I can tell you is that this is the beginning of something big.”

E-mail John Weidner at [email protected]

Editor’s Note:
Although this movement may be on the edge of taking over the trends of popular society (the nude Olympics was a real event that elicited coverage from the Spinnaker in March), it will be a while until anything comes of it. Until then, the nudity movement at UNF was born and died April 1, 2009. Happy April Fools’.