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Billy’s ’08 US Open Blog

Once again Billy could not finish a blog entry. We asked him to write a simple one about The US Open of Beach Volleyball (which was like a month ago) but he says he started writing and it changed into something else. “I wanted to talk about life on the road, living cheap, experience vs comfort…,” and on and on he went. “We don’t care,” we said, “just get something done.” This he couldn’t do so we snatched his notebook up. We’re thinking about not giving it back this time. Again, the doodles are his.

Nearly midnight and we still hadn’t found a place to stay. Braidy (Halverson) and (Matt) Heagy were on their internet phones looking for open hotel rooms in Santa Barbara and I was in the back seat hoping they’d fail. Hotels are expensive and should be avoided at all costs. I didn’t know where we’d sleep but Braidy and I brought sleeping bags so we’d do better than Heagy.

Traveling this year, like every year, has been quite the adventure. You pay so much on airfare to get to a tournament, when it comes to a place to stay you look for the lowest bidder. If you can’t do worse than a hotel you have to make up for it by cramming 6 people in a room and cleaning out the continental breakfast of waffles, hard boiled eggs, frosted flakes, jam packets…(He goes on for 4 lines. You get the point.)

In Dallas, 9 players stayed with Austin Rester’s parents and ate way too much of their food. 3 of us stayed in the RV parked in their driveway.

For Boulder Braidy knew a girl who lived near the site. Great! But she was moving so the place was completely unfurnished. Still great! 5 of us spent the night on the floor.

In Boston last year we stayed at Ryan Cronin’s (AJ’s and Dan’s roommate) grandma’s house but got the boot the last night so after the tournament Dan (Madden/Kinda) and I tagged along with some people to a big party with no plans to leave. As it grew late Dan and I snuck into the downstairs music room. I squeezed in a corner between the wall and a drum set and Dan found some other floor space and we got a few hours in. The next morning we went upstairs, said a quick “bye” to the puzzled owner, and took off for the airport.

I’ve stayed in some interesting places in my 2 year career so I’m sure other players have better stories. I doubt Misty has ever slept beneath the drum set on a stranger’s floor, but there are probably a few others who have. Maybe even the same guy’s. I should ask some other players for good stories.

New Blog: Where AVP players have stayed on the road to save a couple bucks.

Uh Oh...

» Dave Fischer’s VolleyTrolley burns down» Dave Fischer exemplifies the cheap volleyball player. He drives to events across the country in a 1983 Air Stream RV known as the “Volley Trolley.” He makes stops at local events only he can find, such as a 3 person grass tournament in Bumpkin, Ohio. This summer his RV burned down leaving him homeless and shirtless. I probably shouldn’t mention that part in the blog because it’s kind of a downer. Life on the road is fun, fun, fun.

» Before making it big-time Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser used to stay on air mattresses in the player’s tents of Toyota tournaments or sleep in cars or park benches. Phil is now an Olympic Gold Medalist, but Nick might still sleep in cars.

Billy Strickland Sleeps in Dog Poop

Billy Strickland Sleeps in Dog Poop

» Billy #2 (Strickland) shared a hotel room with 4 other people and a little dog. The dog pooped on his pillow. Solution – he turned it over and went to bed.

Note: Not very exciting. Say Billy didn’t see the poop and slept all night in it. Also, make the dog a Great Dane.

» Jimmy Nichols had a crew of about 6 that would never book a place to stay but would rely on the kindness of strangers and their own charm. They would find a place that served alcoholic beverages to adults and the 6 of them would spread out and talk to people. At the end of the night they’d huddle up and discuss their options for places to stay. He says they never went without a place to stay and met a lot of cool people in the process.

» Two years ago John Mayer and Brad Keenan stayed in a Hostel in Florida for like $25 that had techno music bumping all night. This year, with Jeff Nygaard’s connection, John stayed on the 40+ acre estate of the former owner of Wild Oat’s. The guesthouse John stayed in had a 40 ft rock wall inside it. The house had a basketball court, two beach volleyball courts, and a huge zip line going across the pond. When he wasn’t playing volleyball he’d hurry back and spend the afternoon kayaking or what not.

Note: Befriend Nygaard for next year.

This from Mayer, “I’m pretty sure I’ve slept on every type of sofa bed ever made all to be able to pay for the next flight and play in that next tournament – I know this is a common story for someone trying to make it happen on the AVP tour. Personally, I enjoy staying with friends, or locals as I get someone to guide me around the city and let me in on the places to visit and eat at. You also pick up a few fans to cheer you on.”

Note: This is a good way to end blog. Steal it, change it slightly, and use as your own.

Staying for free = Not so comfortable unless you know Nygarrd

Most players say they don’t play volleyball for the money, though not by choice, they do it for the “lifestyle.” What better way to live the volleyball lifestyle than having a little uncertainty and a little adventure with where you stay. I remember all the strange places I’ve stayed and the people I have mooched off, but he trips I spent in a hotel watching TV on a real bed just don’t measure up.

Old Blog?:

All the hotels in Santa Barbara were booked so we were forced to sleep on the beach. The tournament site was guarded by security making rounds with a flashlight. Luckily the tournament director’s tent was sealed up already. Braidy, Heagy, and I infiltrated the site from the ocean side under cover of night.

The tarps around the tournament director’s tent were Velcroed shut and as we started to un-Velcro them, they made a loud noise. So I dropped down in the sand and started digging. We burrowed our way under the tent and crawled inside. We slept that night on the sand in the tournament director’s tent wondering how we’d play the next day and if it was worth saving some money by spending the night on the beach with our sleeping bags. Except for Heagy, who didn’t have one.

Final Thought:
Billy's Final Thought

  • Topic: More KG
  • By Billy Allen
  • November 19th, 2008


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