Actually the title should be ‘Things That Would Make Me Laugh If They Happened To Someone Else’ but first one is a bit more catchy. Plus you should already know never to believe what they write in headlines.
The German volleyball league (Bundesliga) has a series of rules designed to present the league in a better light. I am a great supporter of presenting volleyball in a better light. My livelihood does after all depend on it. There are a couple of pretty obvious examples. In first division gyms, the colour of the volleyball court must be a different colour to the surrounding floor so that spectators can see the court better. I consider this an excellent rule and it is always enforced. Another excellent rule is that the gyms must at least 9 meters high. For high level volleyball, 9 metres is pretty low and considerably affects the spectacle of the game by shortening rallies. This rule is also always enforced, but with special exceptions. Which means that if you don’t have a gym high enough, you get an exception. It’s not indefinite though… rules are rules. You have only two or three seasons to find a new gym. One of the amusing things (for me at least) about the gym height rule is that the team that has the 4th best attack percentage in the league is in 11th position, which flies in the face of virtually all collected wisdom about volleyball. The two possible explanations are that they have outstanding individual players who just don’t quite mesh as a team in decisive moments, or they play half their games inside a squash court. (Hint: it is the second).
Another rule about presentation of the league is the dress code on the bench. The rule says that the assistant coach and physio should be dressed the same as each other, but the head coach can dress as he chooses. There is one coach in the league who chooses to dress in boots, jeans, untucked polo shirt and cap, with his phone in his hand so that he can check it every so often during the match. According to the rule, as long as his assistant is dressed the same as the physio, the league is satisfied that it is being presented in the appropriate manner. I choose to dress in a suit, because that is the way I want to present myself. The club liked how the suit looked and how it represented them and organised one for my assistant. I bet you can see where this is going…. In blatant and flagrant disregard of league rules, my assistant wears a suit even though our physio wears a tracksuit and polo shirt. A couple of referees have remarked on it but, I presume, have been too embarrassed to report it. While it is obviously outside the letter of the rule, it is just as obviously inside the intent of the rule, and we are without question the best dressed (note I didn’t write ‘presented’) bench in the league.. However, as the story goes… there is always one. In our last match (Saturday against Friedrichshafen) the referee both noted and reported our transgression and sure enough in the office today, under a pile of congratulatory emails, letters and newspaper clippings was a notice of the fine we incurred. I’m honestly a bit lost for words and so will show a video and ask a question.
“Did SCC Berlin present volleyball in a bad light on Saturday?”