The future of sports is in the nude |

The future of sports is in the nude

Rick Chandler, Tribune correspondent

I have seen the future of American sports and it is nude.

Throughout the land, our regular, clothed sports are in danger of collapse. Major League Baseball attendance is down significantly from past seasons, even as player salaries spiral obscenely upward. In basketball, Michael Jordan is officially gone, which makes Mark Cuban the next biggest draw. Sad, really. And in pro football, players continue to be peeled off of the turf in comical flattened cartoon-like fashion.

And men’s golf is apparently so easy that they’re letting women play on the pro tour. Annika Sorenstam will participate in the Colonial next week and some say she should make the cut. Where will this lead? I think it may be time to reevaluate a major sport when your group has to stop and let Aunt Bee play through.

And so it is my belief that we need a new, naked direction in sports — to strip away, if you will, the mistakes of the past and let the cool summer air caress our bodies anew. I came to this realization recently when I read an announcement for a nude tennis tournament that was to be webcast May 13 on pay per view. Silly, I thought at first. But then I saw that the web site,, had so many orders that they had to postpone the webcast to next week in order to make sure that they could handle the volume.

The event was staged at Lake Como Nudist Resort, near Tampa, Fla., which is also planning pay per view events, including nude volleyball and nude karaoke.

Why would nude tennis be such a big draw? People are curious about nudism. Also, where would the server keep that second tennis ball? I’d tune in just for the answer to that. Would the spectators also be nude? Viewers who sign up for the webcast could organize nudist parties to watch the event, provided they are not held at Dennis Rodman’s house, because who would know the difference.

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You may not realize it, but we already have several sports in which at least half of the participants are always nude:

n Thoroughbred horseracing

n Cockfighting (illegal in most states)

n American Kennel Club Dog Show

n Competitive sunbathing

In ancient Greece, many athletes in the Olympics competed in the nude. In fact, the word gymnasium come from the Greek word gymnos, which means naked. The nude Olympics were disbanded, however, with the introduction of the Olympic Torch, for obvious reasons. In 1902, attempts to begin a nude Winter Olympics in New York ended when a German athlete was frozen to his luge and had to be thawed to freedom.

But western civilization’s nude sporting heritage lives on, as is proven with the following true items:

A naked man climbed naked over the glass at a Calgary Flames’ hockey game earlier this season, then tumbled onto the ice and knocked himself out. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to public drunkenness. Judge Cheryl Daniel ordered Tim Hurlbut (his real name), 21, to donate $1,650 to charity and perform 35 hours of community service, preferably while wearing pants. He also must undergo alcohol counseling. Hurlbut climbed over the glass wearing only red socks during the Flames’ game against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 17, then slipped and was knocked out when he hit the ice. He was carried off on a stretcher.

The second annual Running of the Nudes will be held on July 5 at Pamplona, Spain. Held two days before the traditional Running of the Bulls, the event attempts to increase awareness of animal cruelty. Information is at

And of course time is running out to sign up for the “Bare to Breakers”, a division of the annual “Bay to Breakers” run in San Francisco on Sunday. Sponsored by the Western Association of Nude Recreation, the “Bare” division runs as a group within the larger race, presumably staying as far away as possible as the guy dressed as a porcupine.

So yes, it is my prediction that some day, all of our professional sports will be nude. It will be a new golden age, with nothing left to the imagination.

We will all embrace the nudist philosophy: being nude is natural and gives people a feeling of freedom and exhilaration that cannot be matched in any other way. Except, of course, with karaoke.

— Rick Chandler’s interactive sports column, Capacity Crowd, can be found at Contact him at