I’ve delayed writing this article now for several days in the hopes that I’d receive a lot of emailed pictures one of my teammate’s parents took throughout the whole day. Needless to say I’m still waiting for the pictures and will edit this post as soon as they arrive (hopefully soon). But because the event was almost a week ago and was extraordinarily fun I want to get this up now.
So as I’ve previously noted I coach at Oceanside Beach Volleyball Club (An offshoot of San Diego Beach Volleyball Club). In addition to our Oceanside satellite we’ve also tried to expand into Manhattan beach. Because we’ve been working with the city they decided it would be an awesome idea for the city to Sponsor our team in the event. Definitely sweet knowing that you can play without having to worry about a pretty steep entry fee.
Back to the tournament, though. This was my first experience with the 6-man tournament in Manhattan. From what I kept hearing while there it was disappointing to a lot of the other participants that the event was in the middle of the week because there were not as many fans there as there have been in years past (I believe I heard this year there were around 15,000 people watching compared to around 50,000 the year previous).
I played for the Wholesports team. We were the 5th seed in our pool (the only 5 team pool in the Men’s Open division). The day began with an abrupt start. My buddies that I carpooled up with and myself had decided to get breakfast and ended up making it to our first match about halfway through warmups. By the time we finished changing into our team shorts and shirt we each were able to hit about 1 ball.
Our first game went pretty badly as everyone was still adjusting to indoor rules mixed with beach rules mixed with side-out scoring. Add in the fact that our net was legitimately 5 inches higher than men’s height and nightmares begin to form. I, unfortunately, was thrown into the role of middle blocker since I’d had some experience playing middle in club. Not exactly what I’d have preferred (especially with some of the middles I had to play against), but at least I was able to play.
Gradually as the day went on things were somewhat smoother. In our second and third matches we played Chase Budinger (of the Houston Rockets), his brother Duncan, Max Holt (Middle blocker with the US national team), Dustin Watten (Libero with the national team), and Tony Ciarelli to name a few. Quite a devastating list of exceptional athletes and volleyball players.
In the end, our team was a ragtag group of guys who, for the most part, had never played together. We ended up having fun and so I’d say it was a successful day. Team Spyder ended up beating Team Fletch in the finals to claim victory to this year’s 6-man. Hopefully this event can continue to run while also allowing for a great atmosphere.