[ Robert Silverman ]
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[ Cybernetically, Bicycle Bob Xe-Dda.p ]
Seeking the Volley of Volleyball
By Genny Snider, January 1991

One Thursday as I was playing volleyball at the CEGEP du Vieux-Montréal I realized the striking similarities between good volleyball and good sex. Ever noticed how some people are always checking the score, hogging sets to you for their spikes and bossing people around while other participants set people up for spikes, laugh, pass the ball to team members and generally succeed in getting their well-planned serves across the net? There are many factors that contribute to a good game as in lovemaking but most essential is probably common ground ideology - funny how someone can be beside you on the court and yet mentally on a different planet. In "love-dialectical" volleyball founded by Montreal visionary, Bicycle Bob, and friends more than fifteen years ago, there is ideally dialectic in the Hegelian sense of a cooperative consciousness, here, a cooperative volleyball consciousness. In a true democracy people's roles rotate as do the players on the court. There is a chance to participate from each angle of the game or in each decision made; there is not patriarchal dictatorship.

In good volleyball or good sex, participants must envision the perfect game so that they are 'dialoguing' and treating each other kindly. The game is not about winning or losing, not offensive and defensive but about motion or flowing with the pulse of mutual pleasure - creating energy and responding to energy. However, giving away or taking all of the energy creates an energy drain and there is loss of momentum. During a satisfying game there is time for sensuality versus functional acts. While hard spikes may be a good tension release, purely orgasmic in one sense, spikes are very task-oriented. What about the sheer joy of passing or the sensual caresses of erotic playfulness? There is a poem that comes to mind about a truly loving game:

I'd rather play with those I love than those who come to win.
I'd rather play with those who pass than those who come to smash.
For our jobs are tough and the nights are short,
so let's be kind on the volleyball court.

Bob Xe-Dda.p

In a loving game there is openness, the ability to be receptive and work with events unfolding separately from your thought processes. There is laughter as elements of spontaneity and creativity enter the game; creativity fashions exciting and continually evolving expressive plays. People might, for example, back-set, tip, block a play or pass to the open spaces; the possibilities are endless.

A successful game requires initiative and action, but, in order to set the game in motion there must be chemistry that causes the plays to flow. In volleyball one may interpret the serve as the initial chemistry that attracts the play. But without a successful serve there is only a narcissistic chasing of one's own tail instead of interaction among the players. For killer-servers, egotism is usually the worst hindrance to a successful play. These masturbatory-style players seem to have no sense of team effort when involved in a game.

Another key element of a good game is, of course, the volley. Long plays build sensual excitement as everyone is involved, attentive and keeping the emotional intensity high. Volleys invite dialogue, differing perspectives, a flowing symphonic energy.

The problems arise with the glory seekers. In lovemaking the person who is solely out to satisfy the ego or get a pat on the back loses sight of what mutual pleasure or interaction is all about. In volleyball, this ego focus is most apparent when a person's serve or spike fails. All too often people try too hard to kill or drive the ball across the net and, since they are ferociously trying to satisfy the ego, their hyper self-interest easily blinds their view of the net. In such a situation, the game is never even a reality as the ball will never come close to crossing the net. The glory seeker's ego is too unaware of a participatory goal where the simple task of stimulating the ball into motion invites others to interact. This small feat can easily be accomplished with gentler underhand serves as opposed to the arm reddening, speeding bullet, skud-missilic killer blows exhibited by some warriors who selfishly seek ego-gratification and obviously nothing else. In 'Zen and the Art of (Serving)' doing nothing allows energy to flow naturally from the arm to the ball to the other team; but a forced serve with ego obstruction interferes and refracts energy chaotically in unintended directions. This carelessness is selfishness in a team effort and reflects a lack of awareness. Some people have never learned to be observant, have never been encouraged to enlighten themselves, have not learned the art of listening to what is happening around them.

In a good game you need to be intuitive and ask what feels good, thereby treating others how you would like to be treated. The beauty of rewarding plays can be unending if the energy is positive and people are there to dialogue. The game is not called hog-the-ball, stab-the-ball, weapon-ball or it's-always-my-ball, but, volleyball, a word that implies, and a game that encourages participation. Will there ever be a time when people seek the volley, disregarding the competitiveness reinforced in everything we have learned at school or find in the media? Sometimes I catch a glimpse, rare optimism during a serendipitous long volley as the players' mutual pleasure escalates and the potential exists/grows for a clear and complementary understanding of other dialectic delights.

And, as I reflect on recent events, I have an even greater momentum in seeking the volley; for ultimately,

I want to volley the shining sun across rocky mountains of hate.
I want to shed light on things that must change,
for the rage of war to me is strange.
We must be kind starting with things familiar, to be peaceful abroad;
no one wins a war
We must open our souls to visions great,
if ecstasy is to be free to proliferate.

For some sensational volleyball, join us in Parc Jeanne-Mance (corner of Ave. du Parc and Duluth) this summer, any day from 5:30 on and Sundays from 3:00 'til sundown.

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