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RBVL Crowns 2014 Champions

more pictures 1                  more pictures 2

By Joe McGivney                   8/15/14

 

On Saturday, volleyballs flew all day on the sands of Riis Park as contestant’s fought for the fabled winner’s sweatshirts in the Rockaway Beach Volleyball League playoffs.  The weather was an ideal 84 degrees, sunny and virtually windless and the quality of play seemed to match the quality of the playing conditions.  Nine different division champions were crowned by day’s end and the mood was both festive and bittersweet as the 2014 season ended 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 as regularly anymore.  More than a few people were weepy!  Nets were available at 9:30 AM and a Rockaway miracle occurred – everyone showed up on time and set up the courts promptly, for the fourth year in a row.  At 10:30 AM, players were bumping, setting and spiking (and flubbing, fanning and whiffing) in heated playoff action.  People anticipate each and every Wednesday evening when they could put aside real life for a few hours of volleyball, a couple of cold beverages and an hour or two on the dance floor. Saturday’s tournament took that spirit to the highest level.  The people lucky enough to be in the RBVL know it doesn’t get any better than that.  Commissioner Patty Moule outdid herself again although she selflessly deflected credit to her committee of veterans Rocky, Steve, John and Joe and newbie’s Colleen, Mike and Liz for a job well done.  (And don’t forget retiree Denise still helping behind the scenes.)

 Thank you all for making the season a great success and making Saturday one of the RBVL's most spectacular playoff days ever.  Your camaraderie and friendship elevate the league to heights no other league enjoys.  As always, the exciting games, food (Kudos for the delicious sandwiches and wraps) and music help but you are what make the day so special.  Some sandwiches and watermelon were provided for lunch and Tom Tubridy spun great tunes all day.  Many folks know Tom’s work but most do not know he worked as the playoff DJ this year when the contracted DJ cancelled on Friday.  So besides doing a great job, he did a great job when the RBVL needed him most.  Don’t hesitate to call him for your next affair.

 

Gatemate.net stirred up the Ocean Division by upsetting the 2nd seed Freaky Tiki All Stars 21-17 in the 5th set and then eliminated 3rd seed Bryan’s Auto Accelerators while winning two overtime games to advance to the finals.  They took the first set from Freedhand’s 21-18 but their magic ride came to an end when Freedhand’s won the next three to clinch the title.  Freedhand’s had been on the ropes in the semi-finals down 2 sets to archrival West End Tents (formerly the Sugar Bowl) before digging deep to recover for the 3-2 victory.  In 2013 Freedhand’s won the title by winning nine straight sets and never yielding more than 13 points in any one game, total domination.  This time around it took a lot of hard work and perseverance and the games were much closer but any way you look at it they have now won 3 of the last 4 Ocean Division championships.  The Ocean Breeze Division was won by 2nd seed, Jameson’s, who never went to a 5th game and beat top seed Miley Home Improvement 17-17-14 to win it all, a solid performance.  In the first round, the Mighty Boosh upset Casa Bella 25-23 in the 5th set while Casino Auto Body beat long time rivals, the Federation, 21-19 in five.  Casino Auto Body and the Federation split 10 games during the regular season and have probably split the hundred or so games they have played lifetime in the league.  So why would Saturday’s playoff be any different?  It wasn’t.  And Joe didn’t have to play Bugsy’s recorded legendary pep talk from 2002.  However, he was shocked when CB left after the round one victory.  “Do you need gas and toll money?” Rocky cried out.  I thought Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were dead.

 

The Wave Division went according to form in round one with all four top seeds winning.  Round two went the same way pitting the top two squads, Pico and Cabana, against each other in the final match.  This was a rare rematch from 2013 and this time the results were reversed.  Pico dropped the first two games 11 and 18 and were behind in game 3.  Then Leo the D1 Mormon decided he would not lose anymore and he started pounding the ball like no one had ever seen in the Wave Division (and maybe the Ocean Division).  Pico won two overtime games and the decider 21-14 for the title.  Mr. Happy released George from his long term contract this off-season and he ended up getting a championship sweatshirt with Pico.  Great move, Steve.  Better move, George.   In the Beach, Diggin ‘n Swiggin became one of only three teams (along with Kobeyaki Got Kills and Bungalow Baranha’s) to need only 10 games to sweep through the playoffs.  They knocked off the once great Rincon Gringos, All American Hero’s and Notorious Uma’s Pumas to rise to the top.  And the once great Connolly’s franchise lost in five sets in the first round again.  Ouch.  Look for Mr. Happy to dump more good players to winning teams and sink lower into his ghastly volleyball abyss.  In the Boardwalk, Edison Place beat 4th seed Breakaways in four well played sets to take home the trophy.

 

RBVL poet laureate and former UB Buffalo Bison TBG was speechless when he heard that star player Alex G. had broken his finger and could not play volleyball.  Cement Shoes was in playoff mode Saturday and improved It’s All Good’s chances of winning by leaving the packed cooler in the car until after the tournament was over.  Preventing players from over-imbibing before noon always is always a good idea.  It’s All Good marched to the tune of, “Repeat the palindromic season,” trying to recreate another championship season like 2002.  How’d that work out?  Not so good.  And how many years are they going to use the same slogan?  Nosing out William J. Lachner Painters in 5 tough sets in round one was the good news of the day but then Kobeyaki Got Kills was the bad news.  They stomped on It’s All Good and Team Margarita for the Sun title.  So did the elder statesmen weep and leave the beach early after their loss?  No, no, my friends.  They cracked open the cooler, the backup cooler, the secret backup cooler and the battery powered music (post DJ) and enjoyed the best day of the year.  That’s right.  An informal survey by Dave and Dickie established that the best day of the year in America is RBVL Playoff Saturday.  Finishing second in the vote was Christmas followed by Groundhog Day and Arbor Day.  Of course, Joe and Cathy were standing by as usual as America’s designated drivers.  Their services are often needed at the end of the season.  Thanks to Eddie and Cathy for taking down several nets even though they didn’t even play Saturday.  Next year TBG will be handed the DJ’s microphone to say a few words.  His speech will go something like this, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth…”  Happy retirement, Big Guy.  Or did you retire in 2008?  And the Goldberg Boys are not yet being released to a higher division.  Uncle Cement Shoes still has a contract on his refrigerator that appears to have been signed in Goldberg blood and the kids cannot leave until they bring home a title.  Bugsy and crew say thanks again for a wonderful season.  The committee outdid itself.  Kirby, period.  And all Lachner’s losing manager, The Man Who Shall Not Be Named, could say was, “I am disappointed in my team.”  Newsflash – Disappointed or not, this kind of dull quote does not sell newspapers.  Snap out of it and start cracking.  Channel Billy Martin’s fiery soul.  Do something.

