Mud volleyball tourney continues family tradition

There’s nothing like continuing a tradition. Or getting dirty while doing it.

That’s what I did Saturday, July 21, at a mud volleyball tournament in Richmond Heights, Ohio. The 27th annual competition attracted hundreds of people to an old airport property, which was riddled with 20 something two-feet-deep mud courts.

Firehoses filled the pools throughout the day, and the depth of the water varied by court. Our first several games were all on Court 17, with the water just past our ankles.

The key to wading through the water was duct-taping your shoes to your feet. After a game or two, the duct tape was so soggy it had to be replaced. To give you an idea, the two large rolls my team started the day with were gone by the time we left.

When my team, “Six-Pack Attack,” was sent packing, our defeat came on a different court where the water was up past our knees.

But I don’t dwell on the loss. The team that beat us had two huge advantages over us.

First, they had played on that court all day; it was their comfortable home turf. Second, they had played together in past tournaments, whereas the majority of my team had ever played or practiced volleyball together.

It was tough getting a team together, real tough. Friends were working, out of town or busy for some unclear reason. Teams can field eight players on the court at a time, but two must be girls. The toughest recruiting was when I was trying to find some female ballers.

But within days of the tournament, I lucked out. I had two girl players (one my childhood best friend and the other I had never met) and Six-Pack Attack was ready to play.

I understood the skepticism, however, that both my teammates and friends who said ‘no’ held. They had never done this before, much less heard of it.

The only propaganda firepower I held came from my parents, seeing as they had played in this tournament for ten years during my youth, and had a blast making the muddy memories.

So on the day of the tournament, my teammates and I took to the mud, and in our first five games, we went 2-3. In this initial six-team division, only the top four teams advanced to the next round. Those two wins were enough to land us in the fourth spot, and keep us playing into the afternoon.

We won the next two best-of-three rounds, but then lost on the thigh-high court, which was by far the stickiest and hardest to move in.

But it was a  blast. Everyone on the team agreed. The weather was beautiful, I spent some quality time with friends I don’t see too often and a rookie team played far above its own expectations.

And there they were, my parents cheering us on as we continued the tradition of mud volleyball.

 

DAN KUBACKI

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