Game Time

Time is such a strange thing. When you're looking forward to something in the future, it seems like the days crawl by, and when that moment arrives, it's over in a blink. But when you're remembering the past, those times of excitement seem to get replayed in slow motion to the minute detail, while the lead up and preparation gets skipped over, like it was hardly there. Albert Einstein once said.... Something about that I'm sure, but I've tried to sound smart for long enough already. 

Here we are in the preseason, when one day stretches into the next as we wait for the season to start. Even this year, with the first tournament getting going as early as February 15th, which I realize is only a couple weeks away, it just feels like more. (As I write this it's actually hitting me how soon it actually is, though I'll likely forget that at my next 6 am wake up). Chaim and I won't actually play our first event until the Maceio Open the following week, which makes it seem that much longer. Any week where others are doing things that I could be doing extends the perceived wait time by about a year. So going of my skewed perception clock, our first match is only about 18 months away (3 weeks by normal earth time).

There's only so much time that can be spent on the court or in the gym in a given day, so how does one go about passing the rest of the wait between matches and tournaments, you ask? Well if you'd stop interrupting me, I was about to get to that. 

Aside from watching all the TV shows (yes all of them), and remembering forgotten blogs, I find the best way to pass the time between trainings is by playing games. Any games will do, I'm easily entertained. The spectrum ranges from other sports, to board games (Notably Settlers of Catan and the like), to card games, to video games, to nerf gun battles (video below, if you follow me on Twitter you've already seen it), to guessing what time Adele's "Hello" will play on the radio during car rides (Because it will happen, we just don't know when.) Now some might call this a waste of time, but I beg to differ. In fact I think a diverse games portfolio might actually be the secret to success.

To illustrate my point I actually will use an Einstein quote:

Now the way I see it, in any given game, the people who can best understand the rules, and use them to their advantage, will most often win that game. Especially in a sport like beach volleyball where the rules seem to change every year (ex: Net touch rules), those players that are best able to adapt and manipulate their play to suit those rule changes, give themselves an immediate edge. At the highest level of play, and edge can mean the difference between a win and a loss. So the more games one plays, the better they become at learning new rules and developing new strategies around them.

So I've completely changed the topic of this blog from time perception to playing games, and I'd say I didn't plan it this way, but I actually wrote pretty much all of this and then accidentally deleted it last night. So today's version is a rewrite from yesterday's unorganized ramblings. So to summarize:

I get bored when I'm not playing volleyball, so I play other games instead and tell myself it's not a waste of time. Plus it helps to make the preseason move faster, or at least crawl a little less slowly.


Ben Jammin


Off to a Good Start

In the wake of the Porec Major Series, Canada's most successful World Tour event ever (To date, hopefully we can start to make it a regular occurrence). I just wanted to give out my congratulations to the people who truly deserve it. So without further ado, congratulations to Jamie Broder, Kristina Valjas, Heather Bansley, Sarah Pavan, Josh Binstock, Sam Schachter, and Chaim Schalk on a great start to the 2015 FIVB beach season.

It's taken a lot of spent energy and spent dollars for each of us, but it seems to be serving us well. And a big thank you to everyone in each of our teams personal support bubbles. All of our personal coaches, trainers, families, friends and sponsors deserve a lot of praise as well for believing in us as we put our whole lives into such a lofty goal with little support but for you guys. It's still early in the season, and I don't speak for the other athletes, but I'm sure we are all looking to continue the trend.

Ben Jammin


Rewind, Play, Fast Forward

After a short (year and half) hiatus, I've decided to see if I've still got it. By "it" I don't mean the ability to write thought provoking, inspirational tales of wit and wisdom, but rather the ability to write anything legible and coherent. It's an ambitious goal, I realize, but I take a lot of plane rides with nothing better to do, so I think that means I've got what it takes, right?Since it's been so long since my last post, I'll give a brief synopsis of how the last year went, followed by a quick take of the Lucerne Open, then a short insight into what's to come. Brief + Quick + Short = Probably too much writing, but bear with me.

Last season we won some games and lost some others, yada yada yada, lots of training, and now here we are.

Too brief? Fine, here are the highlights:
- Chaim and I got our first FIVB podium with a Bronze at the Parana Open in Argentina
- We followed it up with Gold at the NORCECA Championships in Tobago
- Klagenfurt and Stavanger, two of the players favorite Grand Slams, returned to the FIVB World tour
- Went to see "Price is Right" live with a few other volley notables (see picture below)
- The Calgary Flames made the playoffs, and beat the Canucks in round 1
- I grew a playoff beard
- I shaved off the playoff beard

Lucerne was a little bittersweet, with an emphasis on the bitter. When I was younger, having to qualify week after week, 25th was a sign of progress, it meant I was winning a few games and getting to compete against the best teams for 2 or 3 extra matches per tournament. But these days, it's more of a motivator that more needs to be done to prevent future early exits. The city of Lucerne is a beautiful place and hosted a very nice, well run, tournament. I hope to come back in future years to better my own experience of it, but as a player so focused on one objective, the rest of the experience often gets clouded by a poor performance. The best way to look at it was that as Lucerne was our first event of the 2015 season, and so it was a good warm up for the Grand Slams coming up, and gave us a good idea of what fixes can be made before then.

Now on to what's to come. I'm not sure what is most notable about this year's FIVB season, but there are certainly plenty of developments, so I'll start by mentioning the FIVB Major Series. This will be comprised of 3 of this year's tour stops (Croatia, Norway, Switzerland) and then a season finale in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I still don't have all the information, but it's my understanding that Swatch and Red Bull will be the major sponsors and are looking to make all the events similar to Klagenfurt (aka, As big as it gets for beach volleyball). This is exciting news for the players and the fans alike, and hopefully big news for the sport itself to grow into something bigger.

The next big thing this season (and in my opinion, the most anticipated) is the FIVB World Championship being held in 4 cities in the Netherlands; den Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Appeldorn. Worlds are always a big deal wherever they are held, and the Hague always puts on a good event, so I am really looking forward to early July. Chaim and I will be playing our pool play matches in the Hague, which this year will be played in a floating stadium in the heart of the city, just in case anyone happens to be in the neighborhood, it will be worth coming out to watch.

Finally, this season starts the Olympic qualification process. When the time comes, all eyes will be on the teams at the games, but it's the next two seasons that brings out the best in them. Everyone is ready to get the Grand Slams started and the season underway as we all battle to make our way to Rio.

That's all I've got for now, next week we'll head to Norway to train with Horrem/Eithun, and other athletes around their training facilities, and then to Moscow for the first Grand Slam or the season. I'll try to write another blog or two in weeks to come, but no guarantees.

Ben Jammin