A Sport for the Ages! (Taking part in Competitive Volleyball at sixty, 70 and Past!)

Set One particular” — Lesson One particular

For seasoned athletes, in spite of age and a relentless clock, the crucial is to remain the training course. There needn’t be an expiration date stamped on the psyche, possibly self-imposed or by public affirmation. Place another way, if 1 enjoys a wholesome brain and human body, if joints even now flex with relative relieve and ease and comfort, it truly is attainable to enjoy until finally Medicare kicks in, and for many, effectively past that venerable age. For its a lot of devotees, it truly is a sport for the ages! The sport of the substantial internet, a remarkably wonderful, vigorous and aggressive activity, when performed properly, when played by the rules. The uninitiated require only watch university volleyball or professional seaside or Olympic volleyball.

To illustrate and to cite an exemplary circumstance in position, Steve and Gigi have performed for ages, considering that 1974 to be accurate. The fantastic recreation continues to eat their disposable leisure time. For them, it’s a sort of obsession, and 1 that has ongoing unabated for much more than forty several years. Now at age seventy two, Steve, and sixty eight, Gigi, they are even now in its grip.

Obsession is an apt description. In a way, it all started at the bell, a phone bell, and like a current among extremes, it would seem often to race between foreboding and hopeful anticipation. Spurred by that opening bell, they quickly turned prizefighters fired with passion, roped in, initially by the thought, but in the prolonged operate, consumed by the match alone, obsessed.

The ringing phone was loud and insistent. Steve refused to go. Obtrusive with annoyance in her eyes, Gigi put down a book and walked swiftly, practically ran to subdue the obnoxious issue.

“Shall I just get it?” she questioned with extravagant sarcasm. “Of course, hullo!”

Steve paid no consideration at initial, irritated by the instrument’s persistence, its electrical power to interrupt.

“Oh, hi John. What? Yeah, we are each wonderful, just hanging out. How’s Joan? Which is very good.”

Steve’s interest moved little by little, as did his gaze, to a conversation that was one-sided and cryptic. Her eyes widened. She turned. She paced.

“You believe we need to do what?” Gigi requested into the instrument, a concern wrapped in incredulity, nevertheless with a rising stage of enjoyment. Enthusiasm seemed to increase the current operating via the wire.

“What,” he said. Who is that?” The query fell flat as if inaudible, trivial.

“Be a part of a league? Couples, co-ed. Yeah, I played a minor in high school. Steve? No. I do not consider so. Maybe at picnics, or in the backyard with family members.”

“What did I do in the backyard?” he requested. An additional feckless question, no reply predicted or presented.

“That appears just fantastic,” Gigi stated with growing enjoyment. “Exactly where? And it begins in January? That is up coming month! Yeah, yeah… physical exercise, something we can do as partners with pals. Alright, fantastic! Alright, we will talk on Monday and you can enable us know the time and schedule.” She hung up the phone.

“Was that John O’Connor?” Satellite Volleyball Camps requested. “What were you chatting about? What league?”

“I just adore the notion,” Gigi replied. “Yeah, it was John. You and I, the O’Connors and the Keegan’s are likely to play volleyball in a co-ed league. The 6 of us. We start up coming month. We will perform at a north side faculty. It truly is near Sherman on Eco-friendly Tree Road.”

“Wait around a minute,” Steve started. “We’ve by no means played. We never know the match. Do they have rigid rules? Are the other teams in the league experienced, talented? How are we likely to do that?”

“Ach… never fret,” stated Gigi. “I played in college, and we’ll learn. We will get far better. It’s going to be wonderful exciting. We’ll have physical exercise, time with close friends. It will be terrific. I am actually looking forward to this. Usually are not you?”

“Volleyball,” he said, a strong notice of apprehension in his tone. “A league,” he ongoing, a hefty sigh punctuating. And that was the sum whole of any objection or argument he may have provided in opposition. But, inside of the privacy of his thoughts, there was this: “I’m married for, what, 4 or so months. I am just getting utilized to factors. Now I am in a volleyball league. How prolonged will this final. My god, life’s a runaway freight practice it moves together way also quickly!”

Even with an inauspicious commencing, reluctance on the portion of at least a single participant, their volleyball-actively playing job, one particular that would previous for 40 a long time and outside of, commenced in 1974.

It was in early September of that year. 6 novices appeared on a wood-plank ground at the gymnasium of a north facet Milwaukee school, some nervous, some calm and confident. They lined up, a few in front and 3 in the again row. They realized that considerably. The opposition received the first provider. The ball was a meteor, anything shot from a cannon. One of the 6 manufactured speak to with the ball, palms up, lifting the volleyball a handful of toes skyward. It dropped to the ground, between entrance and back again rows of gamers. Even the ball appeared ashamed.

A shrill whistle wrenched their collective focus from the shock of the serve and its feckless receipt to the referee’s ladder of authority. “Unlawful strike,” the referee shouted. She descended, seemed at every of the 6 in turn and asked, “Has any of you ever played volleyball prior to?” The question was wound in a thread of astonishment.

“Uh, not really. I mean, some of us performed a minor in higher school, but that was a while in the past.” The reply arrived from Gigi.

“Properly,” the referee started, with a nod of apology to the opposing group, now standing and staring at the neophytes, arms akimbo, a look of supreme annoyance on their collective expression. “The initial issue you should know about league volleyball, and the rules that utilize, is that you get a service with your arms outstretched like this, hands clasped with each other in some manner.” She shown the “passing” strategy, tossing a volleyball to every single in flip so that they could understand the proper arms and hands configuration. “And when you established the ball to your hitter, you may possibly not catch and toss the ball, but relatively… well, let me present you.” She demonstrated the “setting” approach.

None of them remembers that first outing with any sense of joy or pleasure, as they have been wrecked, unremittingly. They expressed many thanks to that sort and client referee, and then to the opposing group associates, as they slunk absent from the courtroom that 1st, fateful night of league volleyball. They may possibly not have scored a solitary point, unless of course their opponents produced an error. Even that probability is lost — most likely by design — to the aspect of memory that protects one’s fragile psyche.


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