Hanging At The Deck Along The Strand During The Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament
Sometimes, when you’re at an event, it’s better to be around the event than actually at it.
Case in point – the Hermosa Beach Open, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP for short) beach volleyball tournament in PubClub.com’s World Headquarters city of Hermosa Beach, CA.
It was a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon at the end of July and by the time I arrived on the scene, all the volleyball action was taking place in the stadium court. The outside courts – buzzing with activity the previous day – were deserted, the adjacent sponsor booths were quiet and the thousands of people that were previously walking around the sand and on The Strand making it a scene were gone.
The women’s and men’s finals were due up and instead of packing into the temporary grandstand and trying to find a seat, my buddy Wild Dog and I decided to see what was happening in the bars.
We didn’t have to walk far and in fact, went across the beach path (The Strand) to The Deck. It was fairly lively tho not going crazy (dang it) but they were selling a bucket of four 20-ounce beers for $20 (good beers, too, Stella Artois) and we scored seats right up front at an open window overlooking The Strand.
Heck, we could even see the volleyball games on a big-screen TV inside the stadium court.
But Wild Dog did not want to see any volleyball. He wanted to see the “smooth skin girls,” so he hung out of the window like a, well dog, riding in a car. Unlike the previous day, in which these bikini-clad gals were all over the place, they were mysteriously missing on this day.
He pounded down two beers and I mean pounded – they were gone in 60 seconds, it seems – and he was off the leash like an untamed animal, on the go and back out on The Strand. That left me to finish the one remaining beer and once that was done, I was kind of in a party dilemma.
On the one hand, I was in what at some point when the tournament was over would be the liveliest bar in Hermosa. On the other hand, now was a great time to see what might be happening at the other bars. If I were to get four more beers – and at that price it was a tempting lure – I would be “tossing out the anchor” to use a sailor’s term.
Well, I decided not to set sail. And sure enough, a few minutes later a group of friends came in and we hung out for a while. They didn’t stay long, although they were replaced by some a pair of 20-something couples. The girls were really friendly and the guys naturally a bit standoffish, but I put a couple of PubClub.com tattoos on one of the couples and we shared a few laughs.
Then the tournament ended and the bar swelled with people tho it never did turn into anything wild. I was hoping it would be like the old post-tournament days at Sangria, but nothing these days can compare to that, unfortunately.
Pretty soon, I found myself sitting pretty much alone with two large 20-ounce beers to drink. And you know what – I stayed and finished them. I enjoyed this experience, too. I watched as workers tore down the sponsor tents and setup of the of the tournament, I watched people walk (and some stagger) along The Strand and I was occasionally joined by people who wandered into the bar.
My only regret was that I happened to see a friend of mine just as she was leaving; she was a promo girl in the Kona Brewing tent and I did not know that; she was there all day, dang it! We did a quick hug (thru the window; Wild Dog would have been proud) and while she desperately wanted to come in to help me drink my beers, she had to scoot to another promo appearance at the U.S. Open Of Surfing.
Eventually, the sun started to go down and so did the level of beer in the last can. And so ended up my time at The Deck, six 20-ounce brews in my system. I made the 15-minute walk home in a pretty good mood.