Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ball on!

I have a new favorite activity: Playing sand volleyball in my new Friday night league.

OH MY GOD Friday nights are going to be fun this summer! Even though they won't earn me any 1) volleyball proficiency merit badges 2) invitations to join the International Coordination Club (ICC) or 3) lucrative endorsements that say to the world Here is a man whose volleyball skills are such that he doesn't embarrass his parents.

A couple months ago, see, I had a completely random conversation with a friend I'd been running into with increasing infrequency ... and it turns out he was looking for one more guy to play on his gay volleyball team. I told him I definitely met the gay qualification (you readers do know I'm gay, right?) but as a player I'd probably be a Clumsy McBallDropper whose biggest contributions to the team would be 1) beach shorts that nicely complement my skin tones and 2) coordinating flip-flops. Nevertheless, I told him, I'd love to play—and he informed me his team was in the low-skill, non-competitive league anyway so that would be just fine.


So I showed up for my first game on Friday night ... and our team turned out to be pretty good, actually. (Unfortunately, so did the teams we played against.) And it also turns out I'm not as suckysuckysucky as I'd feared I'd be. In fact, though I hadn't even touched a volleyball in three years, my serves were always dead-on* ... and my shaky bump-set-spike skills placed me significantly above the Timid Pre-Pubescent Girl mark on the Volleyball Embarrassment Continuum.

*Except on Friday my serves had the magic ability to turn any ball into a best-player-on-the-other-team magnet, sending it right to that player's hands and giving him the perfect downward arc to retaliate with a Swift Ball Of Death trajectory to our side of the net.

And we ended up getting spanked smoked murdered invited to join a baking club instead one win out of four games on Friday night, so my parents won't be forced to change their names and move to a new city under cover of darkness just yet.

The last time I'd touched a volleyball—as I'd mentioned above—was three years ago when I played in the same Friday league with a team of about 12 guys who had been playing together for, like, 12 centuries. And since only four guys play on the court at one time, we all spent 75% of our playing time standing around waiting to be rotated in and watching our modest volleyball skills drain out of our inactive muscles into the hungry sands below us. Which really wasn't much fun.

So this year is different. There are five guys on our team—and only four of us were there on Friday—so we'll get to chase after the ball play ALL THE TIME. Which can mean only one thing: We'll just get better and better. Or we'll get a lot of cardio from chasing the ball.

Which is SO much more rewarding than what you'd get standing around in the outfield in some stupid, pansy-ass softball league.

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