Being honored as part of the home coming court would have been nice, but I didn’t even make the ballot. Although becoming king of a basketball court was a dream, this white man’s got no game. However, there was one place where I did shine for a season. Believe it or not, I was king of the sand volleyball court.
During my final 2 summers of college, I teamed up with a wrestler from Cleveland State University, Eddy Z. Whenever I wasn’t working at the country club or playing golf, I spent most of my free time on the old sand volleyball court at Geaugua Lake, now called Geaugua Lake’s Wildwater Kingdom. Sure, I had other hobbies like singing karaoke at Rick’s Cafe, dancing at one of the night clubs on the Flats in downtown Cleveland and traveling, yet sand volleyball became my passion.
After taking a volleyball class at the University of Delaware, I was able to rebuild strength in my surgically repaired ankle and extend my vertical jump beyond 30 inches. This knowledge was utilized as I played Wallyball in the winter, winning an intramural title on a coed team with Doug, Liz and Rosie; later losing to the men’s and women’s volleyball team in the finals of a co-ed March Madness style 32 team field. Despite having several flaws in my techniques, my will to win overcame these deficiencies.
Eddy was quick like lightning, able to dig or get to any ball in the fenced in arena, developed an amazing skyball serve and set the ball as good as anyone I have ever known. Meanwhile, I perfected a windmill serve, causing a fast downward motion, cupping my hand to create a knuckle ball affect. In the end, Eddy and I probably lost 3 matches in 2 years, beating teams from Ohio State, Miami of Ohio and Kent State on a regular basis. On 1 summer day, we played 8 straight hours, only stopping to drink water before dispatching the next team. Though we shared the court with other season pass members and visitors to Geaugua Lake, whenever I entered the gate, I felt like I was king of the court.
Now, old, mostly bald and grey, all I have are the memories of the music, the wave pool crashing next door and the cheers from the crowd after another point won. However, today, there is a new king. While, not exactly new, yet new to those who choose to follow Him. Despite the gifts or talents you have been given, without this king life is incomplete, John 10:10. May you come to know the true King of the Court, awestruck by his glory and wonder, Psalm 19:1-6.
by Jay Mankus