' ' Cinema Romantico: The End Of An Era Of Awesomeness

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The End Of An Era Of Awesomeness

Dynasties are supposed to fall. Rome fell. Sparta went down for the count. The Steel Curtain got put through the laundry one too many times. Misty & Kerri, owners of the moniker Greatest Beach Volleyball Team Of All Time, were an invincible dynasty. The numbers are staggering. In winning Gold Medals at both Athens in '04 and Beijing in '08 they played 14 matches and won all 14 matches. They played 28 sets (to 21 points) in each of those matches and won all 28 sets. At one point, from 2007-2008, they won 112 matches......in a row.

After their Beijing Gold they rightfully, respectfully chose to step aside and focus on family. Kerri had two children. Misty, proving once and for all that no good comes from Reality TV, chose to participate in ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" and tore her ACL. Gingerly, they re-entered the beach volley balling game, just with different partners. Then each one chose to re-hitch their wagon to the other's star for a pursuit of an improbable third Gold. It did not start off smashingly. At all. In fact, earlier in the year they were beaten by fellow Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross. Coincidentally that is who they faced in the Gold Medal match yesterday in London.

But getting there was not so simple. It's not just that they finally dropped a set (to the valiant Schwaiger Sisters of Austria) but that in each game and in many points it looked, well, tougher. It didn't come as easy. They were no longer a two-headed fire-breathing dragon. They made their goal to not let any team score over 17 points but, needless to say, this goal was not met. The NBC color commentator repeated over and over that "Misty and Kerri like to crush teams." Yeah, maybe so, but they didn't really crush anyone. Although, of course, they still managed to beat everyone.

Their final match opponents, Kessy and Ross, had played a tense, jaw-dropping three set match in a driving rain against a pair of of those elegantly one-named Brazilians that was almost, but not quite, as tense and jaw-dropping as Misty and Kerri's own semifinal match against China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi and, frankly, both teams looked a little drained. Both teams made errors. (Well, except for Misty, because Misty, as was pointed out by the commentators, did not have a single hitting error in the game because, you know, Misty May plays beach volleyball as well as Bruce Springsteen plays music. I nominate her to carry the American flag at the closing ceremonies.) This one wasn't as pretty as Athens and Beijing which, as you can guess, is exactly what made it so beautiful. The ones that are the most difficult are so often the most rewarding.

The real scary moment was against Chen and Xi. They were on the verge of earning a set point in the second sett. If it went to a third set could an exhausted Misty and Kerri hang on? China made a brutal spike. Kerri dug it, barely, and sent it flying backwards and Misty tracked it down and sent it soaring back toward the net. Too close to the net, as it turned out, and yet NOT too close because Kerri bumped the ball up and over the net at the precise instant she slipped her body UNDER the net (hitting the next costs you a point) and the ball, miraculously, landed in. Three points later the match was theirs. The rebellion was quelled. The dynasty stood. And because Misty will retire after these Olympics the dynasty will essentially stand forever.

I admit I employ the word awesome to a significant degree. I will not say I overuse it, never, because there are so many awesome things in this world. But by employing it so often the question, I fear, becomes just how do I define awesome. It's simple really. Awesome is George Costanza shouting at the punks in the movie theater. Awesome is Lady Gaga in the Liquorville sketch on SNL.

But above anything and everything, awesome is Misty May & Kerri Walsh.

awe-some, adj. 1.) Inspiring Awe 2.) Misty May & Kerri Walsh


Anonymous said...

Glad to see you're enjoying the Olympics, Nick. I actually have not watched a single match, just the opening ceremony :)

Btw, I just tagged you for a 7x7 Award (http://flixchatter.net/2012/08/08/award-season-is-upon-us-7x7-liebster-blog-awards-that-is) I hope you'll do it as your site [and your writing] is phenomenal!

Nick Prigge said...

Thanks, Ruth! And thanks for the compliment! I'm just glad people aren't mad at me for taking this whole week to blather about the Olympics. They and these posts mean a lot to me.

I'm like you, I got a Liebster last week from Alex and now you're 7x7. Like I told Alex I'll probably have to wait until next week to type up the post since I'm so Olympics-ized, but I'll get to it. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hey I think it's cool that you're blogging about the Olympics! I might actually do a London-related post before the closing ceremony this Sunday. I'm not into sports though so I'll just tie the event w/ films :)