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RBVL Crowns 6 Champs for 2008

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By Joe McGivney 

      The Rockaway Beach Volleyball League concluded its 19th season on Saturday with an entire day of playoffs, crowning six different division champions by day’s end. The mood was festive but bittersweet as the RBVL ended the 2008 season and the joy of another terrific year was offset by the sadness that many friends would go their separate ways over the next 10 months, not seeing each other quite so regularly anymore.  More than a few people were weepy!   Commissioner Patty Moule outdid herself again although she selflessly deflected credit to her committee of Bugsy, Rocky, Steve, Denise, John and Joe for a job well done.  Thank you all for making the season a great success and making Saturday one of the RBVL's most spectacular playoff days ever.  As always, the exciting games, food and music help but you are what make the day so special.  Your camaraderie and friendship elevate the RBVL to heights no other league enjoys. 

      DJ Tubs rocked the finals with the sounds of summer and played more requests than you could shake a fist at.  He peppered the music with scores and updates from all of the courts to keep the fans informed and he didn’t play the last song until darkness fell.  If you liked what you heard and are in need of a DJ drop the Tubridy’s an e-mail at timtubridy@hotmail.com.  Tell them the RBVL sent you.  Players also feasted on delicious sandwiches, bagel wheels, wraps and fruit while the action took place at Riis Park on a day without clouds or wind and in a very comfortable 81 degree temperature.  Many exclaimed, "It's the best day of the summer!"  Much better than 2005’s 99 degree debacle!  And a special thanks to one of our generous sponsors, Robin Shapiro Realty, who donated 24 cases of water to keep us hydrated all day.  It was a thoughtful and welcome gesture on their part. 

      In the Ocean division, the top players faced off, beginning with Mark’s Maintenance, Sullivan and Galleshaw and Freedhand’s winning easily over Coppersmith’s, Flip-Cup All-Stars and Jameson’s respectively.  The Sugar Bowl performed their annual operation on Casino Towing and eliminated them in four games.  Tommy D. reminded Rocky to start looking for accessories to go with his next year’s Wave uniform as it might finally be time for the Ancient Ones to step down.  S&G could not sustain their momentum and dropped their semi-final 2-3 (21-19 in the 5th) to Mark’s in one of the best matches of the year.  The Sugar Bowl also fought valiantly but fell to Freedhand’s in an equally well-played semi-final.  Freedhand’s was pushed to four games but won the championship once again.  Players are having trouble remembering the last time Freedhand’s did not win the title.  Can you say, “Dynasty?” 

      The Wave Division: The Big Mahooshkas swept the Blue Bungalow but Brooklyn Window and Door needed four games to edge the Federation as did McCarthy and Kelly over Healy’s Rat Pack.  In the closest first round match, the Wharf Rats survived 21-19 in the 5th over the Sand Spikers.  The Rats went another five in the second round but came up short 16-21 to the Mahooshkas.  McCarthy and Kelly breezed past Brooklyn Window and Door into the title game, which was one for the ages.  Momentum changed hands many times over the 100 minute marathon until the Mahooshkas won 22-20 in the 5th and deciding game.  Players fell to the ground in exhaustion when the last ball hit the sand but everyone on both sides of the net should be proud to have been a part of something very special.  By the way, what's a Mahooshka?  

      The Beach Division:  Four venerable squads went out in the first round when the Beach House lost in the fifth game to Connolly’s 21-15.  They joined the Belle Harbor Posse, It’s All Good Tees and the Sunrise Assisted Living Sharks, who made their usual early playoff exit. (Though not from the beach.)  Fourth seed, the Wave took out Sand-Bar Construction to advance against the second seed, Connolly’s, who finished off archrival and third seed, Bay House Babes 3-2.  The Wave completed their rapid rise through the lower divisions of the league with an impressive 12-17-21-15 thumping of Connolly’s for a well-deserved championship.  Look for them to rise up again next year.  .

      The Boardwalk Division: The RBVL’s most evenly matched division showed why in the first round.  It took five games before Boarders Surf Shop prevailed over Jameson’s Turtles 21-12, before Blackwater Cheese Fries downed the Brooklyn Transplants 21-14 and before One Win Away beat the Breakaways 21-3.  JG Electric had the easiest time, knocking off the Odd Couples 13-13-15.  In the semis, JG and One Win dispatched Boarders and Blackwater with solid four game wins.  The final was anticlimactic with JG dominating 9-13-8, providing a rare first year team champion.  Long after the balls stopped bouncing the Transplants (all of them) were serving mudslides (rated 10.0 on the Taste Scale) and other slushy drinks to anyone who stopped by.  And if you stayed around long enough you were invited to have some hot pizza, which they had delivered right to Riis Park.  Nobody does it better than these guys and gals.   

      The Sun Division:  Three of the four top teams advanced to the semi-finals, knocking out the Lobster House, the Pier 92 Piranha’s, A Night Out and Harbor Light.  In round two, Kerry Hills Pub and Sets on the Beach prevailed over Team Margarita and the Average Joes, respectively, setting up a final pitting a long-time veteran team against a rookie squad.  The veterans came out on top with the Kerry Hills sweeping to the title. 

