Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Everyone Can Play Volleyball

Anyone out there play volleyball? I'm big into volleyball personally. Now I know what you're thinking. "This guy says he can play volleyball so he played in gym class once." Or maybe "Ah yeah...certainly he can play. After all, he did happen to stand on one side of a makeshift court with 8 other people at a family function hacking and stabbing at a ball trying to send it over a net that happens to be about 6 feet high because it came in a volleyball/badmitton set."

Hey, I can dig it and I understand the skepticism. I'm the exact same way. Now I don't mean to sound like a hardass but the facts are these; I played 3 years of club level volleyball at U.C. which has it's own governing body called NIRSA. It's designed for every school that can't have a men's team due to Title IX (and believe me, there will probably be an angry blog about that at some point too) to have an organization to report to and it really helps give a sense of formality to the game. They have standings, Nationals, and even select people to First and Second teams, which is their equivilant to an All American. In my time I had 3 National appearances, with out team finishing as runner-up in my second year and being placed on the first team. When I'm not inside, I'm trying to get together with people on a sand court for pick up or what ever tournaments I can get a partner for. My point is this; I'm extremely serious about volleyball.

I don't like to talk about it in most cases. Reason for being, is that as soon as someone says "volleyball" the conversations generally degenerate to sound like this. "Oh yeah I used to play some sand....yada yada yada." I respond "Oh yeah? Where at? What did you play?" and various other generic questions I toss out there to appease people, trying as best I can to diffuse the conversation. The response is usually "I played in a league at...." inserting what ever bar happens to be close and have a court, and almost invariably the league was 6-person co-ed sand. While I will come under fire from your work-a-day recreational player, anyone who is serious about playing sand volleyball will agree that 6-person co-ed sand at a bar league ain't volleyball! Sorry folks, it's just not.

Now what really cracks me up or makes me roll my eyes depending on the company I'm in, is when people get to talking about playing indoor. Once again, everyone has played something at some level. And that's cool. Get some exposure, play a little ball. Don't get hurt. I'm with ya. But this is where it gets a little tricky. As often as not, someone's played in a co-ed league. But this isn't as telling as 6 people in sand. I've known some pretty hardcore indoor co-ed teams. But my next question almost reflexively is "So what position do you play?" Asking the question is like the 3-1 pitch with 2 outs. It's time for the payoff. Probably better than 90% of the time the answer comes back the same "Oh yeah I'm a setter."

Now this is the point where setters the world over start sending me hate mail, or, if they are really good players and masters of their craft are nodding their heads in agreement and maybe even fighting back a little giggle. Reason? Because of 90% of the people that say that they are setters in casual conversation, maybe 2% of those people really are. And why is it that they choose to say they are setters? Because it's the only daggone position people know exists! Everyone knows pitcher, catch, first base, quarterback, linebacker, or goalie. If someone can really play volleyball, as least most people I know probably don't set, they "dish" or "run the point" or any other number of various slang that could be construed in the proper context to suggest that they are a setter. On the other hand, if someone says "I swing left side" or "I go middle" or "I'm an opposite" then I'm willing to bet every day of the week that they are the real thing. But everyone who has ever heard of volleyball can set.

Didn't know that did you? Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.

3 Comments:

Blogger Katrina said...

So if I say I can’t hit a 2-ball to save my life, prefer a 5-1 because I am selfish and used to throw a decent pipe because my options were limited would you believe I know what I am talking about?

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

WOW - you just knocked me off my feet. I "play" volleyball and I will take it anywhere I can get it. Back yard, court, sand, alley, or parking lot. Now that is loving the game. I don't know the positions, I don't always "set" but sometimes "duck" but love it none the less. At my age just being out there and backing up you "jocks" makes me happy!

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Abby said...

Ouch!!! I'm not going to lie; I didn't know that hitters usually considered sides. That's F-Town for 'ya, though. And yes, I am a setter, but only because my sister made me that way. When you are drilled to set 10 in a row into a basketball hoop a variaous positions, and pointed to that position on your school league despite being inches above the other players, I'd say that's your position. Thanks Trin!

5:03 PM  

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