2008-05-23 / Sports

Beach Volleyball Returns to Rockaway On Rainy Night

By Joe McGivney

The first night of volleyball has meant one thing to Rockaway residents most years - rain! This year it rained lightly but not enough to stop the hundreds of early birds in the RBVL who bumped, set and spiked for the first time in nine months (I'm sure there will be a few sore bodies.).

Over 20 nets were erected and 75% of the league took part in the league's exhibition night at Riis Park. Undaunted, players forged ahead through the drizzle until heavier rains ended play at around 7:30 p.m.

When Bugsy called for play to stop and for nets to be returned everyone reacted swiftly. That's the kind of cooperation that helps things run smoothly. With our expanded roster of 56 teams, we need that assistance weekly. Thank you for getting off on the right foot. Keep up the good work.

Some of the new refs were shown the ropes by Denise and Patty, including where to buy yellow and red cards. They also attended a seminar to review rules and regulations and expectations for the upcoming matches. They even got to do some "student teaching" by working some of the practice games.

Everyone was reminded again of three rules that will be enforced this year at every level of play without exception:

1. ALL net violations must be called - no exceptions. 2. NO underhand lift or reverse underhand throws are allowed (The only exception is on a harddriven ball.) 3. NO reaching over the net to interfere with a ball unless your opponent is directing the ball to your side of the court.

For those players who think that this results in too many whistles and say, "We just want to play," get used to it. Remember, we all just want to play - - - volleyball! Not jungle ball!

After the matches, it looked like the middle of the summer as scores of revelers flocked to the Blackwater on the Boulevard for a night of celebration to begin the 2008 volleyball season.

Although the first night party can often be a little quiet, this year over 100 folks took part in the "best party of the season!" Blackwater is a new sponsor but they obviously did their homework. Extra bartenders worked Wednesday night to help get the drink specials to the large crowd.

The basic menu of chicken fingers, ziti and meatballs was plentiful and delicious, which are the two things RBVL players require. And then came the chili! Wow! It was so good that players commented it would be hard to beat the rest of the summer. Congratulations and thanks to Tom and Ellen, two new benefactors who really get it.

They have set the standard very high for the rest of this year's sponsors. The executive committee wants to thank all the veteran and new players for showing their support; keep coming to the post-game parties. Don't forget that people make the parties and people make the league.

Many players got in shape with numerous 12 oz. curls, led by veterans, Rocky, Tommy Tunes and Cubby. The two retirees took the soon-to-be retired Cubby under their wings and showed him how his life will drastically change after his working career ends.

Actually, it looked pretty much the same as it did 18 years ago when these guys first showed up at an RBVL celebration. Cubby was spotted earlier in the day with Jimmy Mack, practicing in Smitty's backyard hours before opening night. I guess these guys mean business!

Once again there's good news and bad news for Pat Connelly. The bad news - he's another year older; the good news - he's got 12 weeks of volleyball fun to look forward to. Happy birthday, Pat! TBG was happy to see that the Sharks are still sponsored by Sunrise Senior Living and not Greenwood Cemetery. At their age it's only a matter of time before the sponsorship switch.

Brooklyn Window and Door, formerly the Ozone Layer, formerly the Bayview Bashers, formerly the Bikini Bottom All Stars, formerly Generation X and Y, formerly Casino Towing, formerly known as many other names over the past two decades, are ready to rock and roll but this year it will be without their longtime leader, John Sica, who has moved over to play with the rest of the Sica clan on the Flip-Cup All-Stars.

There will be an unofficial league meeting this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Jameson's to see the Gray Riders. Longtime players know it is also very important to brush up on your singing, dancing and partying skills as well as their bumping, setting and spiking. We hope to see you there.

Schedules were distributed to all of the teams and summer friendships were renewed as the RBVL revved up its engines to speed ahead to the Summer of 2008. Uniforms were ordered late due to the league expansion and they should arrive very shortly. However, teams that have not placed orders with Bugsy will not be so lucky.

You have had ample time to take care of this important matter but your time is now up. Also, SIGNED rosters must be in by week three at the latest. You got your unsigned rosters in on time, now get them signed.

Welcome to all the new teams and players. We're happy to have you all onboard the RBVL express. Wednesday will be opening day and play will continue every Wednesday until August9. On Saturday, August 12, the league championships will be played and the RBVLAwards Dinner will be held on Friday, September 12.

And now a few words from our Commissioner, Patty Moule: "I am looking forward to another great season of beach volleyball and seeing old friends and meeting new ones. What I am NOT looking forward to is a few people ruining it for the rest of us. This means NO pulling people off the beach for your team and NO arguing with refs."

"The three simple rules will be enforced in ALL divisions without exception. Don't take this out on your ref! He or she is just doing his job. All seven people on your RBVL Committee are willing to help you with any problems that come up; just take care of matters in a respectful manner."

For new players, the RBVL Committee is made up of President Patty Moule (Bay House Babes), Bugsy Goldberg (It's All Good Tees), Steve Gifford (Connolly's), Denise Brunner (Robin Shapiro Realty Island), John Sica (Flip-Cup All- Stars) and Rocky and Joe Abbracciamento (Casino Towing). You can find them every week on the beach.

Before we sign off, condolences to Bugsy and the Goldberg family for their loss - our thoughts and prayers are with you. Next week the games and scores count. As always, if you have any questions before then please call Patty Moule at 917- 613-0908 (Be sure to call between 10 AM and 9 p.m.

Remember, Patty has a life outside of VB, too.) Or just check our website at www.rbvl.com.

You'll find the answers to most of your questions there, not to mention pretty pictures and funny stories.

Let the games begin! See you on the beach!

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