Rockaway Beach Volleyball Coronate Six Championship Teams
The Rockaway Beach Volleyball League concluded its 17th season on Saturday with an entire day of playoffs, crowning six different division champions by day's end. The mood was festive but bittersweet as the RBVL ended the 2006 season and the joy of another terrific year was offset by the sadness that many friends would go their separate ways over the next 10 months, not seeing each other quite so regularly anymore. More than a few people were verklempt! Commissioner Patty Moule outdid herself again although she selflessly deflected credit to her committee of Bugsy, Rocky, Steve, Denise, John and Joe for a job well done.
The playoff extravaganza was more spectacular than ever and special thanks go to the Park Services folks, led by Rita Mullally, Rick O'Neil, Justin Monetti and Brian Collier as well as the Arizona Iced Tea gang and Rick Diffendale, the caterer from the Coach House. Players feasted on his delicious sandwiches all day while enjoying Arizona drinks (and a few of their own) throughout. He even brought several vegetarian bagel wheels for those so inclined. Nice touch. Arizona also donated 60 tee shirts to the winning playoff teams. As he did last year, DJ Timmy Tubridy kicked the finals up to a new level.
Tubbs rocked the beach with the sounds of summer and played more requests than you could shake a fist at. He peppered the music with scores and updates from all of the courts to keep the fans informed. He even broke his personal OT record by playing an additional four hours on the arm, concluding his day at 10:00 PM. If you liked what you heard and are in need of a DJ drop him an e-mail at email@example.com. Tell him the RBVL sent you.
The action took place at Riis Park on a day without clouds or wind and in a very comfortable 79-degree temperature. Many exclaimed, "It's the best day of the summer!" Much different than last year's 99 degree debacle! In the Ocean division, the top players faced off, beginning with the Sugar Bowl's 3-2 marathon win over the ancient warriors of Abbracciamento's for the second year in a row. The newcomers could not sustain their momentum and dropped their semi-final 1-3 to Freedhand's Court Champs. However, one game was lost at 19 and one in OT, drawing the young guns that much closer to the league powerhouse. Mark's Maintenance upset Sullivan & Galleshaw 3-2 and then eliminated upstarts, Fillmore Insurance 3-1 to unexpectedly reach the finals. Their Cinderella run ended when Freedhand's decisively won all three games 21-11 to gain the championship of the top division once again.
The Wave Division: The fireworks began early with Jameson's coming back from two down to beat the Mahooshkas 21-19 in the fifth. They also got by the disappointing Bayview Bashers (who had smoked BHYC behind the strong play of George Mastorides) to land in the title game. The Killa Hills (aka The Sica Youths) continued their season-long dominance by dispatching the Federation and the Mighty Boosh. Despite the loss, the youngsters of the Mighty Boosh proved they belong in the second division.
Look for them to be a big factor next year. Full of energy, the Hills kids deflated the tiring Jameson's squad and swept the championship (16-11-18). If it weren't for the play and serves of the two Kates, Chip, and Maura, ably assisted by T.C. and Jay Butler, it might have been even worse for the Jameson's crew. They were instrumental in knocking off the Sica Elders to prevent the much-anticipated Sica family feud. In the end, the setting of Trish Sica and Katie Salica, and the strong swinging of all four starting men, Kenny Kearns, Mike Sica, Brian Sica and Mike Gambino were too much to beat. The most commonly asked questions all day were, "What's a Mahooshka?" and "What's a Mighty Boosh?" Both captains should be ready to explain at the awards dinner.
The Beach Division: The Beach Posse rolled over It's All Good 15-17-17. Coach Bugsy lamented the loss of stars, Allison and Brian, who flew up a division. Invisible Seal, What's the Deal? Maybe they need to add yet another William Moore to the roster to return to their glory days. Remember, TBG, the league dinner is at the Beach Club not the Knights of Columbus. Also remember, vertical, not horizontal stripes! Third seed, Connolly's took out One More to advance against the second seed, Rogue Sharks. Unfortunately, the Sharks made their usual early exit just as the top seed, Grassy's Ratpack was doing the same, losing to the Beach Posse three straight.
That set up the most dramatic final of the entire tournament. The Posse jumped on top quickly 21-8 and 21-11 and Connolly's ended game two with three men on the ground in pain from leg cramps. If you were a betting man you would have sent it in on the Beach Posse. Miraculously, Stevie G., Glenn, and Eddie got off the canvas before being counted out and led Connolly's back from the brink of extinction. They swept the next three games 8-18-17 to win a most improbable title. The Beach Posse victory chants were put on hold until 2007. Connolly's completed a rare double, also having the winner of the annual Adult Musical Chairs competition on their squad. Longtime player, Laura Pfizter won the War at the Shore in the BHYC and said it was much rougher than canoeing down the Amazon (which she has done).
The Boardwalk Division: Last year it was the division of upsets but this year form held up as the top four teams all advanced to the semi-finals, knocking out the Cheese Fries, Sands Point PT, Boarders and the Pier 92 Piranha's. The Beach House then dispatched the Odd Couples while Coppersmith's sent One Win Away home. (They may have to change the name of the team next year to "Three Wins Away.") Coppersmith's swept the Beach House in the championship to become the only team in the 2006 playoffs to go undefeated; it also made them a back-to-back champion, a rare feat, indeed.
