Thursday, July 14, 2005

Volleyball's Reward 

I used to be a not-too-stinky volleyball player, back in the day when I could get both feet off the ground simultaneously. In college, I was on the school team, playing several times a week (don't get all excited, I was the worst player and my college was noted athletic "powerhouse", Caltech). After graduation, I continued playing regularly and seriously on the beaches every weekend, all throughout my twenties and into my thirties. Volleyball was my lifeline to sanity and exercise.

Then, nine years ago I made aliyah (moved to Israel) and volleyball suddenly ceased. While there are some Israeli volleyball players, there just isn't a widespread volleyball culture here to tap into. The beaches for the most part don't even have volleyball poles. I guess that's about what you'd expect in a country where the local translation of the name of the game is "kadur aff", or literally, "nose ball". If you've ever played you'll know that's not the idea.

Anyway, I've really missed the game. I still practice my setting with my kids' bouncy balls when they're not looking, just to keep the touch, even if I don't get to apply it on the court anymore.

Then, out of the blue, while taking the kids on a trip last Friday, I ran into an impromptu game starting on the sands of Nitzanim beach. [context: near the place where the temporary homes for families from Gaza are being set up]. Despite a little trepidation about the effects of nine years of inactivity, and the fact that I'm now as old or older than my coaches were, I joined the game.

I can say I didn't embarrass myself. Well, at least not much. But only because I had joined a group of people who didn't know to rotate positions and who took cellphone calls on the court while the ball was in play. Nevertheless, it was fun to get out, "jump" a little, and bump the ball around a bit.

Inevitably, as in the recent case of my ill-considered attempt at swimming, I got a little extra reward for my effort: a tetanus shot and blood tests. While playing, I managed to cut my foot on a metal fork buried in the sand where the court had been set up. I guess a true devotee of the sport would say, "It was worth the price." But I think I'll wait for the test results to come back before making that declaration.

In the meantime, I've been reminiscing about my old bowling league days. What's the worst that could happen?.
Technorati Tags: , ,

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: