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Mike Dodd and the Legacy of the Manhattan Open
by Mike Dodd
On Friday the AVP shut down operations and went bankrupt. On Monday CBVA was chosen to host the 2010 Manhattan Beach Open. In a shocking twist of events, tournament director J Parker Saikley convinced the Manhattan Beach City Council to play the event under “old-school” rules, against the advice of CBVA president Chris Brown. “Old-school” rules include the larger court (30′x30′), no antennas, and an all-leather Wilson ball. These are Dodd’s thoughts as addressed to Mark Leyman of the Manhattan Beach City Council.
I am writing today not as the former commissioner of the AVP but as a resident of Manhattan Beach for 53 years and someone who loved Charlie Saikley and loves the Manhattan Open.
I believe the size of a court or the rules from a particular era do not define a mans legacy. Charlie Saikley’s legacy is one of honor, integrity, toughness and above all fairness. Those words define Charlie Saikley, not only as a Tournament director and shepard of the greatest Open there is but as a loyal employee of Manhattan Beach, a man, a husband and a father.
The legacy of the Manhattan Open is that it is the ultimate test, to determine the best players in the sport of Beach Volleyball. The Tournament and Mr. Saikley in each and every era submitted to the prevailing rules of the day because (for whatever reason, be it cultural or institutional) those were the rules under which the best players were training and preparing.
Like Mr. Saikley, the legacy of the Manhattan Open is not defined by the size of a court or the rules in effect from one particular era. The first tournament I remember (early sixties) they played the winners bracket matches 2 out of 3 to 11 side-out scoring, there was no blocking over the net, and no one jump served. Will blocking over the net and jump serving be banned from this years tournament as well to “honor the legacy”?
In less than a month, you will have Karch Kiraly and his Wide Open Tour on the sands of Manhattan Beach. That Tour is wonderful, and it celebrates the rules and style of play from a bygone era. The tour is made up of everyone from grassroots players to AVP players enjoying the challenges and unique skill set to succeed under those rules. You don’t need two of the same thing!
Let the very best players in the world play the game under the rules and format that for the better part of a decade they have been training for and perfecting. It’s just my opinion and regardless I will encourage all players to participate.
I wish you all the best,
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