Pro Beach Volleyball in Coney Island
Life in New York City usually doesn’t call to mind a day at the beach. Yet, Manhattan is an island bordered by rivers with easy passageways to the Atlantic Ocean. Queens is an extension of the beaches of Long Island. And for four consecutive summers the AVP Crocs Tour has come to Coney Island for professional volleyball on Brooklyn’s most celebrated beach.
Yes, Coney Island is not merely the site of Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, or the home of the minor league baseball team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, named for the legendary rollercoaster, The Cyclone, which also gives competitive hot dog eaters a way to disgorge themselves of what otherwise can’t be digested, or the birthplace and grooming grounds for many celebrated NBA basketball players.
The carnival atmosphere of Coney Island, which once featured freak shows, now offers the exciting spectacle of pro beach volleyball, which is, arguably, the most fan-friendly and riveting sport to watch.
This weekend some of the world’s greatest beach volleyball players can be seen at the AVP Crocs Slam Lumber Liquidators Coney Island Open, presented by Kentucky Grilled Chicken.
The AVP was established in 1983 and is the only pro beach volleyball tour in the country. The total prize for each tournament is roughly $240,000, with tour stops through various cities–some relatively landlocked–including Manhattan Beach (sorry, the one on the Pacific), Hermosa Beach, San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Houston, Las Vegas, Glendale, and Panama City Beach, Florida.
Those who attended last year’s Brooklyn tournament were able to see eventual Gold Medal winners Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh tune up for the Olympics by winning the Coney Island leg of the AVP Crocs Tour.
This year some of the better women’s teams are away competing at the World Championships, but the tournament will nonetheless feature 64 teams, including, on the men’s side, top seeds John Hyden and Sean Scott, who have won the past two AVP Crocs Tour events, and John Mayer and Jeff Nygaard. The women’s side features Brooke Hanson and Lisa Rutledge, along with Jenny Johnson-Jordan and Annett Davis.
The Women’s Final is scheduled for 4:30 P.M. on Saturday, and the Men’s Final is scheduled for 4:30 P.M. on Sunday. For more information see: http://www.avp.com/Schedules-and-Tickets/Tournaments/2009-Crocs-Tour/AVP-Crocs-Tour-Coney-Island-Open.aspx/.
By Thane Rosenbaum