Annnnnddd that's a wrap. The smart AVP Championships in Huntington Beach, Calif., concluded the AVP season and my 10th year as the official DJ for the tour. Ten years have gone by relatively quickly, although I don't feel old enough to be able to say I’ve DJ'ed the AVP for 10 years. Thinking back to 2003 and my first year on tour (for those doing the math, from 2003 to the end of 2013 is actually 11 years, but I took a year off in 2007), and comparing my DJ skills to what they are now, I was AWFUL my first year. But, I must have done something right for them to keep me around for a decade and I'm very grateful for that. I had the pleasure of working with the legendary AVP announcer Chris "Geeter" McGee for eight years, I’ve DJ'ed a few players’ weddings, learned the game of volleyball from some of the best athletes in the world, and have made lifelong friends all thanks to this tour.
The final event of the year in Huntington Beach was a fitting end to the season. We had enthusiastic fans (ask around about Matt Garthoff doing his best Michael Jackson routine), amazing volleyball action, and the weather was fantastic despite the heavy fog on Saturday. If you follow me on Instagram you saw that I only took photos of the sun all weekend.
There were lots of intriguing story lines going into this tournament. Would Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross win their third event in a row after taking the title at the Santa Barbara AVP and the gold at the FIVB Grand Slam in Sao Paulo, Brazil? Could Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson make it five straight wins in a row on the AVP? And how would Sean Rosenthal battle through a back injury while trying to bookend the AVP season with another victory? All of those questions were answered; however, perhaps not in the way those players wanted or in the way the fans expected.
What we did get were two teams winning a title for the first time, which is always exciting. Jennifer Fopma and Brooke Sweat, who had been knocking on the door for a couple of seasons now, got their first AVP win together as a team. In game one of the final they looked unbeatable, but Brittany Hochevar and Lauren Fendrick came out strong in game two to force a third and final game (or "set" if you insist) with Fopma and Sweat eventually pulling it off 15-9.
On the men's side Nick Lucena and Theo Brunner, who were in their third final this season, came out on top beating John Hyden and Tri Bourne. If I were giving out the Rookie of the Year award on the men's side, I'd have to give it to Theo with this victory over Tri. However, if both of these guys continue to progress the way they did in just one season on the beach, the rest of the tour should take notice.
Before I wrap up my blog for the year, I'd like to answer one question I've been getting a lot over the last few weeks. Was this a successful season for the AVP? From a fan, player, and DJ's perspective, the answer is yes. The AVP put on seven solid events for the fans with an amazing product: the players. But the real answer to that question can't be confirmed until the end of the 2014 season. If there are a similar number of events, good prize money, and more importantly, sponsors that want to be financially committed, then you can say without a doubt that 2013 was a success.
What the AVP has going for it is an owner and staff that are committed over the long haul to making the AVP something we all can be proud of again. And for now, that should make everyone who loves beach volleyball optimistic. If you're a fan of the sport, which if you're reading this I assume you are (or you're just a fan of mine and I appreciate that), now is the time to really show it. Besides showing up to the amazing free events, support the sponsors of the tour and your favorite players. Follow them on all of their social media sites and if for some reason the player you want to follow the most isn't online, hit me up on any of my social media sites and I'll get in that player's ear. Really supporting the sport and the players is the best way to help the sport we all love.
I'd like to thank everyone who has been keeping up with my AVP blog all season. I appreciate your time and hopefully we can do it all over again next year. Now it's time for me to focus on basketball and the other gigs I have lined up during the beach off-season. So, if you need a DJ Roueche fix over the next few months, feel free to come by a Los Angeles Clippers or UCLA men's basketball game. Otherwise, see you on the beach in 2014.