Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome to the Feminine World of Volleyball

I have to admit, I love watching volleyball. I used to want to play volleyball until I realized that running was my calling and that I didn't have enough reckless abandon to throw myself all over a hardwood floor like some of these volleyball players do. But still, watching the volleyball games in this Olympics has been a lot of fun, watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh frolic in the sand along with Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhauser. Indoor volleyball has been just as good, such as Tuesday's match between the USA and Italy, where the Americans won in a thrilling five sets.

But still, there's something really bothering me about volleyball. The hugging. After every. Single. Point. It's rather obnoxious. A high-five, fist bump, or slap on the back would be acceptable, but hugging after every single point whether you get the point or not? Overkill.

As one of my friends described it: "It's like, 'Hug, touch butts, arms around each other, don't touch butts this time, grabs heads, etc.' This is ridiculous."

I agree. We might as well tell the USA Men's Basketball team to hug and have a team meeting at the free throw line after every free throw, made or missed. I'm sure we all would love to see LeBron James and Chris Paul doing that 50 times a game. It's repetitive. Give them a high-five. Give them words of encouragement. Don't have a meeting every 20 seconds.

This brings me to another point. A lot of Olympians feel they must have their best manners to impress the Chinese. Not so for Martin Laciga. Now that man was a breathe of fresh air. He was little over the top with his antics and the commentators spent too much time harping on them, but I enjoyed them. Today most athletes are scared to yell at their teammates because of the bruising of egos and internal strife between in teams. When people go at each other on a baseball team or a basketball team, the team is regarded as being in chaos. Not so with the team of Laciga and Jan Schnider.

I would say that Laciga's way of, say, explaining Schinder's mistakes was not productive, but it was better than watching them touch each other's butts. It had a negative effect on the team and that was evidenced by their loss to Rogers and Dalhausser. But still, it was great to see someone of Laciga's intensity still out in the sport. His incessant yelling has had a negative effect on his career, but, hell, it was entertaining.

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