Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Games to fifteen again!

Kate and I at the Mermaid Tavern on the Gold Coast last weekend celebrating a very unique 'Movember' day on the beach.
My PHD supervisor from Western encouraged me with a recent email saying: ‘work hard and play hard’. Honest advice from someone who has done his share of both. He also managed to accurately sum up the mentality here lately. This post and pictures definitely concern ‘playing hard’ but the chemistry work is also moving along. I am now proud mentor of ‘Emma’ an undergraduate summer student who I have been asked to try and mold into a competent lab monkey in the next three months. And thanks to the much appreciated assistance of a talented colleague back at UWO named Cheryl Carson a project that I was forced to ‘finish without quite finishing’ in August is now actually completed. For your benefit I will avoid specifics and just say that Cheryl’s hard work revealed a result that was very much a best case scenario for both of us. Thanks again Carson.

Now to the ‘playing hard’: A few years ago a local Gold Coast volleyballer named Shannon Zunker decided that he would organize a unique tournament as a tribute to the way the original beach game was played in California in the 70’s and 80’s. ‘Olskool’ rules would be enforced: side out scoring (only the serving team can earn a point), the original volleyballs, no antennas, VERY tight hand setting requirements, and no referees (disputes to be settled by honesty or dance-off), and the old 9x9 metre court (8x8 is the standard today). In addition, players would be encouraged to wear old-school uniforms.

On the weekend, Kate and I played in the fourth repeat of Zunker’s annual tournament. I am not surprised that the event continues to grow each year because the old rules make for an awesome game that is all but forgotten. Big court and side-out scoring both ensure that closely matched high caliber teams are usually forced to play very long and entertaining games. If you find yourself a player in one of these games you develop a surprising feeling of patience rather than urgency. It is nothing like what modern beach volleyball has become. For reasons I don’t feel like explaining the old rules also mean much more aggressive jump serving, and consequently less blocking and far more hitting. All of which are pro-spectator. On top of that, there are many more come from behind wins and MANY more exciting match point situations. It was an experience that brought back some good memories, and I loved every minute of it.

The tournament also offered some other unique aspects: big trophies (where the heck have those gone lately), including big golden volleyballs for the winners of the highly contested charity ‘hardest serve competition’ complete with policeman and radar gun. Also spectators of the final games were entertained by an Olympic caliber commentator and, of course, there was quite the Saturday night party involved. Very well done Zunks! I will tell every beach player I know about it.

Here are some pics:

First, below is the man with the plan: Shannon Zunker. And above, his shiny trophies. Man did I ever want that golden ball, but it was not to be.
And here are some ridiculous costumes. Starting with Adam and Rob.

Horse and I did our part.
Below are Dan Carey (Maverick) and his little brother Jimmy. Both are outstanding young local players from the Gold Coast. Dan won the tournament and the serving competition with an 84 km/h missle.
And if it has looked so far like just a sausage party. The girls also get dressed up. These are our friends Ghyda and Cassie.
And below is the team of Kate and Lib. Or Cadets 'Hot Dog' and 'Bacon' of police academy. Also proud winners of the overall costume contest.
In this picture 'Hot Dog' and 'Bacon' are actually playing in their 'uniforms'. Well done ladies.
I'll finish with some more game shots. First, this is 'Elevation' Elliot Weston, another skilled Brisbane volleyballer. I borrowed a lot of these pictures from El's facebook site.

That's about it. The last one is Dan Carey with that 'golden ball trophey' winning serving style.

I hope you have had your fill of volleyball on this blog because I'm done posting about it for a while. No more volleyball discussion until April! There is a tournament at the end of March that will probably warrant another picture or two.

1 comment:

260 Days said...

Confirms my theory that Austalia is stuck in the 80's. Working on a top 10 list!