The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jen Offord Headshot

Beach Volleyball

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Well, well, well. What an exciting couple of weeks it's been for my inspirational journey. It all started with a mention on Team GB's Twitter feed and ended with a bunch of new people reading (hi!) and unless she's been up to some seriously elaborate plotting, I don't think any of them are friends of my mum. Still nothing from Foster, though, the cad.

Alongside the hotbed of Twitter related excitement, I found out I've gotten a place in the London Marathon next year, which is both a blessing and a curse, and had a go at fencing and horse riding. But like a big, sporty tease, I'm holding back on these stories for a bit.

And so, to the final French adventure - beach volleyball. If I'm honest, this event was a bit of a shower.

We didn't know the rules or the scoring system, though the one rule we were familiar with, we took an early decision to break. As per the law of beach volleyball, it's necessary for lady competitors to be mostly naked and for men to be pretty well clothed. As an equal opportunities kind of a crew, we threw the bikini wearing open to the boys and us girls opted for slightly more cover.

It became clear pretty quickly that the authorised moves were also beyond our grasp. If you've ever played volleyball, you'll know serving involves smacking your wrist against quite a substantial leather ball, which is painful. It was therefore agreed that we wouldn't use this move, and would instead sort of cheat, by throwing the ball over the net. Another advantage to this was the staggering improvement in the precision of the serve.

We weren't familiar with the scoring system, so we played to 10 points per set, rather than 21, swapping ends between sets, rather than every seven points, though we did, totally by chance, correctly play the best of 3 sets.

Team Dalston, myself and flatmate John, took on Uncle Becky and Simon - Team Bristol. Dalston was off to a splendid start, apart from the aforementioned serving issues. Admittedly, neither John nor Simon were finding it all that problematic, but Uncle Becky suffers from a recurring arm problem and I have really little wrists. Disaster struck 9 points in to the first set, when Simon gained control of the serve due to my own rubbish efforts, and Team Bristol promptly romped home to the requisite 10 points whilst I dithered not really knowing which part of the court I should cover (which is starting to look like a running theme, for me in terms of team sports).

We switched sides of the court and whilst Simon started well, I got uncharacteristically tactical on Team Bristol's proverbial ass, and took the novel approach of serving the ball into an area where it looked like they might not be able to reach it . Of course, I understand this is a basic concept in most ball games, though being able to put it into practice was unfamiliar. Dalston took the second set.

On to the final set of what I can only really describe as a thoroughly unpleasant sport (tiny wrists, honest), and I'd be lying if I said we weren't all pretty keen to wrap up, but with one set a piece, there was still everything to play for. John and Simon being the only ones who really turned up to this game, had another little tussle and I continued to implement rudimentary tactics/rank opportunism by way of the fact that Uncle Becky was a weaker competitor than Simon, and Team Dalston won the match. Which means... MY FIRST GOLD MEDAL! It took a while to get to, like Team GB's start to the 2012 Olympics all over again. And though Gary Lineker was not going to be having a really awkward chat with Ian Thorpe about it, at the end of the day's action, It filled me with hope for the rest of the tournament.