Where’s the swimsuit?

Features column

T. Gamble
Feature Columnist

T. Gamble Feature Columnist

It is now official. Spring will be arriving in six weeks.

Not because the groundhog saw his shadow, mind you. I mean, who decided leaving weather predictions up to a groundhog is a good idea to begin with? Then again, I’d venture to guess the groundhog has a success rate equal or better than the Weather Channel, which can’t tell within 800 miles where a hurricane is going to hit but can tell you if the arctic glaciers are going to melt in 50 years.

No, I mean the arrival of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Before Sports Illustrated, I had no idea swimsuit wearing was a sport. Don’t misunderstand, I’m very happy to have my sporting field enlarged and welcomed the enlightenment of knowing that every February young female swimsuit models cavort around tropical islands not wearing swimsuits. Who knew all this fun was going on at places I’m always not at?

I’m almost 54 years old. I have been to beaches all over Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, California and, once, in Sweden. I would have been back to the one in Sweden, but the restraining order for gawking still has not expired.

Excluding Sweden, however, not a single time have I ever seen any woman — good-looking, 5 foot 2 and 365 pounds, or a good-looking 5 foot 2 365 pounder — rolling around, wet, in the surf, covered up only by the sand from which she just recently rolled around in. Not once.

I did once see a 35-year-old woman, who did not look a day over 65, smoking a cigarette and drunk, fall into the sand and cuss out her equally drunk husband, who had nothing to do with it, but got cussed out just the same.

But enough about my relatives.

What I want to know is this.Sports Illustrated says swimsuits are a sport. OK, I’m all in. But where do we go to see the sport? Football is a sport and they play every Saturday for college and every Sunday for pros. Baseball plays every day of the year and twice on Sundays. Hockey, when they aren’t on strike, begins in August and ends, I think, when only one team has enough people left to field a team. I can go to a big stadium and watch all of them all I want. But not so for the sport of not wearing a swimsuit.

Thumb through the new swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, which I would never do were it not for the need to research this historic article, and see if you can find anyone actually wearing all of their swimsuit. You can see a new swimsuit and you can see swimsuit models, but you can’t see both at the same time.

If you want to see suits go to Dillards. I guess The Cheetah Three is the best bet for an example of a model. If my daughter came home and announced she was going to be a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, I’d try to get her to pose for Playboy instead — at least she’d maintain a small amount of modesty.

The entire photo shoot takes four hours per picture — 10 minutes to shoot the model and three hours 50 minutes to strategically place all the pineapples and other stuff to hide everything that is showing because the swimsuit model is not wearing the swimsuit and, instead, is holding a coconut shell where presumably her bottoms would be were it not for the fact she is a non-swimsuit-wearing swimsuit model.

I note that the Olympics announced beginning 2020 wrestling will no longer be a part of the competition. What better time than now to consider non-swimsuit-wearing swimsuit modeling as the next sport? I never much cared for watching sweaty men roll around on the ground, but sandy women ... hey, if we can just do something about those pineapples and coconut shells.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.