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Opening Day Blow Out for RBVL

By John Sica and Joe McGivney                                5/29/15


The Rockaway Beach Volleyball League tried to kick off the 2015 season Wednesday night at Riis Park with an opening night that featured 76 teams, a new league record.  Ten divisions of different levels of play readied to battle on the beach after the long cold off-season.  But then the wind speeds approached 25 knots making conditions virtually unplayable.  “We were born before the wind,” sang Van Morrison.  His opening line of “Into the Mystic” had had a special meaning this week for many reasons.  The least of which was because if that line is true Rockaway was born later than that song came out.  Committee members huddled at 6 PM to vote on what should be done as the sand was blowing across the landscape like a bad desert movie.

 League policy dictates that the decision will not be made until 6:30 PM because weather changes quickly on the peninsula.  Plus, every cancellation in the past was based on lightning storms which could be violent at 6 PM but could be replaced by a rainbow and sunshine minutes later.  In an unprecedented move, the RBVL Committee was forced to cancel play because of a wind that was ferocious coming out of the south, the north, the east and the west.  Most players believe it is the first time that has occurred in league history but old salts Rocky and Nancy are certain it happened once before many years ago.  Either way, the entire league was very disappointed that the long awaited opening day of volleyball was postponed until next week. 

Had play gone on, anyone who could get a serve in would have probably have won 21-0.  You know conditions were bad when Richie Whalen was glad it was cancelled.  Katelyn and Tara were the only Piranha’s to blow into Rogers for some delicious pizza with a variety of toppings from Ciro’s.  Yes, that’s the Ciro’s on 116th street.  Ciro’s is to Rockaway, what Ray’s is to Manhattan for you hipsters who are passing through until you get replaced by the Yuppies.  Gene was happy since the Rogers Irish Setters are going into week two undefeated.  Sean Muldoon was unhappy as the Rincon Gringos had the same result as last year’s first week, no wins.  Mary Bruns and Norah drowned their sorrows in the Tiki with new teammate Lauriya and old friend Danielle Ford.  The Human Quote Machine, TBG, summed up the evening, “Which hip am I having replaced?  I forget week to week.”  Something I have to ask all league members. All sponsors pay the same fee for their team to get in the league.  Knowing that this week was unusual with the wind cancellation, that aside, Rogers has hosted the first week for the past four years and attendance is always lighter than usual.  With the free food, old and new friends hanging out, stopping by for some free food and purchasing a beer or two is not too much to ask. And Rogers has the most professional bartender in Rockaway in Brendan.  Not to mention a great jukebox and sound system.  But the best part of Rogers is the two door system which offers an escape from uncomfortable situations. Enough said.  Support our sponsors. 

The 2015 season will feature some new team names and several new sponsors.  Welcome to all and to any new players as well.  The RBVL is happy to have you onboard.  We’ll see you at Riis Park every Wednesday until 8/8.  On Saturday, 8/8, the league championships will be played, starting in the morning and running through until the afternoon, when ten champs will be crowned.  Then the real fun begins as teams try to outdo each other, partying late into the night.  The first night back on the beach ran smoothly with the help of many players, young and old, who pitched in wherever it was needed.   That’s the kind of cooperation that makes the league great.  Thank you for getting off on the right foot and keep up the good work.  We need that assistance weekly.  Players were reminded again of three rules that will be enforced this year at every level of play without exception:

1. ALL net violations must be called – no exceptions

2. NO underhand lift or reverse underhand throws are allowed

3. NO reaching over the net to interfere with a ball unless your opponent is directing the ball to your side of the court.

For those players who think that this results in too many whistles and say, “We just want to play,” get used to it.  Remember, we all just want to play - - - volleyball!  Not jungle ball! 