      The Moon Division went pretty much according to form.  Regular season champ, Robin Shapiro Realty, the Coral Reefers, bhyc.com and Simon Says Sea Bar all moved on with victories in round one with the first two going the distance and the last two going the minimum.  Both semi-finals were tight but bhyc.com and Simon Says Sea Bar advanced in four.  Then bhyc.com needed the same number of games to win it all.  Last Call's last hoorah continued into the night at Hotwood’s World Class Resort.  The Beer Boy needed to keep the temperature under 100 since there is an oil crisis.  McGyver and his Blonde Bombshell were sorely missed but hopefully they enjoyed their trip to Puck Fair.  The girls of Last Call want to say thank you to Hotwood and the Hammer for outstanding play both on Saturday and all season.  You make us proud.  Busted Brown was far from Busted as he played with his heart and soul and he definitely is the team MVP.  Frankie D. pulled out early due to a plumbing emergency but was seen later trying out for the Russian women's volleyball team.  Zsa Zsa is requesting open auditions for a nicer looking beer boy, maybe someone with hair and a tight body.  Last but not least, Last Call would like to thank their biggest fans who come every week, our children, Augie, Connor, Kara, Summer, Daisy, Gaby, T.T., Aidan, Meagan, Kieran and Jennie.   

      Eight teams did not make the playoffs but many of their players showed up to take part in the festivities, proving once again that everyone wins in the RBVL.  Many could be seen playing grudge matches when courts opened up after the first round.  That’s the spirit.  Although they finished 9th the Breakers might win a championship yet as they are still in the running for the Best Party Team award.  They arrived at the playoffs at 10:30 AM even though they weren’t playing and pitched their tent right near the Ocean division nets.  Soon they were watching a game with which they were not familiar.  It included bumping, setting, digging and spiking, in short, real volleyball.  With their spiritual leader, Rob “Rudy” McHale, out of retirement they can’t wait to put what they learned into action next year.  (Hopefully, Rudy won’t be traded.)  The Breakers want to thank the well-oiled machine known as the RBVL Committee for pulling this off every year.  There is nothing that contributes more to creating a sense of community than this league; it is a wonderful experience that truly brings us all together.   

      Let's recap a few of the things we learned on Saturday.   After winning the championship in the top division once again, Bernie asked if Freedhand’s could “Move up.”  The league will try to accommodate them and move them up to the boardwalk but unfortunately they will have to play with themselves.  Once again, It’s All Good entered the Perimeter of Ignominy (POI), that special place for all of the teams that failed to live up to their competitive expectations.  When Cement Shoes was spotted on his way for a swim in the ocean at 11:00 AM, he was asked, “What about your next game?”  He replied, “My next game is May 20th, 2009.  Rocky and Joe lasted another 15 minutes and also are next scheduled for 5/20/09.  More and more people are following Dickie Flanagan’s lead by bringing emergency back-up coolers to the beach.  But do they have the super secret back-up to the back-up like the Zen master himself?  Missing from this year’s event was the guy sporting the pink chiffon evening gown with the pigeon in his hat.  Bobby Fash was the closest thing we had with his Panama hat and pink Hawaiian shirt.   

      The RBVL Awards Dinner will be held at the Lobster House @ 375 Beach 92nd St. on Friday, 9/12 from 7:30 PM to 12:00 AM.  The cost is $55 in advance, $60 at the door and includes an open bar, bottled beer and a Hawaiian luau buffet with music by DJ Tommy Tunes.  The dress code is casual and a Hawaiian luau really cries out for a Hawaiian shirt, don’t you think?  Captains are collecting money as we speak and the first 200 people will be confirmed.  In the past we have never had to turn anyone away but we have come very close.  With another expansion this season, the dinner promises to be booked solid.  Reserve your tables and get your money in early.  If you have any questions or want to secure an entire table, call Denise at 347-866-4570.  If you get her voice mail, make sure to leave a detailed message.  Continue to check our website (www.rbvl.com) for photos and stories in the upcoming weeks.  If you have any pictures you’d like to have posted, send them to sica@rbvl.com.  We expect to add photos from the playoffs as they come in.   

      Commissioner Patty would like to thank all who helped us on "Playoff Saturday", particularly Ryan Meade and Sean Morgan, who did a little bit of everything.  RBVL League Officials work very hard and try not to ask for help from RBVL players who are preparing to play ball but it's nice to know a few people were there when we needed them.  Thanks to all of our photographers.  You did a wonderful job and your work will be shown on the RBVL website shortly.  But the last and biggest thanks goes to two young ladies who worked all year with their mom’s and did an amazing amount of work, Caroline Brunner and Lauren Moule.  Keep up the good work!  The First Annual Pappy’s Traveling Circus Over 40 Senior Volleyball Tournament was held Wednesday and details will follow in next week’s article.  This experiment was a big success and promises to grow in the years to come.  We will not see you on the beach next Wednesday night but we hope to see you on the dance floor at the awards dinner on September 12th.