No, that’s not a volleyball, but there’s a connection.The comprehensive coverage on Fish Report about the local volleyball competition across the area has brought back many memories of my volleyball escapades years ago. As hinted, my volleyball memories start with badminton after our family received a badminton set for Christmas back in the ’50’s. Mom loved the game and wanted to teach us kids how to play. But that summer, after trying badminton for a while, we reverted to volleyball once the fragile badminton rackets broke, then broke again, after duct tape repairs. The flimsy net was fine for badminton, but didn’t hold very well for volleyball.
A few years later, during Coach Kramer’s 7th grade gym class, we learned about the fundamentals of volleyball, such as setting and spiking. That lead to my first competitive volleyball during the annual high school interclass tournaments. See the volleyball bracket above from the school's yearbook. Because of my height, I naturally was a spiker and a blocker, but not much of a setter! I recall also being on the banner committee, which each class had to create for the tournament like shown above.
Then in college, after joining a fraternity, there was competitive volleyball among all the Greek organizations on campus. As a freshman, I tore the cartilage in my knee while playing basketball and had surgery over the summer as documented in this previous blogpost. Since volleyball was played in the fall, and didn’t require much lateral movement, I decided it would be a good way to regain the strength in my knee before the basketball season started.
Lo and behold, our team, pictured above, won the championship, thanks in large part to Larry #10, our team's pro-caliber setter pictured below being awarded the winning trophy by Miss Techmate. He could dig out anything and set the ball perfectly for a power spike by yours truly, # 40 above. But, back to Miss Techmate; she was voted the cutest and friendliest girl on campus. Seemed like she liked us sweaty guys!
My specialty was also spike blocking as shown in this photo.
However, I recall twice splitting the web between my fingers when the hand of the spiker followed through into my hand. It was a painful injury that took forever to heal, so I learned the hard way to tape up my fingers before matches and never incurred the injury again.
After college and getting married, we moved into our first apartment that happened to have a beach volleyball court next to the pool. What great times we had, playing volleyball in the sand, then taking a refreshing dip in the pool followed by a cold adult beverage! Some of the photos follow.
Ford Motor Company, where I worked, also had a volleyball league and I recall winning the championship several years in a row. And once we bought a home on a lake, we’d set up a water volleyball court in the shallow water adjacent to the nature sanctuary on the lake. See photo below. Now that's the best, volleyball, water and bikini-clad girls!
Every four years, I enjoy watching all the Olympic volleyball games, especially during the 2008 Beijing games when the USA men won gold against Brazil. And with women’s beach volleyball added in 1996, the sport has never been better!