One gray winter morning in 1997, about this time of year, I was working on the old Federal Building in Balboa Park. We were beginning the demo for the new Hall of Champions project. As the demo crew started dismantling the floor system, I was given the task of saving the best of the tongue-and-groove hardwood court.
The 1984 and 1988 gold-medal Olympic volleyball team used to train there. I found jump charts and names (Kiraly, Timmons, Waldie), some jumps over 11 feet. I found the gauge, an L-shaped bracket with one-inch leather strips hanging down in one-half-inch graduations.
In 1996, beach volleyball became an Olympic sport. That year, the U.S. Beach Volleyball men’s team took gold (Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes) and silver (Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh). Today, finding a spot in a pickup game or joining a beach-volleyball league is easy.
There are 2x2 and 4x4 games to be found at most beaches. South Mission has several courts and one group is there most often: the San Diego Beach Volleyball League. They offer youth volleyball, lessons, and league play (men’s, women’s, and co-ed) and have several teams signed up for each seven-week session. You can see the 4x4 co-ed group playing South Mission on Sundays between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon or find them online at sdbvl.com.