Luke Melia


July 21, 2002

Volleyball Tourney

I woke up late today, having slept off a lot of sun and exertion yesterday. I played in a volleyball tournament in Seaside Heights, NJ.

I played with Aaron in the Men’s AA division. I was pretty nervous about it, because I’ve only played Men’s twice in a tournament and those were both division B. Aaron’s a very good player, so I knew he’d be able to carry us to a certain extent, but I definitely didn’t want to be a “black hole,” as James might say, that our opponents could score lots of points on.

It all went better than I’d feared. My serves, hits and passing were all consistent and I was able to set Aaron up for a fair amount of his monster left-handed spikes. We went undefeated in pool play, grabbing the top seed for the playoffs. We won a hard-fought game in the quarterfinals, dominated our semifinals opponent, and arrived in the finals.

Our opponents in the finals were of a variety that I’m beginning to recognize as a stereotype. Older men; extremely competitive; and looking for every legal advantage they can get, including psychological leverage by doing things like adjusting the net, insisting you put more air in a ball that’s been fine all day, etc. Well, it is a competition, you might argue, and I’d grant you that, but we’re ostensibly all on the beach to have fun. It’s a laid-back experience where you play as hard as you can and smile and compliment your competitors on good plays and good hustle and share food and drink and tips. That’s my m.o. anyway.

Long story shorter, I suspect we could have beaten them. They were strong players, but Aaron and I were in a pretty good groove and were certainly a lot faster than them. Unfortunately, Aaron’s legs cramped up bad, to the extent he couldn’t stand up after a bit, and we had to throw in the towel. He was understandably bummed and frustrated, but we both emerged uninjured and second place in that division ain’t so bad. Especially when we can come back and win another day.

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