2009-05-22 / Sports

Rockaway Beach Volleyball League Returns To Riis Park

By Joe McGivney

The Rockaway Beach Volleyball League kicked off the 2009 season on Wednesday at Riis Park. Many of the 60 teams came out to shake off the cobwebs and loosen up their lumbagos in preparation for opening day next week.

More than one player expressed shock that professionals like A-Rod and Carlos Delgado missed a lot of playing time with sore hips, while 50 percent of the RBVL suffers from the same malady and show up every week ready for action. Apparently, many pro athletes couldn't make the grade in Rockaway.

The 2009 season will feature four new teams - Ocean's 12, the Bad News Bears, Social Yachties and Ruffle Bar Wii Not Fit; 4 new names - Freedhand's Dynasty, Harbor Light Brooklyn Transplants, Atlantic Service Sand Sharks and EZ Company; 8 new sponsors - (212) The Bravest, Safe Sets, Carvel Blue Bungalow, Miley Home Improvement Posse, Rathbones, 3rd and Long, Summer Winds, Bungalow Bar and a partridge in a pear tree.

For the first time in league history, expansion has helped to produce eight different divisions from 4 to 10 teams with varying levels of skill. The new divisions will be called Ocean Breeze and Star. Welcome to all the new teams and players. We're happy to have you all onboard the RBVL express.

We'll see you at Riis Park every Wednesday until Saturday, August 8. The league championships will be played on that day which starts in the morning and through until the afternoon when eight champions will be crowned. Then the real fun begins as teams try to outdo each other by partying late into the night.

The first night back on the beach ran smoothly with the help of many players, young and old, who pitched in wherever it was needed.

That's the kind of cooperation that makes the league great. Thank you for getting off on the right foot and keep up the good work. We need that assistance weekly.

As veterans know, the court layouts change often because of the endangered birds. Come early each Wednesdays and check the information board to find out where you are playing. And bring your GPS system; you'll need it.

What didn't go as smoothly was the bumping, setting and spiking! It gets harder and harder each year. However, the carrying looked to be in midseason form.

Some of the new referees 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 hard-driven ball, like the ones the TV pros hit.

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 will result 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!

Each year we try to accommodate as many people as we can in the RBVL. After expanding again, that has led us to a record 60 teams this season. Most of you have offered your assistance many times over the years and now we really need it. We have many new refs, some of whom are learning on the job.

Some are young and some are not as young but they all are trying their best to call the games fairly. Believe me, they do not have an ax to grind with any of our teams and we need you to treat them with respect (There has been some slippage in this department the last two seasons.). However, we want them to improve their performance, too.

To that end, please send us an e-mail (jmcgivney2@nyc.rr.com) on Thursdays with a quick summary of the previous night's ref. We'll know who it was because we keep track of that stuff. It can be simply, "Ref was great." Or give us some detail. "Ref called no net violations", Ref called too many carries" or "He called the game tighter than any ref this year". You get the idea - brief and to the point, both good and bad. Thanks, in advance for your assistance.

After the matches, it looked like the middle of the summer as revelers flocked to the Irish Circle for a night of celebration to begin the 2009 volleyball season.

Old friendships were renewed and new ones sprouted up amidst the good cheer and good food served up by the terrific staff. Although the first-night party can often be a little quiet, this year was clearly the "best party of the season!"

Thanks to all the veteran and new players for showing their support; keep coming to the post-game parties. Our sponsors are very generous and they don't ask much of us in return. Don't forget that people make the parties and people make the league. Many players got in shape with numerous 12 oz. curls, looking like Olympic champions in guzzling and chugging. Old-timers know it is also very important to brush up on their singing, dancing and partying skills as well as their bumping, setting and spiking.

Is Cubby really retiring? (No, not from volleyball.) How will we be able to tell the difference? 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 11 weeks of volleyball fun to look forward to. Happy birthday, Pat! Kevin O'Malley would like to recognize the end of an era.

For the first time in the history of the RBVL, Abbracciamento's/Casino Towing is no longer in the top division. Will there be an obituary published in the Wave? Where have you gone Frank Abbracciamento? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

On an administrative note, the RBVL rules and 2009 schedules were distributed to all of the teams and uniforms have been ordered and will arrive shortly.

The sheer magnitude of the league (and the order) seems to make it more difficult each season to have the shirts ready for the practice week. But sit tight, they'll be here any minute.

Captains who have handed in unsigned rosters must now get them signed. SIGNED rosters must be in by week three (6/10) at the latest. However, there is really no reason you can't take care of that at the beach before your first game.

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 playing rules will be enforced in ALL divisions without exception. If you don't like it, don't take it out on your ref! He or she is just doing his job."

"All six 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), 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, playing ball on the beach."

Next week the games and scores count.

As always, if you have any questions before then please call Patty at 917- 613-0908 (Be sure to call between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Remember, Patty has a life outside of volleyball 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!

Posted below is the 2009 standings: Teams in bold were crowned the 2008 volleyball champions.

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