In 1998, I was transferred as an NYPD sergeant to the Movie TV Unit, which oversees the burgeoning business of Hollywood in New York. During my first week a young cop who came up to me and asked me if it was okay to bring his guitar to work.  He said, “I play a little and want to get good at it for when I retire.”  He was a lover of music; his name was Brian Monaghan.  Of course he played, and played and played.  He was a good cop, and he became a great guitar player and singer.  He knew everyone and remembered what music they liked.  And he would play your favorite song or artist because he knew it.  He knew everyone, from Bay Ridge to Ireland, from Rockaway to Rincon, Puerto Rico, from Long Beach to Manhattan.  He knew everyone and everyone knew him.  And they loved him.  Unfortunately, Brian passed away unexpectedly last week and we miss him.  He meant a lot to the Rockaway community.  He played Thursday nights at the Harbor Light and performed regularly at the Irish Circle, the Wharf, the Bungalow Bar, the Playland Motel and other Rockaway bars.  Every year he played the big party at the St. Patrick’s Day parade on 116th Street during the day and the Belle Harbor Yacht Club at night.  There are probably hundreds of Rockaway and Breezy families that had him perform at their birthdays, graduations, communions, Christenings, or just their back yard BBQ’s. He played in bars in Manhattan on Stone Street, in Chelsea, Gramercy Park, Downtown, Midtown and Uptown.  He played in all the Bay Ridge bars, in Ireland, in Rincon and, of course, his home town of Long Beach.  He played classic rock and loved the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, the Allman Brothers and old and new Irish music.  When I first met him he knew a total of ten songs.  When he stopped by my Tiki Bar this past March, he played hours for my family and friends.  By then he knew thousands of songs.  He was good to young musicians, encouraging them and getting them gigs to help start their careers.  But the most important thing to Brian was his family, his wife Jenny, and the kids.  That was what it was all about to him, and his love and strength will live on through them and all of us that he touched.  Rest in peace, our good friend


After the 2014 summer season ended volleyball was still played indoors around the country.  Of note, freshman Alex Moule of the RBVL (and Patty and Simon’s son) at Lasell College, in Newton, MA, helped the Lasell Lazers win for the first time ever, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Volleyball championship, in Nashua, New Hampshire.  After honing his skills playing club ball and in the RBVL at Riis Park since he was 14 years old, Alex was able to win the starting Libero position for the Lasell Lasers.  During the 2015 NCAA volleyball season Lasell was able to beat nationally ranked squads from Rivier, Wentworth and MIT, culminating in a 3-2 road victory on 4/11/15 to clinch the GNAC Volleyball championship.  With his play in the tournament and championship, Alex earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team and helped his team qualify for the Big Dance, the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.  Adding to the family volleyball achievements, Alex’s sister and fellow RBVL teammate, Lauren Moule, won the NYC Public High School “B” Division Volleyball City Championship in January 2015 as a Sophomore setter at Leon M. Goldstein High School.  Finally, before every Lasell game begins, the starting teams are announced and Alex is introduced as a “Freshman, starting Libero from Rockaway Beach, NY,” a great way to represent his home community.


During the off-season the RBVL lost a long-time member, Billy McDonnell, and our condolences and prayers go out to his family.  If you’d like to help out his family a fundraiser is being held at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club on Saturday, May 30th, from 7 PM to 11 PM.  $75 is the suggested donation.  The party will feature auction items, raffles, 50-50 drawing, food drinks and more.  To make a donation go online at www.graybeards.com or write a check payable to Graybeards Ltd. (Memo – McDonnell Children Fund).  Transportation will be provided from the Blarney Restaurant in Breezy Point to the BHYC.  For more information contact Ed Murray at ed@dfxinc.com or 201-206-6839.  Prior to the fundraiser a mass will be said at St. Francis De Sales Church at 5:30 PM.


Welcome back to all of the returning sponsors and to the newest sponsors of RBVL teams.  The league would not flourish without your financial support and is very grateful for your help.  RBVL players should consider using some of the many league sponsors for personal items.  After all, these businesses supported you when you needed them; why not return the favor and support them if you need services they provide.  Your league has become the place to be during the summer in Rockaway.  Remember that has happened primarily because of great camaraderie and sportsmanship more than great athletic play, although there is quite a bit of that, too.  On an administrative note, the RBVL has gone “green” and the Rules and 2015 Schedules are posted on the website.  This saves the printing of thousands of pages of copies.  Captains are reminded that they can have team items entered in the weekly Wave article by showing up at the sponsor bar or by e-mailing Joe at jmcgivney2@nyc.rr.com by 11 PM on Wednesday night.  Rosters are also waivers and must be signed by players the first week of the season.  For this reason and reasons of fair play, teams are not permitted to pick up players from the sidelines on nights they are shorthanded, not even if the opposing captain approves it.  If you need players for your roster, let us know what you need; there are many individual players looking to join the RBVL.  Captains who have handed in unsigned rosters must now get them signed.  SIGNED rosters must be in by week one (5/27) at the latest.  After the blowout make it week two.  There is still a 76 way tie for first place.  The RBVL has a Facebook page and, if you like it, you will receive timely updates, whoever you are, captain or not.  Your RBVL Committee members will be around each and every week to help out on any matters and answer your questions.  Witness Colleen and Patty dishing out the uniforms smoothly and efficiently Wednesday night.  If you have any questions please call Patty Moule at 917-613-0908.  (Call between 10 AM and 9 PM.) 


See you on the beach!