A Sport for the Ages! (Taking part in Aggressive Volleyball at sixty, 70 and Past!)

Set One particular” — Lesson 1

For seasoned athletes, in spite of age and a relentless clock, the critical is to remain the course. There needn’t be an expiration date stamped on the psyche, both self-imposed or by community affirmation. Place yet another way, if 1 enjoys a healthier thoughts and human body, if joints still flex with relative simplicity and ease and comfort, it is attainable to enjoy right up until Medicare kicks in, and for numerous, nicely beyond that venerable age. For its many devotees, it really is a sport for the ages! The sport of the large web, a remarkably fine, vigorous and competitive activity, when performed properly, when performed by the guidelines. The uninitiated need to have only observe school volleyball or expert seashore or Olympic volleyball.

To illustrate and to cite an exemplary situation in stage, Steve and Gigi have played for ages, because 1974 to be correct. The wonderful recreation continues to take in their disposable leisure time. For them, it really is a variety of obsession, and 1 that has continued unabated for far more than forty a long time. Now at age seventy two, Steve, and sixty eight, Gigi, they are even now in its grip.

Obsession is an apt description. In a way, it all commenced at the bell, a telephone bell, and like a recent in between extremes, it looks always to race amongst foreboding and hopeful anticipation. Spurred by that opening bell, they before long grew to become prizefighters fired with enthusiasm, roped in, originally by the notion, but in the prolonged operate, eaten by the recreation by itself, obsessed.

The ringing phone was loud and insistent. Steve refused to transfer. Obtrusive with annoyance in her eyes, Gigi put down a ebook and walked quickly, nearly ran to subdue the obnoxious factor.

“Shall I just get it?” she asked with extravagant sarcasm. “Indeed, hullo!”

Steve compensated no attention at very first, irritated by the instrument’s persistence, its power to interrupt.

“Oh, hello John. What? Yeah, we’re the two wonderful, just hanging out. How’s Joan? Which is great.”

Steve’s focus moved slowly and gradually, as did his gaze, to a dialogue that was a single-sided and cryptic. Her eyes widened. She turned. She paced.

“You believe we must do what?” Gigi questioned into the instrument, a query wrapped in incredulity, yet with a growing level of excitement. Enthusiasm appeared to enhance the current operating by means of the wire.

“What,” he said. Who is that?” The query fell flat as if inaudible, trivial.

“Be part of a league? Couples, co-ed. Yeah, I performed a minor in high college. Steve? No. I don’t feel so. Perhaps at picnics, or in the yard with family.”

“What did I do in the backyard?” he questioned. Another feckless concern, no reply predicted or given.

“That appears just wonderful,” Gigi stated with developing excitement. “Exactly where? And it commences in January? That is following thirty day period! Yeah, yeah… workout, one thing we can do as partners with pals. Okay, fantastic! Alright, we are going to speak on Monday and you can enable us know the time and timetable.” She hung up the cellphone.

“Was that John O’Connor?” Steve asked. “What ended up you conversing about? What league?”

“I just really like the idea,” Gigi replied. “Yeah, it was John. You and I, the O’Connors and the Keegan’s are heading to play volleyball in a co-ed league. The 6 of us. We start off next month. We’ll perform at a north side faculty. It truly is around Sherman on Environmentally friendly Tree Highway.”

“Wait around a moment,” Steve commenced. “We have by no means played. We don’t know the sport. Do they have strict principles? Are the other teams in the league experienced, gifted? How are we likely to do that?”

“Ach… do not worry,” stated Gigi. “I played in faculty, and we will find out. We will get greater. It will be great fun. We’ll have exercise, time with friends. It will be terrific. I am truly looking forward to this. Aren’t you?”

“Volleyball,” he mentioned, a robust observe of apprehension in his tone. “A league,” he continued, a heavy sigh punctuating. And that was the sum whole of any objection or argument he might have presented in opposition. But, within the privacy of his thoughts, there was this: “I am married for, what, four or so months. I’m just getting utilized to items. Now I am in a volleyball league. How lengthy will this previous. My god, life’s a runaway freight teach it moves alongside way too rapidly!”

Despite volleyball court size commencing, reluctance on the portion of at least a single participant, their volleyball-playing career, 1 that would previous for forty several years and outside of, commenced in 1974.

It was in early September of that 12 months. 6 novices appeared on a wooden-plank ground at the gymnasium of a north aspect Milwaukee college, some anxious, some serene and confident. They lined up, three in front and 3 in the back row. They knew that a lot. The opposition won the 1st services. The ball was a meteor, something shot from a cannon. One particular of the six manufactured make contact with with the ball, palms up, lifting the volleyball a number of toes skyward. It dropped to the flooring, in between entrance and back again rows of gamers. Even the ball appeared humiliated.

A shrill whistle wrenched their collective consideration from the shock of the serve and its feckless receipt to the referee’s ladder of authority. “Unlawful hit,” the referee shouted. She descended, looked at every of the six in change and questioned, “Has any of you ever performed volleyball just before?” The concern was wound in a thread of astonishment.

“Uh, not really. I imply, some of us performed a small in high university, but that was a whilst back.” The reply came from Gigi.

“Properly,” the referee commenced, with a nod of apology to the opposing group, now standing and staring at the neophytes, arms akimbo, a search of supreme annoyance on their collective expression. “The initial thing you should know about league volleyball, and the guidelines that use, is that you obtain a services with your arms outstretched like this, fingers clasped collectively in some way.” She shown the “passing” technique, tossing a volleyball to every in change so that they could discover the correct arms and arms configuration. “And when you established the ball to your hitter, you could not catch and toss the ball, but relatively… properly, permit me show you.” She demonstrated the “placing” technique.

None of them recalls that 1st outing with any sense of joy or fulfillment, as they had been wrecked, unremittingly. They expressed thanks to that kind and individual referee, and then to the opposing group associates, as they slunk away from the courtroom that 1st, fateful night of league volleyball. They may not have scored a single stage, until their opponents manufactured an mistake. Even that chance is lost — possibly by style — to the aspect of memory that safeguards one’s fragile psyche.

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