Playing competitive beach volleyball: How old is too old?

This past weekend I played in a doubles beach volleyball tournament. Amazing right? It’s what I’d always dreamed of! Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved beach volleyball. Unfortunately, I live in the Midwest where there aren’t too many beaches, or low wind days, or beach volleyball players.

I spent so many hours begging, pleading my friends to give the sand a try. “You’ll love it,” I swore. Some tried and continued to play but most quit and went back to the indoor hardcourts, where the game is easier, more predictable and familiar.

gif-keyboard-8870400616303424519Not me though, I still kept trying. Year after year, at the end of every summer, I was upset that I didn’t get to play enough in the sand. Sounds like a child, I know. But it wasn’t the sandcastles I was after, it was the thrill of the game, the squishiness of the sand and let’s face it, I got to hit the ball a lot more.

Then something amazing happened, in December of 2015, an indoor sand volleyball facility was built. Just 25 minutes away from my house!

I created a Facebook group and endlessly promoted events. I’m helping grow the game in the Midwest because it wasn’t available for me in my teens and twenties. It’s an amazing opportunity for young volleyball players today.

We finally got a decent showing and regular crowd ready to play in the sand. One thing was a little off though. This regular crowd is at least 10 years younger than me. Any given day out on that indoor beach, I’m close to the oldest one in the group.

It’s an inner struggle each time I step onto the sandy court. Should I still be playing? Am I too old? How old is too old? I’m 34 and I can still play pretty well. Current AVP players are my age! Kerri Walsh is older than me! But these are just kids. I could be their mom (or a least their mom’s younger sister, the fun aunt?).

I remember playing with the old geezers (I’m sure they were like 30) and thinking that they were either too slow, too committed to old rulebooks or they wouldn’t let me play because I’m a woman.
too old
I think of those geezers when I step out onto the sand and look around. Innocent eyes, acne and french braids. I can’t help but feel like the old geezer.

But things have changed, or my perspective has. I’m not like those old geezers. Age is just a number. To me, it’s all in how you look at it… and how you behave. You’ll never catch me saying, “I’m too old for this or that.” At least not yet.

The moment we start playing, I’m the teacher. I’m the Todd Rogers. Yes. I am old among the crowd of budding volleyball players, but I’m still out there and I’m schooling them.

The time for my generation to rule the sand may have passed, but for now, I’m still Queen of the Beach.

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