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There are few things in the world I love more than imitating the infamous Top Gun beach volleyball scene with a few buddies. I’m not wearing jeans when I do it, of course, because that is a ridiculous move at the beach, but I do love to play the game.
Despite years of excessive alcohol abuse, my body is still in relatively decent shape, and I like to think that I can game with the best of them playing in the sand or in a gymnasium.
Chicago is a town where intramural summer volleyball leagues are extremely popular. For six or seven months out of the year, we are confined to the indoors, forced to get our recreation without warm rays beating down on us.
This means that when the warm weather does roll around, Chicagoans will take any excuse to get outside, even stooping as low as willingly playing 6 versus 6 volleyball games at the beach overlooking Lake Michigan.
Confined to just a few courts, these beach volleyball leagues are run on the weekdays, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry thinks they are able-bodied and good at volleyball because in the Midwest it is not a sport that men play competitively. It’s sexist and unfair in this day and age to think that you’re automatically good at something because it’s a sport dominated by women, but that’s just the way it is.
High schools in the midwest don’t have men’s teams, and unless you play for a club team in college, even most colleges in this region don’t have them. That’s problem one. The second problem is that you’re playing with five other people on a team.
This means that you rarely touch the ball, and there are very few times when you’ll get a chance to throw down a spike or even get a nifty little tip over the net (which is technically an illegal move but is allowed in these beach volleyball leagues because most of the jackalopes playing don’t know any better).
A 6v6 beach game isn’t really all that fun if you’re not touching the ball. It’s a lot of standing around and rolling your eyes at the guy in the middle of the court who keeps getting the ball served to him because he’s clearly the weak link.
And herein lies the largest problem with beach volleyball leagues. These are usually teams that you comprise of people from your workplace. This means that there are going to be one, two, possibly even three people on the court at any given time who have never played a sport in their lives, and they walk out there with zero skill.
A bump set to left or right center following the serve? Forget about it. Overhand jump serve from one of these clowns? Your team will be lucky if he/she even gets the ball from the service line to the net. I understand that many of these intramural leagues are supposed to be “fun.” You can go out and have few beers or whatever. I get the social aspect of it all. It’s noble, really.
But what is fun about playing a game where your team is terrible, you rarely touch the ball, and are forced to wear lame t-shirts from a bar that will give you 20% off of your tab if you go out drinking after the game is over?
I don’t take issue with people playing intramural beach volleyball but I’m just never going to be a guy that participates in the 6v6 crap. I don’t understand how you can have fun playing with that many people on the court, a majority of whom can’t even play the game correctly. Give me 3v3 on a Saturday over 6v6 on a Wednesday night after work all day. .
Image via Unsplash