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Ocean – Kobeyaki Got Kills;

Ocean Breeze – Eh-Stay;

 Wave – FAM’s Breakaway’s;

Beach – Notorious D.I.G.’s;

Beach Breeze – The Melons;

Boardwalk – Bungalow Baranha’s;

Sun – White Horse Tavern Beach Posse;

Sun Ray – Rogers Irish Setters;

 Moon – Rathbones;


RBVL Playoff Extravaganza at Riis Park

By Joe McGivney                                                           8/18/17

 more pictures click here

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.  Rain fell through the night, stopping around 9 AM and the skies were gray and cloudy with no hint of a breeze anywhere.  Beachgoers groaned; volleyball players cheered.  The conditions were perfect and produced the highest levels of play throughout all ten divisions.  And no one was sent home with 3rd degree foot burns like in 2016.  Ten different division champions were crowned by day’s end and the mood was both festive and bittersweet as the 2017 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 seventh year in a row.  At 10:30 AM, play was under way with heated playoff action.  People anticipate each and every Wednesday evening when they can 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.  Thank you all for making the season a great success and making Saturday one of the RBVL's most spectacular playoff days ever.  Or, as we say, the best day in sports.  (Nosing out the Super Bowl, which is not too shabby, either.)  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. 



First, let’s list the champions and then we’ll tell their stories: Ocean – Kobeyaki Got Kills; Ocean Breeze – Eh-Stay; Wave – FAM’s Breakaway’s; Beach – Notorious D.I.G.’s; Beach Breeze – The Melons; Boardwalk – Bungalow Baranha’s; Sun – White Horse Tavern Beach Posse; Sun Ray – Rogers Irish Setters; Moon – Rathbones; Star – BILLY MACS.  The 4 higher seeds each won their first round matches in the Ocean Division but Bungalow Bar and Restaurant and Magee and Nine Others had to go 5 games to do so.  Magee did not fare as well in round 2, falling in game 5 this time to Kobeyaki.  Longtime finalist, Freedhand’s, took down Bungalow 3-1 to reach yet another championship game, where Kobeyaki triumphed 3-1.  Let's hear it for the girls.  Kobeyaki had an amazing day on the beach and especially noteworthy was their male/female mix.  They  played three women in each game, which is unheard of in the top division.  And two of the ladies are still in high school.  Caroline, Liz, Marina and Paris set an example for all the young girls who came out to watch and love the game of volleyball.  Keep up the hard work.  The Ocean Breeze Division played out according to seeding as JG Electric, the Mighty Crom, Eh-Stay and Diggin’ and Swiggin’ all won first round matches.  Then the first and third seeds won grueling matches and advanced to the championship where Eh-Stay whitewashed JG Electric 3-0 for the title.  This is a 3-peat victory for Team Eh-Stay, who has only been in the RBVL for 3 seasons. The team is comprised mostly of NYC PE teachers, coaches, athletes and family and friends. They won division 5 in their first season, won division 3 in their second season and now won division 2 (Ocean Breeze) this year.  Wow!  And they do it with three women on the court at all times. And sometimes more.  This year’s championship match was won with four ladies on the scene.  Has anyone else ever been victorious 3 years in a row?  Let us know.




Casino Auto Body put up the best first round fight in the Wave but ran out of gas, losing 3-2 to Kiss My Ace.  Conor McHale contributed to the win and isn’t it ironic that only a few short years ago he was getting pointers from Joe only to turn around and kick his butt on Saturday.  That’s how it goes in the wonderful world of volleyball.  All of the other top seeds won easily.  The top two teams faced off for the title when Pico beat the Sand Spikers and FAM’s Breakaway’s beat the Aces.  Although Pico had the biggest first place margin in the league, FAM’s took them out 3-1.  In the Beach, #1 seed Notorious D.I.G.’s did what a top seed is supposed to do – they won it all, finishing with a sweep of Rat Pack NYC and a 3-1 topping of ROCK FAM.  The Beach Breeze was one of  the closest divisions in the RBVL and the playoffs were topsy-turvy with the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th seeds winning the first round.  Top dog Kevin C. Buckley’s Sandstorms went up against 3rd seed the Melons but came back empty-handed.  The Melons swept to the title.  And there lies a story or two.  Beloved brother and uncle, Jim “Melon” Flanagan, passed away many years ago, inspiring the team’s name through captain Alex Goldberg.  There had been 8 to 10 Summer Classic basketball titles under his name but never a volleyball one.  Well now there is a big one and a sweatshirt to commemorate it.  Story #2 – RBVL legend, Cement Shoes Flanagan, tells reporter Joe McGivney this beautiful story on the beach and happens to mention that Jim died 28 years ago on January 15th.  Well, it just so happens that Joe’s beloved brother, Kevin “Hambone” McGivney, passed away 22 years ago on January 15th.  Maybe those two lost brothers connived in heaven to bring Joe and Dickie together on the beaches of Rockaway years ago and “Cement” their friendship forever.


