It’s not the droopy-net volleyball you remember from high school gym class. Rumor about town had it that Gay Games Chicago volleyball was one of the most serious and competitive sports at the Games. That’s just the way RealJock likes it. With that in mind, we hiked out to Navy Pier to watch some V-ball in the huge hangar-like space that Gay Games organizers had set up for the week.
Good thing we listened to those rumors. Inside, we watched team after team play hardcore matches, while spectators watched intently and cheered from the long row of bleachers. While not as popular as its more torso-revealing cousin beach volleyball, indoor volleyball draws some intensely loyal fans, who speak the volleyball lingo and seem to know who’s who on the different teams. Surprised and impressed? We were.
One match in particular drew our eyethe quarterfinal game between the Los Angeles Hollywoodies and the Sydney Schoupa. Watching these two teams walk out to begin play, we immediately put our bets on the Schoupa; after all, with several hulking Brazilians and Aussies on the team, a lot of rangy muscles and calves to die for, and an average height of at least six feet, they seemed destined to destroy the Hollywoodies, a rag-tag group of smaller guys who we thought looked sweet but not really up to the challenge.
We couldn’t have been more wrong. The Hollywoodies rocked the court. Schoupa’s brute force couldn’t compare to the Hollywoodies’ nimble play; they seemed to work the court in unison as a single well-oiled engine, setting the ball for each other like superstars and then driving home point after point.
The Hollywoodies blew out the first game, and we expected them to do the same after the teams switched sides. However, the Schoupa huddled before they came back on, and something the captains said must have clicked, because they came out in the second game like the team we had thought they would be.
In the end, the Hollywoodies beat them again, but it was a much closer and more exciting match. After it ended, we took the opportunity to talk to both teams’ captains to learn more about their strategy and their goals for the volleyball semifinals. Read through our exclusive interviews on the following two pages, and of course enjoy the photos.