Pro Beach Volleyball on the Jersey ShoreThane Rosenbaum in The Huffington Post, June 25, 2010
The AVP NIVEA Tour (pro beach volleyball) comes to Belmar, New Jersey this weekend with qualifying matches beginning on Friday leading up to Sunday's men's and women's final.
Professional volleyball is one of the most fan-friendly and entertaining sports in America. There's the beach and the bodies and a high-octane athleticism that keeps the ball in the air and the bleachers rocking with all eyes on the match. (Well, there's also the bodies.)
The AVP Tour took a hiatus from Belmar last year after 16 earlier stops on the men's side and seven for the women. But it returns this weekend and features the best beach volleyball players in the nation.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor who missed last year's tour when she suffered an Achilles' tendon injury training for the TV show "Dancing with the Stars," has been making her comeback, but with a new partner, Nicole Branagh. (Her longtime partner, Kerri Walsh recently gave birth to her second child.) At the Tour opener in Fort Lauderdale, the new team won the tournament in blistering fashion without even losing a game in their six matches.
On the men's side Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers have already won two of the three AVP events played this season (the final was rained out in the fourth event).
Hitting the beach this weekend in Belmar will take on a whole new meaning as 64 men's and women's professional volleyball teams will take to the sand in the main draw for heart-stopping action and loads of family fun. Information can be found at: http://http://www.avp.com/Schedules-and-Tickets/Tournaments/2010-AVP-NIVEA-Tour/AVP-Tour-Belmar.aspx