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Huntington Beach and Kiraly

Today I’m watching the AVP tour, especially (as always) Karch{.}. This year is his last and I’m trying to go and see him as much as I can. Karch is an idol for my generation of beach volley players. Well, it is an idol for all generations really

He loses one, he wins one. The day is about to end but he still has to play against Lambo. The sun is going down, it is the last match of the day. The crowd gathers around the court. As always it is not easy to put him down. He plays with Wong, another veteran of the AVP tour. The other team serves him short to force him to move forward and then backward again to prepare his attack. It is a smart strategy, Karch’s legs and not what they used to be 20 years ago

But he goes on, finds new and interesting ways to overcome a block that is way higher than his maximum one hand reach. Sometimes it feels as if the block is his friend and Lambo starts to lower his hands not to give him that tool to play with. But the short serves are wearing him down and the match is going in the wrong direction.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, he produces an amazing strong hit. Something Rosy could have done. The crowd goes ballistic. Everybody laughs and cheers. Even the other team is laughing. Karch raises his hands smiling as to say: I have no idea where that one came from. But maybe he does, because it happens again the very next side out. It looks like something good might still happen. But then he misses the last shot. He tries to hit the line, but the ball is far from the net and his jump is what it is.

We give him a two minutes standing ovation. This is the last time Huntington beach has seen him play. He waives his proverbial pink hat to salute the crowd. He sits down

and he takes the head in his hands. After three Olympic medals, uncounted championships, thousand of beach volley wins and a two minutes standing ovation he is not happy. He missed the last ball.