In the beginning, it was all just fun and games. Nobody really kept score and they just made up the rules as they went along. I can still hear Mo speaking in a thick Moroccan accent telling me, “That’s not a real sport. That’s just a game for children and old dudes”. What I don’t think Mo realized at the time is that we had a whole bunch of old dudes that were ready, willing and able to act like children at the drop of a hat. The beauty (and the downfall) of the game was that if you had the ability to stand in one place for about an hour or so and at least fairly decent eye/hand coordination, you could be a water volleyball superstar. That is what made it so appealing to old dudes that had been highly competitive for most of their lives, but were starting to see their physical prowess begin to wane.
My mistake was not anticipating just how serious those dudes were going to take the game. I’ll never forget the day that I was walking out to the pool area to make my usual rounds of passing out drink chips, when I was confronted by an angry mob that resembled something from an old Frankenstein movie. It seems that there was a hotly contested dispute over whether or not a ball that hits the edge of the pool is in bounds or not.
I attempted to explain that water volleyball was just a fun activity for the tourists to enjoy and if they wanted to play a serious game they should head on over to the sand volleyball courts. That didn’t go over too well and just as the crowd began lighting up their torches and sharpening their pitchforks, my assistant, Bob, stepped out in front of me and in a way only a Canadian can, said, “Listen here now, fellas, I got an idea that just might fix this dilemma”. Bob went on to explain that he would put together a list of all the currently known rules and schedule a meeting where folks could make suggestions for additional rules and then vote on each one of them. He would then compile all those rules into a tidy little booklet to be distributed among the players. That was the break I was looking for, so I turned to Bob and said, “you’re in charge dude”.
We eventually had to put up a net and move the game to the indoor pool that was originally designed for water aerobics just to keep the players from terrorizing the tourists who would unknowingly stumble into the lions’ den just looking for a fun game to play. From there it progressed to league play, tournaments, and eventually the yearly event known as SplashFest. Nudism has never been the same.
Let me share with you the one thing that I believe I learned from this whole experience: Never underestimate the power of an old dude with a ball in his hand and a drink chip in his pocket.