Article Op-Ed

The 'Newer' Integration of Volleyball (Disclaimer: these thoughts not paid for by Muslim Moms for Modest Muslimas)

The 'Newer' Integration of Volleyball (Disclaimer: these thoughts not paid for by Muslim Moms for Modest Muslimas)

Author Bireca Sam by

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It never occurred to me that a covering Muslim woman would be interested in playing the sport of volleyball. Just one look at the "uniforms" and I'm screaming, "Haram!" And I'm a Christian female! Male volleyball players don't wear super tight barely there clothing, so the typical female volleyball uniforms can't have much to do with better performance.

I mean the WNBA has yet to start rocking bikinis, but if they did, I bet their fan base would double. (WNBA, I'll be expecting a check if that ever happens.) Perhaps female volleyball players just feel more athletic that way, but that brings me closer to my point. A few years ago, when I saw the Egyptian female Olympic volleyball team in leggings and hijabs, it just made sense. They were playing a sport they loved while still staying true to their religion. Secondary, I'm sure, was their nod to the masses, "We can do it too, our way."

So, anyway, while watching the Muslim female Olympic volleyball team, I actually paid attention to their athleticism, not their assesletusseethem, which I always do when watching women giving it their all in their underwear... I mean Olympic non-swim team bikini uniforms. Fine, I admit I'm a covert card-carrying haram police official. But for goodness sakes, even the swim team females don't wear bikinis and their suits actually MUST be lightweight, skin-like so they can get through the water more quickly.

Okay, so back to volleyball. I was at my niece's high school volleyball game yesterday, and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a hijab-wearing player on the other court. In my mind, I said, "Whaaat, you go girl!" And then for an hour, so she wouldn't feel self-conscious and I didn't feel creepy, I played the 'I'm not gonna stare like I've never seen a scarf wearing woman in my life' game. Luckily, my niece's team eventually played her team, and I got a front-row seat to what I was looking for. And to my darn surprise, it was like watching the Olympic team all over again.  I eyed the girl's leggings and her loose shirt, the obvious modest choice, and for the rest of the game, I unwittingly paid more attention to the various shapes and curves and tight shorts of the other players, but I focused on this girl's athleticism.

In retrospect, I'm shocked at myself and the reality of the situation. Now, I kind of know what it feels like to be a man when faced with a scantily clad woman vs a covered woman. The scantily clad woman just screams, "I want you to see it all- my assets are yours for the ogling." With a covered woman, there's more to appreciate because I can focus on the more important things.

I kid you not, during the game, I was focused on how she ran, how she hit, how she interacted with her teammates, and all I can remember about her teammates is their various body parts and hair and how their uniforms fit. I could not begin to speak about how they ran, how they hit, or how they interacted with one another. And all this because this 14-year-old chose her love of volleyball while staying true to her religion.

These girls have proven that they can have fun and play this sport their way, and they aren't calling attention to themselves, except to say, "I can do what you do, but I am a Muslim first."


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