The Sun Division: Just like the Boardwalk, the top four teams all advanced to the semi-finals, knocking out the Beach Orphans, Jameson's Turtles, McMahon's and the Kerry Hills Pub. In round two, the Sand Spikers and the Blarney Castle prevailed over the Harbor Light and the Brooklyn Transplants, respectively, setting up an exiting final. After splitting the first two games, the Sand Spikers won 21-19 and 21-19 to take the title but a point either way in either game could have led to a reversal of fortunes. The Sand Spikers were lucky to escape alive.
The Moon Division went pretty much according to form as well. Regular season champ, Team Margarita, the Suns of Beaches, A Night Out and Last Call moved on with victories in round one. Happy Hour and Desert Island went down meekly but EZ Company and Simon Says Sea Bar put up spirited battles. That's when things heated up. In the second round, both matches went the distance with A Night Out edging Last Call, who were worn down after having previously played five games against Simon. In the other bracket, Suns of Beaches pulled off a big upset, knocking out regular season champ, Team Margarita 21-16 in the fifth. The Suns then completed their dream season with a sweep of A Night Out 13-18-20. Veterans, Michael and Kevin led the charge, proving they are not simply on the team to get to the parties first for a good seat at the bar (Although they are quite good at that, too.).
Commissioner Patty would like to thank all who helped us on "Playoff Saturday." It can be a pretty stressful day at times. Being short of refs at 10:30 AM was not part of the plan. Special thanks goes out to Jean Pareja and her son, James for ref'ing at the last minute. RBVL League Officials work very hard and try not to ask for help from RBVL players but it's nice to know a few people were there when we needed them. Thanks to Mary Whelan for getting those fantastic RBVL signs! What a nice touch! Thank you, Eileen Bledsoe for collecting those final score sheets. That's right about the time we start cracking open the beers and forgetting our last duties. Photographers (Leah, Steve, Janet and others), you did a wonderful job and your work will be shown on the RBVL website shortly.
Let's recap a few of the things we learned on Saturday. Rocky's pink flamingo mailbox is still the prettiest on the peninsula according to TBG. Dickie Flanagan carries an emergency back up cooler and a super secret back up to the back up wherever he goes in the summer. And when asked, he also shows up with a vintage 1983 boom box and 6 "D" cell batteries. Carol Farrell chased Rocky down like a cheetah going after a wilder beast; you can only imagine what happened when she caught him. (Check National Geographic to find out.) A calibrated tape measure from Home Depot was no more accurate in measuring the height of a net than Rocky standing on his tippy-toes. Coach bicycled home with a case of Arizona Iced Tea balanced on his bike rack. (Some said it would have been easier if he had driven his car but then there would have been the Atlantic Beach Bridge toll and the parking fee at Riis Park to pay.) No Connolly's players were able to make it to their sponsor bar to inform owner/ GM, Jeff of their Wave Division title. (He wondered if they had dropped to the last division.)
Upon their elimination, the Brooklyn Transplants and Jameson's Turtles settled in to do what they do best - party. They sat together and toasted to a good season (among many other things). Combined, they improved on their previous league record for total attendance and they even brought a new and improved Slushy Machine, powered up with a long extension cord. Their tents and Japanese lanterns could be seen far and wide by all and many enjoyed the pizza they had delivered to Riis Park. The celebration was carried well into the night and they can be proud of their runner-up status. The final group - Rocky, Joe and Tommy D. left Riis Park at 2:45 AM, a new league record. Tommy thought it would be the perfect time to stop in at Bernie's pool party so the three troubadours immediately drove over. To their surprise, the party was over and the pool was closed. They did the only thing you can do at a time like that - they went directly to Connolly's for last call.
Waiting for them inside were the Killa Hills gang of Trish the Dish, Leigh Ann, Kenny and (Old) Peter Kearns, who were still out celebrating their Wave Division victory from earlier in the day. After a few nightcaps, the partiers all piled into Tommy's car for a ride home. When all was said and done, the Merry Pranksters landed in Breezy Point as the sun came up over the horizon at 5:30 AM. You may have seen Pat Quinn from the AVP at Riis Park on Saturday. Pat was promoting this week's pro tournament, which is being held in Coney Island on Friday (today), Saturday and Sunday. The AVP was generous enough to give the RBVL complementary tickets to all of the sessions. They are available on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested, please call Rocky on 718-338-3951. If you reach his answering machine, leave the details about which session you are interested in and how many tickets you'd like.
The RBVL Awards Dinner will be held at the Beach Club on Friday, 9/15 from 7:30 PM to 12:30 AM. The cost is $70 and includes an open bar, bottled beer and hot food with music by a great party band, Souled Out. Captains are collecting money as we speak and the first 200 people will be confirmed. In the past we have never had to turn anyone away but we came very close last year. With another expansion this season, the dinner promises to be booked solid. Reserve your tables early and get your money in early. If you have any questions or want to secure an entire table, call Rocky on 718-338-3951 or Bugsy on 347-413-3563 or Denise on 347-866-4570. Continue to check our website (www.rbvl.com) for photos and stories in the upcoming weeks. If you have any pictures you'd like to have posted, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We expect to add photos from the playoffs as they come in. We won't see you on the beach next week - the season is over! (As Stevie Kearns would say, "EOS - End Of Story!") We hope to see you at the awards dinner on September 15th.