Friday, August 3, 2012

Heading to Rio in 2016, with a quick stop in Bermuda

My sister Peg, a high school English teacher from Ohio, came for a visit during her time off this summer.

This year, her trip coincided with the Summer Olympics. So in between road trips to Seattle, evenings on the river, and drives through the 100 valleys of the Umpqua, we’ve been watching a lot of Olympic events with the family.

The other night we watched the U.S. Beach Volleyball team of Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. There was one point where Misty dove to save a ball and missed, and I said, “I would have gotten that ball.”

After their win, the interviewer asked them both how they felt about being older. Kerri quickly said, “I’m 33 and Misty is 35, so I don’t think of us as old.”

“See?” I said to Peg. “It’s not too late for us. We could totally do this event in the 2016 games in Rio.” Granted, we are a little bit older, but still. Just last week we hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls. Yes, it took us two hours but WE DID IT. Plus, Peg played volleyball in grade school and I played three years in high school, so, you know, we know our way around a volleyball court.

What I’m trying to say is we’re qualified.

Never mind that we were sprawled out on a sectional couch eating a bowl of cherries during this conversation. We knew in our hearts we could be ready at go-time.

Our main concern quickly became the volleyball uniforms. They would have looked good on us in, say, 1985, but today … not so much.

However, after thorough research (Wikipedia), I found out that the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball allows female beach volleyball players the option of playing in shorts or a one-piece swimsuit. We’re going with the shorts option, and make them Bermuda shorts, thank you very much.

Seeing that we had only played indoor volleyball, I checked on the differences between indoor and beach volleyball. Here are some of the distinctions between the two, and my response to those differences.

1. Playing surface is sand rather than hard court. Well, growing up in Ohio, we are no strangers to sand because of all of the beaches…Okay, so we spent some time in sand BOXES, which totally count.

2. Team size is two rather than six, with no substitutions allowed. That’s okay; we don’t play well with others anyways.

3. Open-hand dinks are illegal and hand-setting standards are tighter in the beach game. I don’t even know what “open-hand dinks” are so we’re good.

4. Coaching during matches is not allowed. Which means you have to be quiet, Mom.

Now the distance between Ohio and Oregon could pose a problem for our training, seeing that we live 2,600 miles apart. But I’m pretty sure that if we commit ourselves to doing the Jane Fonda Workout video a MINIMUM of three times a week, we’ll just need a week or so together before the games in Rio to find our groove.

If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring us, let me know. After all, we’ll have more than enough clothes covering us, giving your logo plenty of air time.

And just FYI, Peg and I are big fans of Starbucks and Diet Pepsi, respectively, so send those sponsorship dollars our way.

After all, nothing says “athlete in training” like Starbucks and Diet Pepsi, right?


Eileen Burmeister lives and writes in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.


  1. Starting now, I'm saving all my empty Starbucks cups and Diet Pepsi tabs for y'all.
    Problem: I don't like either one of 'em. But since I'm an official certified coach with an Olympics (IOC)-affiliated organization (this is totally true), I can offer my services.
    Problem: I'm USATF Level One. (USA Track & Field.)
    No help to you in volleyball, although ostensibly I could coach you in throwing the discus or the shotput across the net.
    Problem: I got the mechanics/science of the throwing down, but got dizzy and nearly threw up during the hands-on clinic.
    But your story is inspirational, and, as usual, dang funny.
    I trust your training to Ms. Fonda and the caffeine.

  2. As always, I'm indebted to you for the wisdom you provide, Bernie.


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