A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
Otherwise known as: The Aerobic Sport, The Multitaskers Game
Key Rules: At all times aim to get the ball over the net and on to the floor on the other side, and to do so, be ready to play an entire game based on the bio-mechanics of the burpee. Jump up, kneel down, jump up from kneeling down and push your arms into the air, do this more successfully than the team on the other side of the net, and yell ‘dig, spike, up and mine’ whilst you and five of your friends are doing your burpee moves together.
A Brief History…
William G. Morgan, the inventor of Volleyball, is also known as the World’s First Great Multitasker. In the 1890s, he was a busy man and didn’t have time to play all of his favourite sports, so he multitasked and created a game that was a combination of basketball, baseball, tennis and handball so he could do them all at once. Initially known as Mintonette, this name was changed after many of the initial players became upset that they neither received mints whilst playing the game nor were there any mints on the net to eat. After such a misleading misnomer, Volleyball was decided to be a much clearer description of what was going on.
When you break it down, it’s quite easy to see where most of the four ‘sports of inspiration’ are reflected. There is a broad tennis-like net separating the two sides of the court, the playing ball is large and round like a basketball, (although it weighs significantly less) and you tap and bat the ball to your team mates much like handball. Which leaves only baseball… it is here we must assume that in the early days of the game they sold hot dogs in the aisles of the stadium. Otherwise, I’m still buggered if I know where that comes into it.
Volleyball evolved over the twentieth century from its, albeit slightly confused, beginnings into a sport in its own right. In the 1930s those beach loving Californians adopted the game onto the sand, allowing a two person version to spring up and provide beach goers with an opportunity to flex their beach muscles in a socially appropriate way for all to admire. Volleyball then reached the sporting pinnacle of ratification by becoming an Olympic sport in 1964, with its sandier cousin joining it on the Olympic schedule in 1996.
It must be noted that unlike other sports, which often require women to wear restrictive clothing that prevents movement, the uniform requirements for Beach Volleyball at the Olympics provide the opportunity for women to move with as much freedom as their bikini wax will allow them, and then step straight off the sand and onto a swimwear catwalk. Sadly for the men, they are still being restricted by pieces of clothing that actually cover more than 15% of their anatomy. As we move towards a world of greater equality, there is hope that men too shall be able to enjoy the feeling of the wind whipping their butt cheeks as they propel themselves forward into a pile of sand very soon.
The Top Five Reasons You Should Play Volleyball
Reason One: You Will Become Very Good on Your Knees
Take a moment to think of all the things you do on your knees. Surprisingly, there are many strenuous activities that require a lot of balance, exertion and hand eye co-ordination in a kneeling position, often for prolonged periods of time. And becoming good at this takes practise. Thankfully, there is Volleyball to assist you in becoming adept at dropping to your knees swiftly and exerting yourself in a co-ordinated fashion when you have to dig the ball out so your team mates can set and spike it back over the net.
In turn, you will become great at strenuously scrubbing floors, dextrously cleaning up spills, reaching things under the fridge and kneeling down during Mass to pray for long periods of time. And let’s face it, you’re going to need to become good at praying after all those thoughts you first had when you read the opening line of this section…
Reason Two: You will become Parent of the Year
The one great staple of all parenting techniques is the infamous disciplinary tool, ‘I’m counting to three’. Renowned for its use in cultures around the world, the ‘I’m counting to three’ can be heard at dinner parties, playgrounds, shopping centres, retail outlets, carparks and in houses at all times of day from frustrated, tired, exasperated parents who need to gently persuade their offspring to listen and do what they’ve asked. So integral is this technique to our modern society, that its use is not just limited to children of the human variety. It is also widely used with members of the canine world, and unsurprisingly with about the same level of effectiveness as when it’s used on toddlers: very little.
Luckily, Volleyball is based almost entirely on this premise, as each time the ball is batted over the net it can only be touched/batted up to three times on that side before it is volleyed back to the opposite side of the net. Yes, an entire game based on practising counting to three… it’s almost as if the creator and World’s Greatest Multitasker William G. Morgan was actually a woman.
Reason Three: You Will Get Amazing Beach Muscles.
I have two words for you. Top. Gun.
When playing Volleyball, in addition to developing the most astonishing rippling six-pack you’ve ever seen, it will also become covered in baby oil, you will gain some dog tags, you will develop immaculate hair AND you will also find that you gain the ability to play in slow motion. You will also start to hear an inspirational 80s soundtrack playing whenever you approach a court.
You will also most probably meet Tom Cruise. He will look smoking hot in a tight white t-shirt, aviators and still be only 5’2.
Reason Four: Tigger was your favourite character in Winnie-the-Pooh
We all had that friend who was small and cute like Piglet, and the mopey friend who could never see the joy in life like Eeyore, and the cuddly smiling friend who loved sweet things just like Pooh. But when it came down to it, you were bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy fun just like Tigger. It is well known that Tiggers have heads made out of rubber and bottoms made out of springs which incidentally is the ideal body type for the game of Volleyball.
Watching Volleyball is like watching two teams of Tiggers throwing a ball back and forth. The ball flies over to one side and everyone jumps up and down on the spot waving their arms like Tigger. They then send the ball over to the other side and the other team start to jump up and down on the spot like Tigger. And if you’re wondering why you need a head made of rubber and a bottom made of springs, cast you eye over these Tiggers doing their thing…
Reason Five: You Get Bored at the Gym
At first lifting weights and running on the treadmill gave you a sense of empowerment and happiness amidst the streams of sweat pouring down your face. But after a few months of this you got bored of hanging out in a pool of your own bodily fluid and decided to try group classes, where you could bop around to music with other people also swimming about in their own pools of bodily fluid. Sure, everyone knows it’s more fun if you exercise with friends or in a group, and yes it was fun dancing along to music and waving your arms around for a while, but it was still missing that little something.
Balls. It was missing balls. Because there are simply not enough balls in the weights room or in your everyday pump class.
Dig this. Volleyball is the ultimate combination of gym exercises and aerobics classes with the added joy of balls. Who doesn’t enjoy pushing down into a deep squat and having a ball belted towards their face at 120km per hour? Or dropping to the ground to dig a ball out and rebounding back up from a push-up and into a jumping jack to spike a ball back over the net? And just think, if you play with enough balls on the sand, you might even find Tom Cruise.