Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why I Love Misty and Kerri

The two set (25-18, 25-18) thrubbing that these two athletes delivered to China's Tian Jia and Wang Jie in the driving rain before the vocal home crowd may be the nearest we fans get to a close match when May-Treanor and Walsh hit the beach.

I know Michael Phelps has everyone on ESPN happily arguing about whether or not he might be the Best Athlete Ever, raising his name with those of Michael Spitz, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer... (Seriously, how long can they milk that cow?) And I, too, have relished watching Jamaica's superhuman Usain Bolt's casual crushing of world records that most track aficionados believed would last indefinitely in the 100 & 200m races. I submit that the team of Walsh/May-Treanor can give these high profile athletes a run for their money in this discussion of the Greatest Evers.

My gals can boast the following:
  • The first ever consecutive Olympic golds in beach volleyball.
  • An Olympic win streak of 14 straight matches without dropping a single set.
  • A current international and domestic win streak of 108 matches.
  • May-Treanor holds the record for career titles on the beach (103), while Walsh claims second in that race (hitting 100 yesterday).
  • Together they've won 19 of the last 19 tournaments they've entered.
  • Overall record? 714-50.
The intangibles, too, add to my admiration of this historically (herstorically?) dominant team. Early in their career, they endured public opinion that they should switch partners; they chose to switch coaches, instead. (Great choice, by the way. Troy Tanner!) This year, Walsh carried the Olympic torch. Rick Doran, NYFD survivor of the 9/11 attacks also received that honor. He wanted to take a step for each of his fallen comrades. Because of the Tibet-related protests, officials shortened his course making that goal impossible to reach. Walsh shared her run with him, making her steps count, too, so that he could keep his promise. (Doran, so charmed by Walsh's gesture, even showed up to cheer her at the New York AVP matches.) Misty May-Treanor, when not training herself, serves as the assistant coach for the Irvine Valley Junior College volleyball team. (I'm guessing it's not for the money.) May-Treanor also refuses to vote for the top beach volleyball player, stating that voting for an individual in a team sport runs counter to her philosophy. I have never, even in those rare games where the other team wins, seen them berate or blame each other. And they both sang the anthem through tears on the stand. (I don't know why it bothers me when medal winners don't at least pretend to sing, but it does.)

I try not to roll my eyes when this dynamic duo finds its members reduced to Top 20 Hottest Female Athlete lists. It doesn't seem to bother them; they just laugh it off... and go crush the next opponent.

And I try to be supportive of their decision, announced last night before taking the medal stand, to take time off to go have babies, or, as May-Treanor put it, "To start the next generation's team." Walsh stated that she plans to come back and hopes her partner will, too. For what it's worth, I second that wish! Best of luck, heroes! I hope you get everything you want. Fast. So you can come back to the beach.

I leave you with the "three B's" that fuel this Best Ever team:

Also- check out Misty May-Treanor's Olympic blog on her site.


VashaPapa said...

I like "thrubbing" -- the most brutal parts of thrashing and drubbing.

I couldn't help but stay up and watch last night. Loved it: 18 points; up a gear; game over; sorry. And four let court points against them. Stupid rule in beach volleyball.

How hard was it raining? Not one hand set from either team in the whole match.

You left out the part about Misty sprinkling her mom's ashes -- onto a platform that's going to be carted away instead of onto the sand like she intendend. And then just laughing it off by saying "Now where ever that platform goes, there goes my mom."

In these days of "it's not cool to be emotional", seeing how happy those two women were -- well, you gotta like it.

Oh, and they are hot.

Danielle Mari said...

Here here and well said! Especially May-Treanor's handling of her mom's ashes and their unabashed exuberance. I GUESSED you were awake and watching, but I wasn't quite sure enough to ring you.

AND the indoor volleyball's going well, too! AND the men's beach. I think, though, that the Beast and the Professor lack the charm of Turtle and Six Feet of Sunshine.