August 3rd, 2010
Washington Avenue Drinkery: Beach Volleyball via Parking Lot
Hanging out at a bar on a Sunday at 3PM isn’t my usual modus operandi, but when I found out that the Washington Avenue Drinkery was hosting a six week sand volleyball tournament in their parking lot, that all changed. Sand, sun and beer is a winning combination in my book and I’m always looking for ways to get some exercise that don’t involve a treadmill at the gym.
I first stopped in to the Drinkery (4115 Washington Ave.) during their opening week. I could appreciate the open layout and the collection of good local beers and cheap canned beers, but none of the finishing touches were in place. It was just another new bar on Washington that was trying to find it’s niche. Heading back there this past weekend, I found a bar that had grown into it’s own with a friendly crew of bartenders, good group of regulars and a bunch of people looking to play sand volleyball.
Even into the second week, WAD is still working out the kinks in the volleyball tournament. To be honest, I’m not really sure how the tourney works, I just know that if you win, you keep playing, which is good enough for me. A few of us showed up at 3:00PM and waited for the rest of our team. Upon arrival, we found out that our first game wouldn’t kick off until 4:20PM, so we proceeded to warm up with a few Tecate at the bar.
We made our way outside to scope out some of the competition and send a flurry of text messages to make sure that we could field a full team. Luckily, our first game didn’t end up starting until 4:45PM or so, which gave our stragglers a chance to get to the bar. Of course, we had a full compliment of guys, but no girls and it’s difficult to play coed volleyball without girls. Fortune smiled on us when three girls from the losing team before our time slot were gracious enough to join our quest for gold.
As we took our place on the sand, we tried to bump and set the ball to each other. The operative word is “tried.” We literally could not string together two passes without the ball going awry and hitting the sand. It looked like we were in for a long game, but a short afternoon. Once the whistle blew, we managed to shake off our volleyball cobwebs and strung together two pretty good games; dispatching our opponents. As we came off the court and retreated into the shade to catch our breath, we realized this meant we had to play again.
Before our second game even started, it was obvious that this wasn’t going to be a friendly match like our first game. As we took the court, we grabbed the side with the most shade and began to warm up. Our opponents had the same idea, only they were a step too slow. Then they decided that we should flip for it. When we weren’t going for that idea, they started to complain that they had already played against our girls. Before we knew it, they were crying to the organizers and had our match forfeited, but they decided to let us play one game anyway.
It was all kinds of confusing for us. We went from our first game, where they were begging us to just find any girls so we could play, to forfeiting the next because the girls who agreed to play with us were technically on another team. I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t get it now.
Here’s the thing: it’s a bar tournament. There’s not a cash prize (or even a keg prize) and we’re not going to play our way onto the professional beach volleyball circuit. Just shut up and play. Win, lose, draw, plague of locusts… everybody is out there to have a good time, hang out with friends, make some new ones and work on their tan. I’m not going to lie and say that people on our team don’t take our sports seriously, believe me, we do, but not to the point where we’re going to argue the house rules, talk shit to our opposition or ruin the event for another team. Unless you start it, of course.
All in all, if you’re looking for a laid back environment on a sunny Sunday afternoon to hang out with mostly chill people who are enjoying some sand volleyball, the Drinkery is your place. In just the first two weeks, they’ve managed to make it into more of an event. With friends coming out to cheer on the teams, jello shots and jager girls, it’s not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Just don’t expect to escape without getting covered in sand. I managed to bring my own beach home with me.