Thursday, May 1

1st Annual Boca del Rio Volleyball Tournament

This is destined to become an annual event! The church began to advertise this tournament about a month ago. When the day finally arrived, 13 teams signed up to compete. Each 4-man team had to have at least one woman or a boy under 14 years old (to hopefully even things out!). The only other requirement was that church members couldn't be on a team with other church members. That was a really great idea! Most everyone in the church wanted to play, so it was neat to see them group up with 3 non-church-goers.

There were some tense moments during the second and third days when the weaker teams had been eliminated and the serious players were left. Several times the pastor and a couple of the other Christian brothers had to step up and set the example of good-sportsmanship. It all ended well, though.
After their match on the first day, one of Doug's teammates got angry and said he wanted to quit the team. This was one of those "tense moments". Doug handed him back his entry fee ($2) and told him he'd rather have him play, but if he was going to get angry it would be better to not play at all. The guy walked off for a while, but came back and apologized and the team was able to continue playing. It was quite a turning point, too. After that first match, the team's whole attitude changed! Missed shots weren't such a catastrophe and good shots were praised like crazy! What changed? Doug started taking the blame for every mistake. If someone missed a shot, he said, "Oh, man! I wasn't watching!" or "I should have been there! Sorry!" It was such a change from the normal, that it got the guys' attention and they caught on -- I think more unconsciously than purposefully. Pretty soon they were laughing and joking and really enjoying themselves. And -- they ended up taking 3rd place! Pretty cool!
It was wonderful to see so many new faces on the church grounds throughout the week. The tournament gave people a reason to come hang out and also gave some "common ground" to talk about. Many folks who wouldn't normally come spend time at church came and stayed all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And now, two weeks later, the net is still set up, folks are still hanging around, and the ladies have started having weekly games, too.

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