Being Supportive By Having Fun

MineEvery day we’re bombarded with requests to support charitable organizations.  Some are local, some are national; some are to help children, some are to help adults, some are to help animals; some are driven by a medical situation, some by a natural event, some by the simple fact that life sometimes throws you a curve when you’re expecting a slider.

You may feel obligated to support one or more of these causes – that’s 100% your business and whether or not you do we don’t judge here at The Paul Gillespie Experience (if we did I’d pretty much be flogging myself daily and I might discover I enjoy it and then it’d all go downhill from there…besides; judging’s not my kind of thing).

But regardless if you are a fan, like I am, of the single most awesome sport in the world to play (beach volleyball in case you had a momentary memory lapse or your judgement took a vacation on you and you said some other sport) I can’t stress enough that there’s a spectacular coincision (which isn’t a word but work with me here) of supporting awesome charitable causes and having one hell of a good time.

That intersection (which is really the word I wanted to use up there but “coincision” sounds so much more fun) happens to take place in south Kansas City at a place called “Volleyball Beach” (Blue Ridge & Holmes, basically) more or less every weekend this summer.  Because Howard (the proprietor of said establishment) opens up his 14 sand volleyball courts and his incredibly awesome crew of chemists, waitresses and all-around beautiful people to various charitable organizations to host beach volleyball tournaments, much like the One By One tournament this past weekend to help stop sex trafficking in Kansas City.

Let me clarify something lest people immediately think Olympic-level doubles (like the May Fire tournament a couple of weeks ago): we’re talking fun tournaments, mostly co-ed teams of six with two or three different levels of competition.  If you’re a power player you’ll find a home in the A-level (Power); if you’re just there to support a worthy cause and you can spell “volleyball” but that’s it you’ll enjoy yourself in the C-level (Rec, typically); if you’ve got some basic skills down and generally don’t run away from the ball you might like the B-level (normally called Intermediate).

These are not in-your-face tournaments where the #1 goal is winning.  The #1 goal for those of us playing out there (for the most part) is having a good time while we support worthwhile causes.  Winning a tournament while you hate life pretty much sucks.  Losing a tournament while you’re having an absolute blast with friends (or even people you hardly know) in the sand and sun of a beautiful Kansas City day is still awesome.

And that’s not all there is – most of the tournaments have raffles for various items (alcohol is a popular one; so are sporting event tickets and gift certificates for food) and lately most seem to have a 50/50 raffle, as well.  So even if you’re not playing you can support the charitable organizations by buying some raffle tickets and maybe head home afterwards with a nice prize!

But beyond everything you get to combine three things into one spectacular day: supporting organizations that help make the world – and Kansas City, specifically – a better place, having fun and hanging with friends, both new and old, outside on the sand.  There aren’t many other places that can rival that kind of a day.

I know several of the folks that organize these tournaments and to a one they all do a great job.  Whether it’s Jess running the We Dig Sherwood tournament (last weekend of April), Jessica pulling off the One By One tournament this last weekend or Robyn and ELLApalooza in July (plus their crews, of course; and this is just a quick subset of the ones who get these together – there are at least two others for every one I mentioned here) the organizers all make sure that the tournament is set up to maximize enjoyment all around.

So if you were planning on heading down to P&L or Westport or somewhere else on a Saturday night consider changing that and checking the tournament calendar (click here, or at and taking your drinking night out to Volleyball Beach and playing (or just watching, even) some beach volleyball with an icy cold drink in your hand (btw: Volleyball Beach was named as having the 9th most cold beer in Kansas City in case you missed that).  And supporting a good cause to boot.

I do want to make one out special ask for this post, though.  On June 15th Shari is putting together the “The Girls Come First” tournament to help support breast cancer research out at Volleyball Beach (click here for details or hit the Volleyball Beach web site and click on “Tournaments” on the top), and she’s looking for more teams to play.  If you’re not already signed up please consider putting a team together and playing in the tournament or at least coming out to watch and support the cause.  Chances are you know at least one person who’s been impacted by cancer and here’s your opportunity to not just donate to the cause to help find a cure but also have one hell of a good time doing it.

I look forward to seeing every single one of you (yes, you.  And you, too) out there at least one Saturday this summer.  You’re not going to find a better use of time (help a great cause, get exercise, hang with friends, meet new people and – if you’re so inclined – enjoy an ice-cold drink).

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