Rockaway Beach Volleyball: Steal Seal? Done Deal!
By Joe McGivney
On Saturday night, August 25th, the Rockaway Beach Volleyball League concluded the 2001 season with a raucous awards dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90th Street. However, the biggest news of the evening was the trade announcement made by Tommy Kearns of the New Irish Circling Sharks.
Apparently, Joe "Seal" Moore has been acquired from It’s All Good after many years of meritorious service. When asked why he would jump ship so suddenly, Seal simply said, "I have to look out for myself and do what’s best for my family." Nobody could fault his noble intentions but several ex-teammates were concerned that he might be taking some of their youthful star players with him. When Brian was questioned about a possible move he simply said "No comment at this time". Stay tuned for future developments.
Now back to the awards dinner. About 100 people attended and celebrated the 2001 season in grand fashion. Recognition was given to the three division champions, Coppersmith’s, Kerry Hills Pub and The Beach House who were represented by Joe McManus, Mark Gentile, Nancy Gentile, Lisa and Jim Johnson. Unfortunately, many of the winning team members were unable to be at the ceremony due to prior commitments. The Coppersmith’s gang was at a wedding reception and, if you can believe it, the Kerry Hills crew had tickets and a bus to Irish Night at Shea Stadium. All winners will have their championship shirts delivered to their captains so they can wear them proudly next year.
In keeping with the fun spirit of the league, several other off beat awards were given out. The first went to Dickie "Cement Shoes" Flanagan, whose nickname comes from his foot speed (or lack thereof) on the beach. For future repairs of his concrete footwear, he was presented with a 40 lb. bag of cement, which he accepted with a gracious smile and a possible hernia.
For hitting the most pancake digs, (possibly the most difficult shot in volleyball) Bernie O’Connor was given a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix. He said he would treasure the award forever or until the next morning when his kids woke up for breakfast.
Steve Gifford received the Sportsmanship honor, which was an 8x10 glossy photo of the very player he kicked sand at and threw off his team. (After players petitioned the league, the award was named the "Coach" trophy as a tribute to this legendary, former player.) Steve insists this was the only time he’s ever had to remove someone from the squad but others seemed to remember his dismissal of a lovely Chinese couple and the subsequent retrieval of their uniforms. Who knows how many other cases have been hushed up through the years!
The next group of honorees won special clothing and they showed their appreciation and excitement by wearing their new outfits immediately. First, TBG (The Big Guy) was given an exquisite peach cocktail dress so that his team would never be short of quality women players in 2002. After seeing him accessorize with a pretty rose, no one can question his fashion savvy. An unexpected benefit came from the way his shoulders appeared broad and rounded while his blue eyes were accentuated by the gown.
Next up was Greg Tracy, who received a pair of Hawaiian shorts whose color and design were nearly criminal. Tracy’s Federation teammates hope that they could be a motivation for his recovery from his injuries. From the way he donned them and hit the dance floor, it appears he is well on his way to physical fitness. (Mental fitness is another issue that cannot be addressed at this time.)
"Chooch" from TNT was absent and could not be given her specially made bra, which consisted of 2 kneepads sewn together so that she could perform her patented 38DD bump shot without pain. Captain Mary Whelan accepted on her behalf and mentioned that she, herself, was not a 38DD. Mary was informed that everyone had already noticed that.
The last award of the evening went to Denise Brunner and her entire Tap and Grill Island team. They were presented with a large funnel / hose contraption, the kind you find in any hardware store. Through the years, the Islanders celebrate victories (and losses) with an ancient drinking ritual that entails pouring beer into the funnel down to a waiting mouth at the end of the hose. They were in dire need of an upgrade and they showed their thanks by firing it up right away at the bar.
To conclude the honors, the mood turned from the ridiculous to the sublime. Two ladies were recognized for their contributions to the league. Nancy Gentile was thanked for her past service (in the 20th century) with a bouquet of flowers while Patty Moule was presented with a pair of gold, volleyball earrings for her current service (in the 21st century).
Patty’s tireless efforts in her first year as president were noticed and applauded by all. She launched the RBVL into the new millennium with style and organization (and punctuality). Weekly articles in The Wave were revived and a new Internet web site (http://rbvl.tripod.com) was created for stories, schedules, standings and photos. Patty spoke briefly and thanked everyone who helped things run so smoothly during the season. Kudos was given to the referees, the sponsors, the captains and all the players who made the year successful.
Special recognition was given to the Executive Committee members who took on big jobs and spent plenty of personal time working towards improving the league and insuring its triumphant continuation:
Keith "Bugsy" Goldberg handled the money. John Sica, who wrote the articles for The Wave and was our resident Webmaster. Joe McKinney, who apprenticed under John Sica and handled issues relating to the actual volleyball games. Rocky Dorogoff handled all Gateway items, the playoffs and the awards dinner. Steve Gifford who was the first one at Riis Park every night to prepare the equipment for everyone. And Denise Brunner, who coordinated the scheduling of all the bar nights with teams and sponsors
Although these were the main duties performed by these troopers, each helped in almost every activity. A total team effort made it all possible!
Now back to the party. The Knights of Columbus cooked up some Italian dishes Irish style, which is perfect for the culinary experts they were serving. (Many of these characters voted for White Castle over Peter Luger in the Best Beef in NY contest.) What they like even more is a cold bottle of beer and there were plenty served up ably by the staff.
DJ Bugsy alternated sets with the Dead Mile Band and provided a steady stream of good music throughout the evening. As the alcohol consumption rose, so did the crowds on the dance floor. It is a proven fact that it is easier to dance to the Eagles after five drinks (although it takes even more than that to boogie to the Marshall Tucker Band). By the end of the evening the entire dance floor was covered and the crowd was begging for more, forcing the band into an encore song. Earlier, Bugsy had taken the microphone from the lead singer for his own rousing rendition of Van Morrison’s "Brown Eyed Girl". This really kicked the party into overdrive. The man does it all!
Some teams who talked a good party game during the season failed to show up at the grand finale. However, "The Old Men and Women" of Abbracciamento’s had perfect attendance once again. This is the type of spirit that led their Hall of Fame sponsor to buy expensive "Cocktail Shirts" for the entire team just so they look good at the post-game parties. Rocky was sporting his shirt and he was quite a hit with the ladies because of it. (What other reason could there be?) It’s All Good had ten players at the affair to finish a close second in the attendance battle – just like the playoffs, close but no cigar!
You can start counting the days until the 2002 volleyball season begins. If you like, you can mark your calendars early. Volleyball nets will be available at Riis Park on Wednesday, 5/22 for all teams to use and play exhibition matches. On that same night, teams should pick up their uniforms and schedules.
The first night of official league action will begin the following Wednesday, 5/29. Team captains will be notified of important items, like meetings, in the off-season as they are coming up. When you are called make sure you mention both the things you liked and disliked this year; it’s the only way your fearless leaders find out how they are doing. Happy Labor Day to all! Enjoy the last days of summer.