Hitting For A Good Cause

Sometimes it’s just not meant to be.

This weekend was the annual beach volleyball tournament out at Volleyball Beach to support the Special Olympics of Kansas.  It was originally scheduled in May, I believe, but due to scheduling and weather it got bumped to August.

The weather could not have been more perfect for an 11:00 tournament start.  I was pretty sure the organizers had a direct line to Mother Nature when they ordered up the awesome weather for Ellapalooza last weekend; it’s pretty clear the folks who organized the SOKS tournament are actually neighbors with her in that case because you couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful than what we got.

The turnout wasn’t as high as I’d thought it would be, but I know there were at least a couple of teams that had folks out of town (on the first annual Awesome People Of Volleyball Beach Float Trip).  Even so there were only five teams in the power bracket, and probably a dozen in the rec bracket – much less than I was hoping we’d see for such a great cause.

Our first game was against a quads team that, I believe, was from one of the other (inferior) beach volleyball complexes around town.  It was not a good one to start off on – we ended up in arguments over disputed calls (returns over the wire) so the stage wasn’t set nicely.  It’s unfortunate – we were all out there for a good time – but at some point you want to make sure both sides are playing by the same set of rules, especially if you’re playing in a power division.  We ended up dropping both games to them which was not an auspicious start to our tourney.

Next up we played a team made up of Cory and Zach (who we’ve played with/against in league play before) as well as two young ladies – another quads team.  This one was much less contentious from a call standpoint – definitely a plus.  The first game we took pretty soundly – I believe the final was 21-15.  We found a lot of holes in their defense and took advantage of them.  The second game…not so much.  We ended up dropping that one 21-9 – they shored up their gaps and we ended up beating ourselves pretty bad.

We had a bye after that game – something that was sorely needed after taking the whipping we did.

Next up was a team of six.  We were well rested and we played them pretty well, having recovered from our “let’s beat ourselves” game at the end of the second match.  We won the first game 21-17 and battled back from a late 19-16 deficit to win the second game 24-22.  That moved our record to 3-3 with one match left.

That final match was probably the funnest (?) match we had.  It was against another six-person team that had a few folks that I recognized from Tuesday nights.  We were pretty well balanced – we won the first game 21-16 and lost the second game 16-21.  But we were relaxed and had a great time, ending our pool play at 4-4 and feeling comfortable we were probably the #3 seed in the tourney.

Nope.  We were actually the #4 seed – only the team we beat twice didn’t make the tournament, and we were next up on that list.  And being the #4 seed means we were playing the #1 seed.  We weren’t concerned – there wasn’t a team out there we couldn’t beat (and only one we didn’t in pool play) – but would rather have faced off against the #2 seed.  Not because it was a lower seed but because it was the team we lost to to start with – and we wanted revenge.

Instead we were matched up against Cory, Zach & team.  We played hard but ended up dropping both games of the best-of-three semifinal series, and neither was incredibly close.  We let them get on a couple of 4- and 5-point runs which, in rally scoring, makes it very difficult to come back and win against a solid, quality team.  The only comfort (if you call it that) is that the team we dropped to beat the other quads team in two straight games as well to win the tournament.

Afterwards a couple of us (Amy, Steve, Shawn, Tobi, Anderson Cooper, et. al) decided to play some pickup games for the next hour and a half.  Those folks (the sixes team we split with) were an absolute blast to play pick-up with…drunk or not.

All told a good tournament.  The two-game sets were definitely the way to go, and the tournament ran well and on-time.  I’m looking forward to next year’s tourney!

(post image courtesy of The Chive)

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