Man = Beard

It's time to talk about a very important issue in my life at the moment. Facial Hair.

A thick mustache or a big burly beard are a telltale sign of manliness. Plain and simple. And after going two months razor free, I know why. Anyone who can suffer the constant itchiness, strange looks, constant grooming, and leftovers from breakfast sticking with them till dinner, the bearded deserve to be recognized above other men.

Here are a few notables:

Tom Selleck

Mr. T
Monopoly Guy
Don Saxton
Abraham Lincoln
Clint Eastwood
King Tut
This Guy

Anyone in the NHL who's ever made the postseason. Sorry Maple Leafs
Chuck Norris

There have been a few exceptions to the beard rule though. I very rare cases a facial hairstyle can be sullied by a man's reputation:

 Or Vice Versa:

Fortunately, as you can see below, my beard is one of the good ones. I'll leave you to gaze at my beauty:


Ben Jammin



If only Dustin had been around this weekend, then all the Saxton kids would have been in one place for the first time since Christmas. Looks like he missed out. Meanwhile, my two sisters, Milou and Camille, and I were joined as Camille's team, the Oregon State Beavers, played a couple powerhouse teams from LA.

They played the UCLA Bruins the first night, who had just come off of a very solid victory versus the previously undefeated Stanford. I've never seen Camille's team play before, so I can't really say whether they played well or not, but they did take a set off their opponents and lost in 4. When comparing both teams records, I'd say that's not too shabby.

Saturday night saw the Beavers get off to a great start up 7 early against the USC Women of Troy. But the Californian team clawed their way back and won the first set in extra points. They went on to win the match 3-0. Camille got to play for the majority of this match, and when she was allowed to pass, she didn't miss a beat. Her skills are solid, and I keep telling her that as soon as she's ready for beach, VC would be lucky to have her.

After both games, we all managed to go grab some food. In case one of Camille's coaches is watching, she was a perfect little angel and only ate healthy food while the rest of us pigged out. Then we hung out at her hotel for a bit and did some catching up. I personally hadn't been in the same city as my little sister since last Christmas, so a good catchup was overdue.

It'll be Christmas again soon, and then the whole gang will be together again. Camille's gone back to Oregon with her team for now. I'm glad she's doing well, and I hope her team shows some fight for the second half of the season.

Go Beavers!

Ben Jammin


Rain, Rain, Go Away

After a 5th place finish in Mexico, it's finally the off season. Don't get me wrong, I love volleyball, but there is such thing as too much. And after a couple tournaments of dying in the height, I finally get to have a little relaxation time in nice cool Los Angeles. Or more precisely, Huntington Beach, California.

Normally, that would be ironic, because the weather in LA is usually pretty consistent. Consistent in the fact that I could play beach volleyball outdoors all year long here if I wanted to. Except for this last week. I have never seen so much rain come down in this area as I have in the last week. Tuesday there was even a thunder storm that lasted the entire day. It was still above 15 degrees, mind you, but soggy nonetheless.

Here's a small article I found about the storm:
LA Times Article

The best part about thunderstorms in this area is watching how the locals react. It was raining, but still warm, so I took the bike out and rode over to a local restaurant to grab some lunch. On the way over, it began to hail, which is absurd in this part of the world. The kids just getting off from high school at the time agreed with me, but handled the situation in an entirely different way than I would. I calmly locked up the bike walked into the Greek food place, and ordered my food. They decided the better course of action would be to run around the parking lot screaming with their shirts off. As I ate, they came inside to dry off for a bit while making plans to go run around the golf course half nude so they would have more space. Which of us was more rational about the situation may remain a mystery. Or not.

Fortunately the weather has been clearing up over the past few days. There has been precipitation each and every day since my arrival, but it lessens as the week goes on, and should be clear from next week on. It's not exactly the ideal beginning to my little vacation, but I've heard it's already snowed in Alberta, so I suppose it could be worse.

Ben Jammin


First round win

We had a marathon match in mid day heat today vs. some high flying Cubans. Thankfully we won in 3 sets 21-15, 25-27, 15-13, and I promptly took a cold shower so that I could lower my body temperature and get back to something that I rather enjoy, breathing. Sadly for everyone at home, I'm compensating by making a short blog. But, I will leave you with the tournament website:


And the tournament committee told us matches would be streamed on the following website:


But I'll be darned if I can navigate either website, because the English versions are not working for me. In the immortalized words of Ron Burgundy: "Baxter, you know I don't speak Spanish!"


Ben Jammin


Sent Packing

Fold clothes.
Pack clothes.
Pack personal items.
Pack Computer
Zip up bags.
Unzip bag.
Unpack computer.
Unpack personal items.
Wear clothes.
Repeat again.
Repeat several more times after that over a 6 month+ season.

I have been folding and refolding my Overkill clothing so much over the last half year, I'm surprised Freddy hasn't given me the call to start stocking shelves at Canuckstuff (Yes that was a shameless sponsor plug, thanks for noticing). Though only before a trip. After a long week of playing where I'm left with a stack of soiled garments, I'll often just stuff them in my bag, thus dirtying the rest of my suitcase, and making stops equipped with laundry machines a real treat. And stops with mom to do said laundry extra special.

