2002 Mid-Season Update
The 2002 AVP Season is underway, in fact, the season is over halfway finished. The 2002 season consists of six regular season tournaments and one end of season tournament for the top regular season finishers. To this point four tournaments have been played with four different winners of each tournament. Parity is definitely the name of the game in the men's field. Congratulations to New Jersey winners Ceman/Whitmarsh for winning after almost two years of knocking on the door with no reply. The annual Mike Whitmarsh retirement talk is going again this year and seems to be more serious this time. At any rate he is obviously still in great shape and capable of playing fantastic volleyball. Karch Kiraly also made a return to the winners circle in his hometown of Santa Barbara after battling a couple of seasons of injuries. In Santa Barbara Karch put on a defensive clinic, virtually digging Eric Foinoimoina off the court in the finals. Other winners this season have been Al Hanneman/Jeff Nygaard in Hermosa in one of the most exciting tour finals in quite some time and Fonoi/Holdren in the season opener.
The look and feel of the 2002 tour is much the same as last season. Last season saw the wholesale change in the rules of the sport as well as the change in AVP management. The presentation and site set-up of the tour is much improved as management has had a year of experience under its belt and much more time to prepare than last season. As far as the rules go everything has remained pretty much the same from last season. The ball is a slightly different yellow and white version of last year's all white ball.
The only other change of note is teams change sides of the court on multiples of 7 (last year was 10). This has made for some comical moments of trying to figure out if a score of 24-23, for example, is divisible by 7 or not. I have seen entire side changes missed including one particularly funny moment last week in New Jersey. I was watching David Fischer's (a very bright Stanford grad) losers bracket match as we were scheduled to play on the same court when they were finished. Fischer/Ratledge enjoyed a commanding 19-15 lead(game to 21)on the bad side as Jim Walls went back to serve. Walls aced for 19-16 which is a side change but neither Fischer/Ratledge or the ref crew detected it. Walls and partner continued to contentedly bang serves into the wind from the good side and actually took the lead at 21-20 before the 21 all side switch was made. Fischer went on to get the win and we all had a good chuckle about it when the match was over and we alerted him to the missed change.
West coast fans as well as east coast fans with satellite radio can also enjoy the weekly AVP tour radio hour on KMPC 1540 AM. It is on every thursday night at 7pm and is expertly hosted by the voice of the AVP, Chris Mcgee. I reccomend listening as it is always entertaining.
Finally, I will share the details of my personal season to this point (it is my website after all). Not much super exciting to report on this front. I have won 2 tour level matches thus far for a record of 2 wins and 8 losses.
In comparison to last years record to this point in the season (9 wins, 8 losses) it is obviously a bit depressing as I had hoped to improve upon that standing. Instead I have drifted into a volleyball hell of sorts. I guess I should count my blessings as my partner from last season, John Anselmo, has yet to taste the thrill of a tour win. I suppose it could be worse. An early season partnership with Leland Quinn did not work out leading me to switch to youngster Dan Fisher. I am excited about playing in the future with Dan as I believe his skills complement mine very well and with more time together I think we can be a good team. Finally, I would like to give a special shout out to Stein Metzger. He asked at New Jersey if I had been writing about him on the site. I told him no I hadn't but I would throw him in there next opportunity I had. Aloha Stein und bis zu dem nächst everybody,
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