A buddy of mine and I met up in Chicago this weekend to catch the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals for those unfamiliar) Chicago Open beach volleyball tournament. It was a great weekend on Lake Michigan. The temperature hovered around the low to mid 80s, but on the sand, it seemed hotter.
We caught most of the action on center court through the men’s final on Sunday. We had to catch our flights back out, so we missed Misty May and Kerri Walsh (the 2004 Olympic medalists) dominating the weekly guest appearance by EY (Elaine Youngs) and Rachel Wacholder.
It really is amazing to see these guys in action. I spent the better part of my early 20s playing 2-man and chasing the volleyball dream, but never had any illusion that I could compete with those guys. They play at such an amazing level.
I was able to get some great shots of both the men and women soaring over the net. When a guy’s got a 44 inch vertical leap, and his arm is swinging at 11+ feet it’s incrdible to then see him spin around and sprint to chase down a dig that popped up 25 feet away – all in a second or two. They have the height and acrobatics of the NBA and the speed and agility of the NFL receivers.
If you’ve watched the Olympics, you get a good idea of the intensity, but there is nothing like watching a tourney live. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you go.