How to have fun and make a difference a half a world away!
What could be better than a day at the beach?
Up until last weekend, Santa Barbara had been experiencing more than normal rainfall, and don't get me wrong... we were thrilled to get every drop! Our seven year drought had finally been declared over and the hillsides that had been golden brown for so long were lush with new spring growth in shades of verdant green. And so it was with anticipation that I arrived at East Beach, Sunday March 24th, hoping the weather would cooperate for the 2019 East Beach Volleyball Tournament. And cooperate it did! What an absolutely beautiful day to watch players go head to head, all for a good cause!
With boats anchored offshore, and crowds of very athletic men and women gathered around, the competition began in earnest. There were multiple rounds and as each team concluded their three game set, they were paired up against the winners of the next court.
The competitive spirit made it apparent than no one was going to give up easily! Remarkable saves were made as players dove into the well-trodden sand to keep the ball from touching the ground. Our board member and former San Marcos High School coach, Jon Lee, whispered in my ear which players to keep an eye on, and which ones he thought might make the finals.
The competition lasted most of the day as player after player dug deep to stay in the running. Hoots and hollers were heard when some seemingly impossible shots made it over the net. The final round was made up of such a well matched pair that the usual game was extended over and over as each side tied up the score and the proceeded well into "overtime." I was somewhat amazed that they didn't just collapse into a heap at the end of just their first set!
At long last, the final serve was sent over the net and the winners were declared. They were all winners in my book, because despite having fun in the Santa Barbara sun, they were contributing to a cause close to my heart... the education of children in one of the poorest areas of the world, northern Uganda. Because of their open hearts, they have helped to provide yet another school with brand new textbooks! So thank you to every single player who came out and participated! You are in my winner's circle for sure! And a special thank you to Ethan Hall (in the photo below with the sunglasses on), tournament director, and Jon Lee, Volleyball Legend, ( in the top photo wearing the green Ugandan shirt) for coming up with another great event!