I sort of fell off the Pro Beach Volleyball Rah-Rah wagon when the AVP went under a few years ago. With the best players opting to only compete internationally, it just wasn’t the alternative All-American sport that it had been in previous years.
The Manhattan Beach Open turned in to a snooze with a bunch of well-meaning unknowns trying to keep my interest. They were fine players but made me noddy. I longed for the excitement of Misty May, Kerri Walsh, Elaine Youngs, Nicole Branagh, Rachel Wacholder and, of course, Team Crackpot — Jen Kessy and April Ross. But ya couldn’t see them live and rarely on tv here in SoCal, the birthplace of the beach. Beach Volleyball wasn’t dead to me but it needed a good electro-jolt to get it moving again.
AND NOW THE LADIES OF SUMMER ARE BACK
But now that Kerri and Misty have taken their two matches and Jen Kessy and April Ross will mostly likely follow suit, my loinage is starting to quiver after a long hibernation. It’s not just the hotness factor, I do (unlike Fred Willard) have access to the internet.
The spirit of selfless competition that lacks in today’s pro sports is what gets me rising to my feet. First of all, the four are deeply grateful for where they are and all of their good fortune. Over the years Kerri and Misty have not played together much. Misty’s Dancing with the Stars injury has kept from really enjoying the sport. It seems like she finally has her old fire back. Kerri has played with numerous partners over the years. It’s good to see them together again with their trademark chemistry and winning smiles. They have their umpha back and are so much fun to watch. And I have missed that.
Team Crackpot (I named them that), Jen Kessy and April Ross, have been burning up beaches around the world ever since blowing the 2008 Olympics to Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh (what happened to them?). Back when they first partnered up, the women’s field was really tight. Davis-Johnson, Youngs-Branagh. whoever Rachel Wacholder was playing with, Angie Akers and of course the Darth Vaders of the sport Misty May and Kerri Walsh. They shouldn’t have won anything, but every week they got better until they were champions.
It is high time they got their limelight. Their publicist is working overtime and they have been getting some great press. However, it’s their spirit that is really the most charismatic thing about them. They work hard and despite #NBCFail attempting to create a story line about their last match (“Oh, I think they may be in trouble” — as they the sweep sets), there is no doubt that there will be the finals. April Ross was so overwhelmed (and maybe a little off) in their first match. But afterwards she talked about the great and large the crowd (even though they had been chanting “Argentina!” throughout the match) had been.
They are just so gracious and tough and sexy and smart.
And they’re BACK! Simply, it makes me happy. And yes, I am having a moment.