Bars, restaurants, culture and events… Dan Mathers’ weekly guide to what’s going on in Cape May
It’s estimated that Americans spend $19 billion annually on professional sports. Personally, I just purchased $100 soccer tickets, my cable bill is $113 a month and I’ve spent $300 for a single Phillies playoff ticket. So, it was a refreshing change of pace to be able to watch quality professional sports for the cost of my beach tag.
Great American Volleyball made their first trip to Cape May this past weekend and covered the sand from Cabanas to Convention Hall with nets. They were offering $4,000 in prize money for the pro division – not bad money for a day on the beach in Cape May. In the running for that money was Cape May local Jim Walls who has formerly played on the AVP professional tour (that’s the NFL of volleyball).
In the beginning volleyball is all about keeping the ball in the air. Get it up and over and you celebrate. Progressing a bit, the game is about offense. You’re expected to keep the ball up. Coordinating a good bump, set and spike is worthy of a solid low five. At the best level, the game changes yet again. It’s about defense. Players loft above the net, slamming balls downward with such force that defending the attack requires extreme coordination. At this level, keeping the ball up is again what you celebrate. Watching volleyball played at this level is unreal.
Jim and his playing partner Ihor Akinshyn combined for digs and retrieved balls I’d have just watched fly by. My friends Miro and Andrei, two of the best players I’d seen play up to this point, were no match. Miro is the most lackadaisical person I know. He lightly lopes across the sand, smiling regardless of the score. He was disappointed, but not angry. Andrei was a different story. I know a good number of Russian curses. My Belarussian friends thought it was funny to teach me these words. Andrei, spitting into the sand in disgust, introduced me to new words with every point against him.
Andrei should take solace in knowing that Jim and Ihor eventually won the tournament. They deftly maneuvered past all takers with a combination of skill and veteran expertise. They disassembled their younger opponents and showed not a hint of their age.
After hours enjoying the tournament, swimming in a roiling ocean and generally developing an all-around maroon tinge to my skin, I retreated to Cabanas to find solace from the sun and a prescription for my thirst. Cabanas sponsored the tournament and deserve a tremendous thank you for making such a great event possible… and for offering $2 Bud Light Lime drafts, a beer so delicious that I don’t see too many Coronas in my future.