Monday, March 16, 2009

"THE LAST KICK"

I play coed volleyball quite often on Thursday nights at the Harwich Community Center gym on Cape Cod. We generally get a pretty good crowd of people to play and set up two nets with a floor to ceiling divider in place between the two courts. We have teams of anywhere from four to six people per side depending on how many people show up each week. These games are open to the public and over the years the quality of play has improved.

The rules for volleyball have changed over the years. It is now permissible to have the ball hit the net while serving as long as the ball stays inbounds and reaches the other side of the net. In past years serving the ball and having the ball touch the net was a violation.

Another recent rule change was enacted to allow the volleyball players to use their feet and kick the volleyball before the ball hit the ground. We followed these rule changes until the famous "last kick".

A couple of winters ago I was playing volleyball one Thursday night. I was playing in the left corner of the back row. A fellow named Brian was in front of me at the net. He was wearing his glasses that night. The volleyball was hit over the net from the other side near me but low and near my left side. I didn't have enough time to reach the ball by diving for it so I decided to try to kick this ball with my left foot. As the ball was low to the ground I tried to elevate the ball so that the ball would have a chance to clear the approximately eight foot high net and land on the other side.

Brian in the front row was about ten feet away from me and turned around toward me with his hands at his side. I kicked the ball with some pretty good force and the ball struck Brian flush in his face. His glasses flew off and he went down to the ground as if he had been shot. All the playing stopped and everyone grew quite quiet.

Brian woozily got up. From then on there was no more kicking allowed at our volleyball nights. For weeks and months after this everyone who played volleyball would tell this story to people who weren't present the night of the "last kick".

I still get a kick out of playing volleyball. However after the "last kick" my kicks are now figurative and not literal..