My packing skills have evolved over the course of the season, let's take a look:

Early Season:
I'm excited to travel, picking out all my favorite clothes, and buying items I'll need on the road. Checking and double checking to make sure I have everything. Filling my suitcase neatly to the brim, pushed right to the edge of any airlines weight limit. Two carry-on bags filled with miscellaneous junk to keep my occupied on the trip. Everything ready the day before I fly. Itinerary at the ready to keep me focused and make sure I'm on time for my flight.

Tired of travelling all summer, same clothes as always. Fewer even thanks to a couple trips back home and a dropping a few previously thought essential items. If I'm missing anything, the hotel will usually provide it. Suitcase as light as possible to make walking around airports easy. One carry-on holding all the essentials. Packing starts approximately 30 minutes before I leave for the airport, tossed in haphazardly if necessary. Itinerary locked to memory, no excess waste.

Laziness? Maybe. I prefer to look at it as upgrades in effeciency. I do consider packing a chore, and the less time spent performing the task the better. But it's getting late, so I think I'll pack it in.

Ben Jammin


One for the kids

I know my time in India is done and gone, and that I've already spent a considerable amount of time talking about the lows of the travel and the competition. The one part of the trip that has yet to be revealed is the thing I will likely remember most. Or at least remember most fondly.

A couple days prior to the opening matches of the tournament, 9 athletes from 3 countries managed to make a trip a little ways out of town to the Jeroham orphanage. Tom Lord from Great Britain, Mike Morrisson and Eyal Zimet of USA, and Martin Reader, Chaim Schalk, Kara Zacrewski, Julie Rodrigue, Steve Marshall and myself of Canada. We brought fruits, candies, an assortment of sports balls, and open minds. None of us spoke any Indian, and none of the children spoke any English, but we all understood that kids of all ages just need to have a little fun sometimes.

Everyone understands the language of play. They took us out to a little open area near the orphanage and showed the excitement and wonder that only children can. We had to take it in shifts sometimes due to the intense heat, but we did our best to keep up. I can't imagine it would be easy growing up with the adversity they've had to face, but they didn't miss a beat in front of us. Each one showing off their energy in their own way. Letting us see how talented and interesting they all can and will be. With their new balls and cricket bat, if one of them makes it big, I will be really proud to say I helped make a small impact.

But the real difference maker in the kids lives is kids home founder, Pastor Suhin. He started by taking in one troubled young girl, forced into the drug world at an early age to help support herself and her mother. What started as one child has now extended to over 20 youths of various ages, and thanks to the Pastor can now live lives with shelter, food, schooling and the company of other children. If anyone deserves a pat on the back, it's him. If you'd like to learn more about the Jeroham Children Home, you can visit their website here:

I may or may not ever be back in India. But I know that at least one really solid experience came out of this trip. Helping out kids is one thing that is impossible to regret. No matter who you are, it is nearly impossible to put a smile on a child's face without a smile of your own to match it.


Ben Jammin


Driven Crazy

Seeing as I just got finished with 4 flights and a good 40 hours of travel time between Chennai and Los Angeles, my brain is a little sluggish. Fortunately I found an interesting little article about driving conditions around the world. By all means, take a gander by clicking on the link below:

Ten Worst Cities to Drive In

So far, I can vouch for half of them, most recently in India.

And that's all I got for today.

Ben Jammin


Extreme Conditions

37 degrees Celsius, 98% humidity

This was the temperature of our morning match of the first day of the tournament. Needless to say, it was difficult. It was difficult even to breathe, much less play a match of volleyball. Lucky for us, Norwegians are similarly affected by the heat, so it was just as tough for them. Unlucky for us, our next night game did not fair so well, and we lost a tight 2 set match to some Czechs.

Day 2 - 3:30 pm
34 degrees Celsius, 77% humidity
Playing in the heat once was bad enough. The slight difference in temperature and humidity was actually noticeably better, but still incredibly draining. Again we played a pair of Norwegians, and again it worked in our favour. Sadly, I was not able to recover enough in the hour between our first and second matches, and the Greeks had a slightly higher tolerance to heated conditions. By the third set, I was jello, and my lack of body control led to our dismissal from the tournament in a disappointing 13th place.

It's tough coming from a country where, at this time of year, the best I can hope for is rain with sunny periods. We can train as hard as we can there, but there is nothing we can do in Canada that could prepare us for the intensity and thickness in the air that I experienced playing over the past 2 days.

Meanwhile, teams from Iran and Turkey are thriving under these conditions. Solid teams to start with, they have that extra push under the sun that us northern folk can't quite match. Using familiar temperatures to their full potential. Countries that experience winter will never see the conditions that permeate India on a daily basis. As great as I find the sport of beach volleyball, I don't enjoy the helpless feeling that I got the displeasure of experiencing today.

On the plus side, playing a NORCECA in Mexico two weeks from now should be a breeze.


Ben Jammin

P.S. To those who noticed I missed Monday,
It was out of my control, this is the first time I have been able to access the internet since my arrival in India.