Tuesday afternoon I went to watch Volleyball at Earls Court (not the beach variety, the fully clothed sort). Two matches, the first Italy against Argentina, and then USA against Germany. My seat was way up high in the gods, only a couple of rows from the very high back. The rows of empty seats that have been the cause of such controversy were well in evidence, but in the upper tiers we were packed in, and I was amongst a group of excited Italians.
Once again, I was witnessing a sport about which I’m fundamentally ignorant (OK, I’m basically ignorant about most sport) so it’s fair to say I didn’t always understand what I did see. Mostly I looked at the scoreboard to see who had won the points as it was rarely clear to me why, such was the speed of the ball.
Here’s a list of things I noticed and things which remain a mystery.
1. If you’re destined to be a volleyball player, can you decide to go the beach route or the gym route, or are they utterly different sports?
2. Why are there asymmetrical dotted lines on the play area?
4. How do they manage to achieve service speeds in excess of 110km/hr without a tennis racket?
5. Why do some members of the team have to stand in a square in the corner when play is on?
6. Is it strictly necessary for them to show off doing press-ups while they’re in the corner?
7. Why does one of each team appear to wear a different strip to the others?
8. Have they all got bad knees?
9. I think possibly my favourite bit was the synchronised floor sweeping carried out by the court staff, but what did you have to have done wrong to be given the job of being the person who has to run out with a little pad to wipe spots off the floor?
And what is it they’re wiping up; sweat? spit? bits?
It was quite compelling in parts, and the noise of the crowd was impressive at the moments of high excitement, and I did manage to capture some action.
This is two Argentinians off the ground at the same time – which bearing in mind just how far I was away from them, I find quite pleasing…….