2017-12-05 09:00:00 CET

Sax on the Beach: Success in Sydney

Ben Saxon is back. With a new partner and with a gold medal under his belt, he writes exclusively for the Beach Major Series

Surprise, it’s me, and it’s not even a Beach Major Series event! I found a little bit of success in Sydney last weekend (and congrats to Clancy/Del Solar as well), so I was asked to give my take on it. People are making a bit of a fuss over it being my first Gold medal after 88 World Tour events, but honestly they’re not really putting it into context. Yes, I am excited about winning the tournament, it’s a great feeling to go unbeaten for a full event, especially while working out the kinks with a new partner. But I feel the need to put things into perspective here. It was a two-star event. Still a well-run tournament (thanks again Volleyball Australia) with plenty of respectable teams. Still very competitive, and no small feat, but by no means is it on par with a four- or five-star medal. The French, Americans, Aussies, etc. in attendance are no slouches, but it’s really not the same kind of tournament when there’s none of the big names.

Hopefully the gameshow network has it’s place outside of North America, because I want everyone to think of it like this: Let’s say you make it onto The Price is Right, and Drew Carey spends a little time explaining how the game works before explaining that you could win a BRAND NEW CAR! So you play the game, and you win! Amazing! But the show isn’t over, now you’ve got the Showcase Showdown to think about. You’ve got the new car, but now all you can think about is the all expense paid trip for two to Hawaii, plus a private luau and a jet-ski! 

Winning the two-star event is like winning the car. I’m really happy, and no one can take it away from me, but I’ve still got my eye on the five-star grand prize, even though Grant and I might still need to spin the wheel to qualify. That analogy might not land if the Price is Right isn’t a European television staple, but I at least know a few players who will know what I’m talking about (Chaim Schalk, Summer Ross, Ryan Doherty, Jason Lochhead).

On the other hand, as far as being a jump off point for a new partnership, this result couldn’t be better, plus Manly Beach was a treat to visit itself. There are always questions when entering a new beach volleyball pairing as to how things will go, and no matter how hard you train, the only real way to know whether things will work or not is to play for real. So far, Grant and I are passing the test, but there’s still a lot of work to do as the partnership continues to unfold. 

Here’s another thing to think about (two metaphors in one blog? He’s going crazy.) Picture a beach volleyball career as a series of novels, like Harry Potter. Each new partner makes up a new book in the series. There could be a few shorter books and then all of a sudden they throw in Goblet of Fire, which is almost three times the size. Every book is equally important in the development of the series just as every player is shaped by their previous partnerships. So despite Chaim and I continuing our stories in our own separate ways, I really value the large sized novel we co-wrote the past five seasons, and I’ll be one of your biggest fans in the future. I’m already in line at the bookstore waiting for the release of your next adventures. Even as my own saga continues with Grant, Chapter 1: Success in Sydney. (Coincidentally, also the title of one of the early chapters in my sister’s 2017 book).

Chapter 2 is still in the works.



Ben Saxton

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