 

The Sun Ray Division went according to regular season form matching up the top two teams in the final match.  However, Simba’s Pride peaked at the right time and spanked the White Horse Tavern 21-17, 22-20, 11-21 and 21-13.  Last place team Boarders Surf Shop just missed eliminating Simba in round one losing 21-16 in the 5th set but then Simba settled down the rest of the way.  The Moon division saw IFMA’s and Bungalow Baranha’s both march dominantly to the title game.  There the friendly rivals battled fiercely with the Baranha’s coming out victorious, making them division champs and the top party team of 2014.  Break out the party scarves.  Wine with Sue Island surprised everyone and took home their coveted first ever title with victories over EZ Company, Rathbones and DisFUNctional.  That was a lot of hard work for the 4th seeded squad but they persevered.  Wine with Sue Island celebrated their championship and pointed out that Denise is still on the roster and eligible for her first championship sweatshirt.  Yippee!  Apparently Rathbones’ curfew on Friday night did not work out too well.  Over all, six #1 seeds, two #2 seeds and one #4 seed ended up taking titles, showing how important it is to finish high in the yearlong standings.  No 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th place teams won a championship.  The RBVL does not like to leave anyone home so the two teams who were eliminated from the playoffs were invited to play each other in the Fun Bowl.  However, Kiss My Ace could not make it (What would have happened if they made the playoffs?) and Kerry Hills won by default, taking home a case of Bud Light for their effort.

 

The beach was spotlessly clean at the end of the festivities and special thanks go to two groups, the Gateway maintenance and cleaning crew and you, the players.  Both would have made Felix Unger proud with their fastidious quest to leave behind a sparkling beach.  Well done.  Last Wednesday, Katelyn Stone lost a gold chain with a gold watch wedding band on it; it was her grandmother’s wedding ring.  Hopefully, someone finds it and returns it to the league or directly to her.  On Saturday, Kim Rutter lost a blue iPhone.  If you found it please call her on 718-945-2678.  Mary gets continued kudos for donating the “Rockaway Gliders” buckets which have helped us clean the beach each week.  And it really needs a lot of cleaning.  Special thanks go to Rita Mullally for her great support and assistance to the RBVL throughout the years.  Where was the ugly red carpet that replaced the concrete walkway as the league dance floor?  No dance floor, no dancing.  Last year we were praying for Billy C.’s health and this year we are saying congratulations on his team’s championship.  Is that the power of prayer or the power of spiking?  The AVP Pro Women’s Volleyball standings show April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings in first place.  That’s not a big surprise.  But 18th place is currently held by Dana Fiume and Hilary Pavels, who just happens to be one of our very own RBVL refs.  And to top off the family volleyball tree, her sister Melanie is playing beach volleyball for NCAA powerhouse Florida State.  Mom and dad, Rhonda and Eric, are quite proud. 

Many players and fans expressed their heartfelt thanks to Patty and her colleagues throughout the gorgeous day.  “I wait for this day all year."  “Every Monday I feel depressed and blah but thinking of Wednesday nights picks me right up."  “I can’t fathom how much work goes into a day like this."  “You and your team do a phenomenal job every year.”  “Look how many people are here today, all because of you and your team’s hard work."  “Look back to when you took over the league in 2001 with 19 teams and immediately expanded to 32 teams.  Now there are 74 teams and that is a huge achievement."  Patty and the RBVL committee would like to say, “Thank you,” to all the well-wishers for their kind words, hugs and kisses on Saturday and all along the way.  And thanks to all who helped out on "Playoff Saturday," reffing, tracking scores, updating the scoreboard and basically doing whatever was necessary to make the day run smoothly.  And a special thanks to two young ladies who worked all year with their parents and did an amazing amount of work, Caroline Gifford and Juliana Moule.  Well done!  Let the vacations begin.  Now that the season is over everyone should feel free to take a trip.

 

All of Rockaway is getting a bit verklempt just thinking about the season coming to end.  What the RBVL does for Rockaway is quite magical.  Just because the league is officially over doesn’t mean that the volleyball games must stop.  Action should continue around the beach for several more weeks. Don’t forget to check our website at www.rbvl.com.  You'll find a lot of playoff pictures shortly.  For 2015, opening day will be on Wednesday night 5/27 and the playoff Saturday will be on 8/8.  Please respond to all invitations to weddings, christenings, parties and car dealership openings on that date with a polite, “I can’t make it to your silly affair because I will be at Riis Park with a thousand of my friends from 10 AM to 10 PM having more fun than a barrel of monkeys.”  If you have any final thoughts or comments please call Patty Moule at 917-613-0908.  (Call between 10 AM and 9 PM.) 

 

See you on the beach 5/20/15 for RBVL practice night.