The Boardwalk was one of the other closest divisions in the RBVL and the playoffs were also topsy-turvy with the 1st, 5th ,6th and 7th seeds winning the first round.  Then it got worse with the 5th and 6th place teams vying for the trophy.  The Bungalow Baranha’s won 3-0 over the Rockaway Gliders after winning each of the first two rounds by 3-1 scores.  The Sun Division was another tight regular season races this season, giving any of the teams a good chance of walking out winners.  Well who rose to the challenge?  Regular season runner-up, White Horse Tavern Beach Posse, that’s who.  To win it all, the White Horse beat It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere, IFMA’s and Simba’s Pride.  That’s real good work.  The Sun Ray Division teams were separated by only 8 points from first to seventh place over the entire season.  Rogers Irish Setters emerged victorious, beating Le Greann 3-1 in the final round.  I’m not counting but I think that’s two in a row for Rogers.  Start thinking Ocean division.  Rathbones got a bye in the Moon Division playoff and entered round two well rested enough to sweep the Social Yachties 3-0.  They were still fresh and rested in the title game and beat Borders Surf Shop 3-0.  They will attest to the importance of finishing in the top two of a six team division.  Byes help.  (Especially older players)  Rathbones Pub wins its second sweatshirt in 13 years and it wasn't an easy season though they held onto first place for all but one week of the regular season. The biggest credit goes to Lindsay DeBoer, who got the ok to play mid-season after being in a cast for an infuriating 10 months.  Then she came back with a vengeance.  Amy Breezwiser was the team MVP for the day with every serve on point and vicious returns. For all those who make this happen, Rathbones gives special thanks.  They have been knocking on the door the last few seasons and now they have kicked the door down in the Star Division.  BILLY MACS nosed out EZ Company 21-14 in the 5th game to win the championship.  The late Billy Mac was watching over his team all day.  This one's for you Bill.  Big props to EZ Company for a hard fought battle for 5 tough games.  And now the sweatshirts that were lost in Sandy will be replaced.  Over all, three #1 seeds, three #2 seeds, two #3 seeds,  a number 5 and a number 6 ended up taking titles, showing it is important it is to finish high in the yearlong standings but not essential.  No 7th and 8th place teams won a championship. 


Some sandwiches, wraps and watermelon were provided for lunch and DJ Kuff provided fantastic beach music all day.  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.  Caroline Gifford moved on from her annual job of keeping scores, filling in brackets, scheduling refs, answering questions and keeping things running smoothly the entire day for everyone playing in the tournament.  Now she is trying to win Mr. Happy a championship and she is busy playing.  (Good luck.)  So, what happens?  Bridget Donnelly steps in and does it all.  And with a smile, to boot.  Well done!  ( BTW she is only 13 years old.)  Patty was at a loss when the food arrived, without RR (Retired Rocky), so DJ Kuff called for help and a group of very distinguished (aka of a certain age) men  quickly arrived to help and only one young guy.  Several ladies offered to hurl the food down but Patty sent them on prep duty.  Thanks to Tracey and Jacqueline for getting things started and a big thanks to Sharon from The Odd Couples who stayed for quite a long time to help keep the food rolling.  Kudos to Madeline from Casino for skillfully keeping the food going for the whole afternoon.  It was much appreciated and didn't go unnoticed.  Beach Bagels and Mohamed’s team provided plentiful and delicious food and the watermelon was perfect.  Thanks to our new President Steve Gifford for doing an outstanding job this year, despite many problematic issues constantly  arriving.  He handled it with grace and spunk and even seemed Happy.  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.  The only misstep was that a few teams bagged their garbage but left it down along the wall on the beach.  Next year, bring it up to the flagpole so the sanitation crew can see it and cart it away.  Thanks to all of the players who took down nets and returned them, whether they played on those courts or not.  Your cooperation and assistance made the take down and lock up go as smoothly as any past year.  The RBVL Committee would like to thank all the refs for their hard work this season.  If you are interested in returning to ref next season, be sure to look at www.RBVL.com in the spring and submit your availability form early.  Thank you again and best wishes. – Colleen 


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 2018, opening day will be on Wednesday night 5/30 and the playoff Saturday will be on 8/11.  (How do we know?  We look at an old-fashioned paper calendar and mark the dates off.)  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.”   The RBVL winter meeting is presently scheduled for Thursday 3/22 at Jameson’s Pub.  That’s the day you bring your roster and money and sign up for the 2018 season.  There you go, 7 months and 4 days notice.  Mark Healy is quite busy editing the Rockaway Wave but he made time to visit the RBVL at Riis Park on Saturday for the playoffs.  And he was very impressed by the volleyball spectacle.  He also took his camera to the beach and snapped many photos that you will see in the Wave and on our website, www.rbvl.com.  Thank you, Mark.  And thanks to Maria Perez for her work this season as a cub reporter and master photographer.  We hope to see you again next year.  If you have any final thoughts or comments please contact Steve Gifford via e-mail at irvman331@verizon.net.  


See you on the beach for practice night 5/23/18 and opening day 5/30/18!