2010-05-28 / Sports

Beach Volleyball League Returns to Rockaway

By Joe McGivney

The first night kicks off the volleyball action at Riis Park. The first night kicks off the volleyball action at Riis Park. The Rockaway Beach Volleyball League kicked off the 2010 season Wednesday night at Riis Park. All 68 teams were invited and about 55 took part in the festivities. And the weather was the most perfect night in league history.

Players were happy about the playing conditions but also saddened to think it was all downhill after Wednesday’s beauty. More than one player expressed shock that professionals like A-Rod and Eddie Curry missed much playing time with sore hips while 50% of the RBVL suffers from the same malady and shows up every week ready for action. Apparently many pro athletes couldn’t make the grade in Rockaway.

The 2010 season will feature nine new teams, some new names and several new sponsors. Welcome to all the new teams and players. The RBVL is happy to have you onboard. We’ll see you at Riis Park every Wednesday until Saturday, August 14 when the league championships will be played. Starting in the morning and running through until the afternoon, eight champs will eventually be crowned. Then the real fun begins as teams try to outdo each other, partying late into the night.

The volleyball players enjoy the after party at Grassy’s. The volleyball players enjoy the after party at Grassy’s. 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 mid-season form. Cubby is working on regaining the title of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” from that weird dude on TV. Stay thirsty my friends.

And what a sight it was to see the Bungalow Bar Flies of the Moon Division take on the once mighty Casino Towing team of the Ocean Breeze Division and play them evenly until Rocky unleashed a wicked reverse flipper off of Vinny’s flipper to spark his team. Of course, the Bar Flies beat everyone at the bar with almost the entire squad stopping by. Rusty, eat your heart out, Bar Flies 1, Rockaway Breakers 0.

Some of the new refs were shown the ropes by Joe, 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 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!

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 68 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. 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 at jmcgivney 2@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.

The decision to expand was made with much trepidation. More equipment must be purchased; more referees have to be found and nets will have to be set up much further down on the beach. All the new players assured President Patty Moule that they would do whatever it took to help the season run smoothly. They all volunteered in advance to help in any way that was needed on and off the beach. That same spirit will be needed from all the veterans as well.

The league has become the place to be during the summer in Rockaway. Remember that has happened primarily because of great camaraderie and sportsmanship more than great athletic play, although there is quite a bit of that, too. Because of the enormous task of running this large mass of humanity out there every week, the league is now officially capped. There will be no further expansion in upcoming years, which means there no longer is a waiting list. If you are not on a team and you are looking to play, you should make a friend, date a current player or maybe even think about marrying into the league.

After the matches, players headed into Broad Channel to Grassy’s for a night of celebration to begin the 2010 volleyball season. Old friendships were renewed and new ones sprouted up amidst the good cheer and good food served up by Margaret and her terrific staff. Margaret even doubled as league photographer taking several group shots at the bar. If you weren’t in those pictures you can’t qualify for the perfect attendance award. Unfortunately that means only 50 league members qualify.

The first-night party can often be a little quiet, but this one was embarrassingly quiet. Our sponsors are very generous and they don’t ask much of us in return. Stopping by for free food and a drink or two doesn’t seem like much to ask. All of the new teams that said they’d do anything to get in the league can start by supporting our sponsors every week. Then you’ll realize it’s as important to brush up on singing, dancing and partying skills as well as bumping, setting and spiking.

On an administrative note, the RBVL has gone “green” and the rules and 2010 schedules will be posted on the website shortly, rather than printing thousands of pages of copies.

Captains will receive an e-mail notice in the next few days to advise them when they are ready. The magnitude of the league (and the uniform 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 (June 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 (Side Out 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 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.

It will only be five days until the bumping, setting, spiking and carrying begins so loosen up the bones and stretch out those muscles. Let the games begin! See you on the beach!

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