Time Heals All Wounds in Beach Volleyball

By Leo Keegan

June 26th, 2016. Was it just another day for beach volleyball?

Before we answer that, let’s flashback to April 2th, 1995. It was the start of a 3-year period in which Sinjin Smith did not play an AVP tournament. One significant factor was Sinjin was working to grow beach volleyball internationally, playing and supporting the FIVB. And because of that, Sinjin Smith was persona non grata on the AVP. Imagine that, the most influential male beach volleyball player of all time was not playing on US soil.

But time heals all wounds, and on August 24th 2001 at the Manhattan Beach Open Sinjin was celebrated as one of the game’s greatest players of all time as he played in his last AVP tournament (finishing 9th) and retired. All of the past tension and conflict was just that — in the past.

How many more fans would beach volleyball have if Sinjin had played in AVP tournaments during those years between 1995 and 1998? How many more battles between Randy Stoklos, his former partner, and Sinjin would have taken place? Would Randy and Sinjin have re-joined as a team? There is no answer to these questions. But one thing is for sure: If Sinjin had played on the AVP during those years it would have had a positive impact on the AVP tour and the growth of the game in the USA.

So. June 26th, 2016. Was it just another day nearly 4 years ago? Well, not really. On June 26th, 2016 Kerri Walsh Jennings played in her last AVP tournament. Kerri played in three AVP tournaments that year, all with April Ross, winning all three: Huntington Beach, New York, and San Francisco. In San Francisco Kerri and April put a beat down on Kelly Claes and Sarah Hughes beating them in the finals 21-17, 21-13.

Imagine that. Kerri Walsh, arguably one of the most influential female players of all time, has been away longer from the AVP tour than Sinjin was away from the AVP tour in the nineties. beach volleyball champions

And since Kerri is not playing on the AVP, her current partner, Brooke Sweat, one of the best defenders in the USA, plays very little on the AVP tour. The AVP Women’s events are already super deep due to the huge growth of NCAA Beach Volleyball; now imagine adding these two to the mix.

At some point in the future, Kerri and the AVP will mend fences. It could be long after Kerri’s playing days are done, or it could be tomorrow. One thing is for sure, though, when it does happen, Kerri’s presence will have a positive impact on the AVP tour, a positive impact on growth of the game in the USA, and a positive impact on Kerri. 

So why not now!?

Time heals all wounds. 

GETTING BACK UP
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” ~Vince Lombardi

Sara Hughes was knocked down, and like a champion she has stood back up. Hughes, the greatest player of her generation, was on the top of the world in 2016 and 2017, when along with Kelly Claes she led her USC team to back to back NCAA championships, and her first AVP win, had a tough 2019. In 2019 Summer Ross injured her back, putting their Olympic dreams on hold. 

In order to keep going, Sara played with various partners on the AVP and FIVB. On the AVP she played with Brandie Wiklerson in Manhattan Beach and Chicago, finishing 3rd in both. In Hawaii she played with Allie Wheeler and finished 9th. On the FIVB she played with Terese Cannon in Chetumal in November and finished 25th. But in February Sara partnered with Lauren Fendrick and won the FIVB 2-Star in Siem Reap Cambodia (check out the finals here: Siem Reap Finals). Sara is back!

Let’s hope summer will be back soon, as well!

UPCOMING 3-STAR AND ABOVE FIVB TOURNAMENTS 

The corona virus has caused the cancellation of several FIVB events. Below is the list of remaining 3-Star and above tournaments (9 left in qualification period.).

DATESTOURNAMENTGENDERPURSE
Mar 3-7Bandar Abbas Three Star, Iran (postponed)MUS$75,000
Mar 9-13Katara Beach Volleyball Cup Doha 2020, QatarMUS$150,000
Mar 18-22Coolangatta Three Star, AustraliaBOTHUS$75,000
Mar 25-29Cancun Four Star, MexicoBOTHUS$150,000
Apr 15-19Singapore Beach Open 2020, Singapore (cancelled)BOTHUS$150,000
Apr 22-26Yangzhou Four Star, China (postponed)BOTHUS$150,000
Apr 29-May 3Siming Four Star, China (cancelled)BOTHUS$150,000
May 6-10Itapema Four Star, BrazilBOTHUS$150,000
May 6-10Jurmala Three Star, LatviaBOTHUS$75,000
May 20-24Ostrava Four Star, Czech RepublicBOTHUS$150,000
May 27-31Warsaw Four Star, PolandBOTHUS$150,000
Jun 3-7Moscow Four Star, RussiaBOTHUS$150,000
Jun 10-14Rome Five Star, ItalyBOTHUS$300,000

 

 

UPCOMING AVP TOURNAMENTS 

And for reference the 2020 AVP schedule is below.

DATESTOURNAMENT
Apr 30-May 3Huntington Beach Open
May 14-17Austin Open
Jun 4-7Gold Series NYC Open, New York
Jun 18-21Seattle Open
Jul 23-26Hermosa Beach Open
Aug 13-16Gold Series Manhattan Beach Open
Sep 3-6Gold Series Championships, Chicago
Sep 17-20Hawaii Open, Waikiki

See you on the Beach,

Leo

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