High school hosts mud volleyball tournament, sells ‘We play dirty’ shirts to raise funds for team

Cameron Smith
August 24, 2012

Usually, advertising girls playing volleyball in the mud is an open invitation to be called a misogynist. For one late August day in Tennessee, it was reason to be heralded as a charitable citizen by a high school volleyball program.

As reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Madisonville (Tenn.) Sequoyah High volleyball team recently hosted a mud volleyball tournament, raising money for the Chiefs volleyball squad. The girls team takes part in the sloppy festivities and invites family members and friends to take part as invited guest squads.

According to Chiefs coach Brittany Lynn, the reason for the tournament's success is  a simple one: Teenagers just like to get sloppy.

"Kids just like to play in the mud," Lynn told the News Sentinel. "I think there's this childlike quality in all of us that we just want to get in the mud and not get in trouble for it."

There's no question that the event was a rousing success for a fourth consecutive year. The 2012 version of the event raised more than $1,700 to help fund costs for the Sequoyah volleyball squad, including defraying costs for essential items like new uniforms and knee pads. Yet some might question the tactics used to raise the money, with teenage volleyball players scrambling through the mud in an exercise that shares some eerie similarities to the oft eroticized "sport" of mud wrestling.

In fact, the team played up some of those overtones by selling T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "We play dirty." It may be a push to say that the team is sexualizing teenage athletes for profit, but playing up the concept of "dirty" play isn't exactly a straight and narrow approach, either.

For her part, Lynn is completely unapologetic about the event's development and marketing because of what it achieves, bringing students together in a fun atmosphere before the start of the school year.

"I encourage every school to do something like this," Lynn said. "Even if you don't have the facilities or the means for doing something exactly like this, every student body needs something to bring them together at the first of the year."

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