from www.brostadbotn.net

One of the best parts, well, probably the only good part about those miserable errands you have to do on your day off like going to the DMV (it’s official, everyone, the ol’ Dodge Caravan is registered in Colorado) is the sense of camaraderie you develop with the people sitting around you while your eyes glaze over as you stare at the screen waiting for your number to come up. It’s inevitable that you’re going to spend the greater part of an hour getting to know at least a couple other people with expired tags. Turns out, my friend Ashley’s neighbor Mike, was spending his morning off at the DMV as well, and after talking about comic books, tattoos, and med school, I was invited to play volleyball with him and his friends at the park.

I haven’t played a real game of volleyball since I was captain of my high school team, but Mike assured me it was very casual and any rustiness would wear off fairly quickly. We arrived at Harvard Gulch Park around 5:30 and I was introduced to Karen and Sevy, who were busy setting up the net and boundary line. We had some difficulty making sure the line made a rectangle and spent a few minutes discussing corner angles and peg rotations so that by the time Andrew and Grant showed up, we settled on a solid parallelogram for our boundary line. We broke up into teams of three, Mike, Sevy and Karen versus Andrew, Grant and me for a quick game before the rest of the players showed up. Our volley for serve turned into one team serving the ball straight to the grass on the other side and vice versa.

“If I could keep my blood pressure down below 80, that would be great,” said Andrew, as we watched the ball drop in the middle of our side. Then it was Mike’s turn to serve and he threw down a jump serve. So it’s that kind of casual volleyball game. As we played our warm-up game, I remembered drills from practice back in high school, like when the whole team would line up for wall-sits and pass the volleyball up and down the line, or our coach would stand on a ladder and spike balls at us to teach us how to dig, or when she would make us run and slide on our kneepads to make us not afraid to get on the ground. By the time we finished our game, another gal, Laura, had shown up, and we took a water break while we waited for an even number of players, which we got with the arrival of “Mitchapalooza.” We maneuvered teams a bit and Karen joined my team, while the two additions were on Mike’s team. Mike’s serves were on point and Mitch was set up for a hit. I went up to block and the mountain that was Mitch slammed the ball over the net so hard that the wind blew my hair back from my face. I staggered backwards from the net. “Oh yeah, we forgot to tell you about Mitch,” said Karen, and Mitch laughed, a cigarette dangling from his lips. We ended up getting our asses handed to us for two games, with me trying to get my high school groove back, Andrew learning the rules, Karen delivering beautiful sets to whoever could get to the ball, and Grant going after everything.

We decided to not get discouraged and we were setting ourselves up for a rematch when four more players showed up: Tyler, Ian, a guy in a suit whose name I didn’t catch, and Jen, whom everyone called “The Ringer,” and I still don’t know what that means. Our teams were now six on six, with Tyler and Lauren on my team, and I guess all we needed was a full court because our communication was excellent, our rotations were flawless, we were setting up for spikes and getting some raucous volleys going, all contributing to a well-deserved win. Dinner plans called for me to leave on a high note, but I’m definitely ready for a rematch next week. Anyone else want to play?

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