2017-02-14 18:30:00 CEST
Read the second installment of Ben Saxton's Swatch Major Series blog
When I was first starting to play beach volleyball, the one thing that everybody knew was that the best teams come from either Brazil or the USA. When you look back at the history books, the majority of the all-time greats come from one or the other, with a few outsiders mixed in.
These days there are many more competitive countries, all with the ability to compete for podium positions, and I’m sure many future legends from all over the world, but at the Fort Lauderdale Major it was back to the days of old. A good old fashioned Brazil and USA show.
Brazil won the battle between the two this time around, with two gold and two silver medals, but overall the two countries took home five of the six medals up for grabs. They also held seven out of eight semifinal spots, and 12 of 16 in the quarterfinals (five American, seven Brazilian). Those sound like powerhouse numbers all over again.
Now seeing as I am from neither country, I have been and will be trying to break the mold and help the rest of the world catch up to the big two (specifically helping Canada, more specifically myself and Chaim. I’m selfish, get over it). That doesn’t stop me from having a large amount of respect for the greats of the game. Past, present, and future. Every athlete can remember a special moment where they met one of their heroes, and if they’re lucky (or stubborn) enough, they’ll get a chance to compete with them. I’m especially fortunate to be in the close-knit sport of beach volleyball where I can get up close and personal with all my heroes and even befriend many of them. I just have to do my best not to act like too much of a fanboy around them.
It’s been a little awkward receiving a bit more attention than I used to from volleyball fans, I still feel like there is a long way to go for that. Especially when I still see myself as that young kid who was so excited to meet Phil Dalhausser, or Ricardo Santos, or April Ross, Larissa Franca, Alison Cerutti, etc, etc, (All of whom were still showing off why they’re legends last weekend at the Swatch Major Series’ Fort Lauderdale Major).
Don’t even get me started on Kerri Walsh Jennings, by the way. She is timeless, and will probably still be playing (and dominating) beach volleyball until the next Ice Age. And those are just some of the American/Brazilian stars still in the game – the future young ballers will come onto the tour anxious to meet the likes of Ludwig/Walkenhorst, Samoilovs/Smedins, Nicolai/Lupo, and so many others (Saxton/Schalk are working on it, we’ll try to be more noteworthy next tournament). The game is so deep these days with such a large number of stars, that it’s very difficult to know exactly who will win in any given event.
So the Fort Lauderdale Major event may have been shades of the old school USA/Brazil dominance, but I can guarantee that this season will see its share of the new history being written, with pages set aside for the new powerhouse teams that continue to grow in number. It’s not a two-horse race anymore, the whole track is full. It’s a fun time to be a beach volleyball player/fanboy.
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