Athletes Exposed

Phoebe Hammer, Sports Editor

If there is one thing that Oberlin College students are comfortable with, it is nudity. I was shocked my freshman year; I saw more naked people in my first month at Oberlin than I had in my entire life. From the Grape centerfold to naked soccer, I had the opportunity to see bodies of all shapes and sizes. When I began playing lacrosse, I quickly learned that nothing exposed me to nakedness more than the women’s locker room group showers.

It took me weeks to become comfortable showering with the rest of my lacrosse team and even more time to be comfortable showering with all the varsity women’s teams at the same time. I even showered next to one of my professors. Eventually, I got used to it. We are one big Oberlin family, after all.

But it’s a lot stranger if the people showering next to you aren’t your Oberlin family.

I remember after our first home game my freshman year, our team stripped down and jumped in the showers. A few minutes later, the opposing team entered the showers in sports bras and spandex, stopping dead in their tracks when they saw our naked bodies. Surprised, I turned to my senior captain. “There aren’t any visiting team showers, so they join us,” she told me.

We are surely one of the only schools in the country, if not the only school, that showers with our opponents after the game in an open room. At first I was repelled by this action. What are we supposed to say in the shower? “Good game”? Or do we not acknowledge them at all, pretending we are not standing naked next to a conference foe who just beat us by one goal?

I’ve realized this says a lot about Oberlin, however, and I have grown to enjoy the experience. There is nothing as entertaining as seeing the reactions of the opposing teams.

Once, one of my teammates brushed a piece of dirt off the butt of another teammate. The Albion College girls watched in horror, then all of them left the showers. I heard one of them say as she left, “I’m not going to shower here with all these naked lesbos.” We all had a good laugh.

Private Christian schools are even more fun. When we played one particularly religious school, I heard one of the team members say, “We should shower when we get home. The Oberlin girls are all naked here.”

Her teammate responded, “Wait, like, vagina naked?” Yes, vagina naked.

At this point, most of our conference opponents quickly pack up and leave without showering, even after the muddiest games. They remember from previous years and avoid the embarrassment. Some of the non-conference teams hastily shower in sports bras and underwear, huddling in a corner as far away from us as possible, making sure to avoid eye contact. In my two and a half years on the lacrosse team, not one opposing team member has stripped down in her birthday suit and joined us. And I thought I was a prude.