A Activity for the Ages! (Playing Competitive Volleyball at sixty, 70 and Over and above!)

Set volleyball positions — Lesson A single

For seasoned athletes, in spite of age and a relentless clock, the critical is to remain the system. There needn’t be an expiration date stamped on the psyche, possibly self-imposed or by community affirmation. Put yet another way, if one enjoys a healthful thoughts and physique, if joints even now flex with relative ease and comfort and ease, it truly is possible to engage in until finally Medicare kicks in, and for many, effectively past that venerable age. For its many devotees, it truly is a sport for the ages! The sport of the large internet, a remarkably fantastic, vigorous and aggressive activity, when played nicely, when performed by the guidelines. The uninitiated need to have only watch higher education volleyball or specialist seashore or Olympic volleyball.

To illustrate and to cite an exemplary situation in level, Steve and Gigi have played for ages, because 1974 to be accurate. The excellent sport continues to consume their disposable leisure time. For them, it really is a type of obsession, and one particular that has ongoing unabated for far more than 40 many years. Now at age 72, Steve, and sixty eight, Gigi, they’re still in its grip.

Obsession is an apt description. In a way, it all commenced at the bell, a telephone bell, and like a existing among extremes, it looks always to race in between foreboding and hopeful anticipation. Spurred by that opening bell, they shortly grew to become prizefighters fired with enthusiasm, roped in, at first by the concept, but in the lengthy operate, consumed by the game itself, obsessed.

The ringing telephone was loud and insistent. Steve refused to go. Obtrusive with annoyance in her eyes, Gigi set down a guide and walked quickly, almost ran to subdue the obnoxious issue.

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

Steve paid out no focus at first, irritated by the instrument’s persistence, its power to interrupt.

“Oh, hi John. What? Yeah, we are each fantastic, just hanging out. How’s Joan? That is good.”

Steve’s attention moved gradually, as did his gaze, to a discussion that was 1-sided and cryptic. Her eyes widened. She turned. She paced.

“You think we must do what?” Gigi questioned into the instrument, a concern wrapped in incredulity, however with a climbing degree of exhilaration. Enthusiasm appeared to increase the present operating by way of the wire.

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

“Be a part of a league? Partners, co-ed. Yeah, I performed a tiny in large university. Steve? No. I never consider so. Probably at picnics, or in the yard with loved ones.”

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

“That seems just fantastic,” Gigi mentioned with developing pleasure. “The place? And it starts in January? That’s following month! Yeah, yeah… exercise, some thing we can do as couples with close friends. Okay, great! Alright, we are going to speak on Monday and you can permit us know the time and schedule.” She hung up the telephone.

“Was that John O’Connor?” Steve questioned. “What were you talking about? What league?”

“I just adore the concept,” Gigi replied. “Yeah, it was John. You and I, the O’Connors and the Keegan’s are likely to perform volleyball in a co-ed league. The six of us. We commence next month. We’ll engage in at a north aspect college. It’s around Sherman on Environmentally friendly Tree Road.”

“Hold out a minute,” Steve commenced. “We have by no means performed. We will not know the recreation. Do they have rigid guidelines? Are the other teams in the league seasoned, proficient? How are we likely to do that?”

“Ach… don’t fret,” stated Gigi. “I performed in college, and we are going to discover. We’ll get greater. It’ll be fantastic exciting. We will have physical exercise, time with friends. It will be wonderful. I’m actually looking ahead to this. Are not you?”

“Volleyball,” he explained, a sturdy notice of apprehension in his tone. “A league,” he continued, a weighty sigh punctuating. And that was the sum complete of any objection or argument he may have supplied in opposition. But, in the privateness of his thoughts, there was this: “I am married for, what, 4 or so months. I’m just getting utilized to things. Now I’m in a volleyball league. How extended will this last. My god, life’s a runaway freight prepare it moves together way too quickly!”

In spite of an inauspicious beginning, reluctance on the portion of at the very least one particular participant, their volleyball-playing job, a single that would very last for forty a long time and over and above, began in 1974.

It was in early September of that 12 months. Six novices appeared on a wood-plank floor at the gymnasium of a north aspect Milwaukee school, some nervous, some serene and assured. They lined up, 3 in entrance and 3 in the back again row. They knew that a lot. The opposition received the first provider. The ball was a meteor, some thing shot from a cannon. A single of the 6 produced make contact with with the ball, palms up, lifting the volleyball a number of feet skyward. It dropped to the flooring, amongst entrance and back rows of gamers. Even the ball seemed humiliated.

A shrill whistle wrenched their collective attention from the shock of the provide and its feckless receipt to the referee’s ladder of authority. “Illegal strike,” the referee shouted. She descended, appeared at every of the six in switch and asked, “Has any of you ever played volleyball ahead of?” The concern was wound in a thread of astonishment.

“Uh, not really. I indicate, some of us played a little in large college, but that was a while back.” The reply arrived from Gigi.

“Properly,” the referee began, with a nod of apology to the opposing group, now standing and staring at the neophytes, arms akimbo, a seem of supreme annoyance on their collective expression. “The 1st point you ought to know about league volleyball, and the policies that apply, is that you receive a service with your arms outstretched like this, hands clasped collectively in some manner.” She shown the “passing” technique, tossing a volleyball to each and every in switch so that they could discover the proper arms and palms configuration. “And when you established the ball to your hitter, you could not catch and toss the ball, but fairly… properly, permit me present you.” She demonstrated the “setting” technique.

None of them remembers that first outing with any perception of joy or gratification, as they ended up wrecked, unremittingly. They expressed thanks to that kind and client referee, and then to the opposing crew customers, as they slunk away from the courtroom that first, fateful night of league volleyball. They could not have scored a one stage, until their opponents manufactured an error. Even that likelihood is lost — possibly by style — to the aspect of memory that guards one’s fragile psyche.