Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Volleyball weekend

For any Latvian (or many friends of Latvians), the words “volleyball weekend” or “4-2 weekend” mean two/three days of nonstop partying during the annual volleyball tournament at the Latvian Center Gaŗezers. The 4-2 refers to the ratio of males to females on each team, and over 20 6-person teams compete for the prestigious win of the tournament each year. With several brackets (the power bracket featuring college team-level players and then the “beer bracket” at the opposite end of the spectrum) and a youth tournament (up to 19) the first day, there is room for every skill and energy level. Growing up watching the games I thought everyone played as well as the athletes on the court Sunday night come semi-finals, and was shocked to find I could compete in high school despite only playing beer bracket on 4-2. At the top level of Latvian volleyball you might remember the London Olympics in 2012, when the men’s beach volleyball team of Pļaviņš and Šmēdiņš came from no recognition in the press to a victory over the top American team and a run to the semi-finals. (These two Latvians are currently winning tournaments and competitions across the world.) A Latvian was also a starter on the 1984 gold-medal winning American Olympic team; this weekend his sons played in the “power” bracket.

Mikus has developed a lifelong aversion to mascots after meeting the Dzelzs Vilks
Those not playing volleyball might participate in the Cook Associates- organized golf tournament with proceeds going to Gaŗezers, or in the East coast vs. Midwest soccer tournament. If not athletically inclined, one might spend the weekend watching the games, catching up with friends, soaking up the sun on the beach, going out in the boat or driving over to Three Rivers for a meal or supply run. We spent a large portion of our time on the beach, with friends and family stopping by for a chat or to join in the fun. For a few hours we crossed to the other side of the lake to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of my GVV (the Gaŗezers summer high school) graduation.

The good lookin' GVV class of '98
Years ago volleyball weekend was a perfect opportunity to get a picture of almost all the grandkids (on my side of the family), as the majority of 12 grandchildren were either working at the Latvian Center, or attending camp and summer high school there. These days it is slim pickings, and although we’ve acquired two “kids” through marriage and two great-grandchildren, almost half of our bunch was missing. Nevertheless, I present to you the mazbērnu bilde 2013!

Volleyball weekend also brought the closing picnic for bizbiz bērnu camp, and this proud mother watched Lauris’s first ever performance in what will no doubt be a long history of skits, graduations, campfires, recitals and concerts.

The most interesting event of the weekend for me might have been the unearthing of the SP time capsule. In true saimnieku puišu fashion nobody could remember exactly where the container had been buried, and the “nine paces from the tree marked with the old Dodge key” evolved into “nineteen drunken Daukšs paces” as additional beer cans were emptied. After an hour of fruitless digging the Kubota was brought in, but as the pit increased in size it soon became clear that a new strategy should be sought. Another two hours later the faithful struck paydirt, and a relieved crew of SPs celebrated the contents which I cannot reveal here; not only what happens at the vecais dump stays in the vecais dump, but I would hate to violate the SP code. Of course I might possibly have been the only SP who had to hurry back from the reunion to put the kids to bed…

And so the weekend ended, and Dzintari quickly emptied as people escaped the vortex to return to their “real” lives. We stayed on a few days to spend a few more hours with relatives, as well as recuperate from excessive… vortex-ing, and already the hours spent cheering on our favorites during finālspēles seem a distant memory. Time to start working on setting, bumping and spiking with Lauris and Mikus!

1 comment:

  1. Ar lepnumu varu lasīt, ka latvieši turās kopā. Un svin kopā, un atpūšas kopā. Ļoti patīk tā Jūsu vienotība! Malači!:)


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