MIKE O’HARA on VOLLEYBALL at WVRC on June 16th
PP ED GAULD gave the Invocation; We are grateful, O God, for the privilege of offering ourselves for service. Give us open minds, a clear understanding and a steady purpose to make the most of our talents, and lead us into the fields of work where we can best serve you. Amen. Good Thoughts, ED - Thanks. (And while YOE liked it, President still imposed a $62 fine on PP ED for his 6' 2" grandson). ABRAHAM CARONS led the Pledge, plus The Four Way Test. RICK BROUS came forward to lead us in You’re a Grand Old Flag.
PP RON LYSTER was unpinned, so coughed up $5.00. PP STEVE DAY then reported on our Foundation - we gave him an award, PLUS a hundred buck fine (these honors can be expensive). DWIGHT HEIKKILA was recognized for his excellent leadership with both our Rotaract and Interact Clubs - and this, too, cost him a hundred big ones. It just goes to show that no good deed ever goes unrewarded.... PP ED GAULD recovered enough from his fine to introduce his oldest Grandchild, Benjamin Gauld - who, somehow just graduated from the 8th grade - he will be a tall one anytime now (as noted above, he’s already 6' 2"). PEGGY was accompanied by her caregiver. Crista Tilley was back with us as a Special Guest. Our frequent Visiting Rotarian, Renato Romano from Beverly Hills, was present. John Saito was with ANN SAMSON. MARK ROGO brought David Swatt, who is being mentored in Real Estate, having completed his 3rd year at Berkeley.
Two date reminders - June 25th is the Demotion - be sure to let DON NELSON know if you will be bringing a guest, which will cost $75.00. And Thursday the 30th of June, we will be dark.
PP STEVE SCHERER reminded us all that former member PP RALPH WOODWORTH will be coming home this Saturday after heart surgery - you can reach him at (760) 360-3037.
President GORDON took us though the list of Perfect Attenders. 1 Year, ED JACKSON and STEVE PETTISE, 2 years, DWIGHT HEIKKILA and PP HOMER NEWMAN, 6 years, PP ED GAULD and PP DON NELSON, 7 years, PP CHRIS BRADFORD, 17 years, MARCIA BROUS and LEO TSENG (and did you know LEO was PP at the Hollywood Club before he transferred to WVRC?) 23 years, PP STEVE SCHERER. 24 years, PP RON LYSTER, 25 years, PP MIKE NEWMAN, 29 years, TERRY M. WHITE and TERRY R. WHITE, 35 years, PP JOHN SINGLETON, and last, @ 40 years, RICK BROUS! Congratulations to all!
PP CHRIS BRADFORD provided his usual good introduction for our Speaker, Mike O’Hara. Mike really is Mr. Volleyball - at one point he was known as Jumping Jack O’Hara. He will be talking about both beach and hard court Volleyball, which are two entirely different games. He played for UCLA, where they won the first two National Volleyball Championships in 1953 and ’54. In 2005 he was inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1959 his Pan American Team won both the Silver and Gold medals (hard court and beach, that is). He was on the US team in 1964 at the Japan Olympics. Actually, he played first for Santa Monica College - they beat UCLA and won the Championship that year! During the 1984 LA Olympics, Michael served as the Deputy Director of all 26 Olympic sports - and we have the Peter Ubberoff Building on the UCLA campus as a result. He also has a Masters Degree from USC.
“Good afternoon, fellow Rotarians”- yes, Mike belongs to Santa Monica Rotary. In high school, he was 4' 10" - and when he finished Santa Monica College, he had grown 17 inches in just two years! That was a painful adjustment, of course. Coming to UCLA, he joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity - they had a volleyball court in their backyard, where he was introduced to the sport - he knew nothing about it before that time. He played briefly for John Wooden, but soon was advised that that group was already overcrowded. So he played Club Volleyball that first year, and they had great success, winning a lot of local tournaments. As a result, he went to Athletic Director Wilbur Johns and asked if their team could play at the Nationals that year in Omaha, providing they paid their own way. So they borrowed a couple of their father’s cars, and made the trip. The trophy they won was so big they had to tie it on the roof of the car to bring it back to UCLA! This of course led to their being accepted as a regular member of the UCLA Sports Program.
During the 1964 Japan Olympics, the Japanese Womens’ team won the Gold Medal - their only gold medal of those games, while the US Men’s team won the Gold. The Japanese Men finished 3rd, for the Bronze Medal. As a result, to this day, 85% of the money donated to Olympic sports in Japan goes to Volleyball. We can certainly look forward to an exciting Volleyball contest at the upcoming London Olympics in 2012. Switching briefly to Wimbledon, the best American player is probably Andy Roddick, ranked #8, while all the young, taller players have fallen back - but our VB players should be contenders. There is, however, a problem with four competing Associations jockeying for position within the US. Beach volleyball, by the way, is usually the first sport to sell out in the advance sales. As another measure, soccer has 204 National Associations, basketball had 216 - and Volleyball leads them all with 220!
In various countries around the world, sports enthusiasts found they could put up a net between two trees, draw some boundary lines in the dirt, and lo and behold - that’s all they needed to play Volleyball. Thus, it was far and away the least expensive venue, anyplace in the world. Specifically, for $600 to $1,000, Volleyball was possible anywhere! Our armed forces found the same thing - Volleyball was easiest to set up, anywhere they found themselves. Mike has had a lot of fun playing Johnny Appleseed - the original who spread the word about growing apples was easy to copy in developing interest in Volleyball.
His most recent overseas trip was to Qatar, attending an International meeting of the ten top oil companies in the world - his task was to promote interest in Volleyball, as a participant sport. He agreed to try, on condition that they approved in advance what he had to say - otherwise his remarks might be too radical to be accepted. Another obvious problem was that you needed a closed facility - it is simply too hot, eight months of the year, to play outdoors in that part of the world. He emphasized the major health advantages of encouraging sports activity among their youth, who otherwise would be sitting in front of computers, being very sedentary. While it’s too early to tell how all this will turn out, his message seemed to be well received.
Q&A - Did they actually let the women wear uniforms - other than their traditional long robes? Qatar has 1.3 million residents, and they provide 5% of the world’s oil. They were looking for answers, so it’s really too early to tell how accepted his ideas may be. There was a question about problems with only tall players being good at VB. Mike and his partner have developed a similar game, which they call Wally ball - it allows players of any size to compete and enjoy themselves. Another improvement is a rule change, so that points are scored on each serve, regardless of who serves - this greatly speeds up the game. Its effect is similar to the introduction of the three-point play in basketball. Another example of a change that helped was when they moved the NBA team in Texas to San Antonio - they had no football, and it was an immediate success. Is there a major difference between playing beach VB and hard court? Yes, the jumping technique is entirely different - and some beach players have trouble adapting to hard court, as a result. Mike ended his talk by recounting how different it was to play with some of the Rat Pack!
Mike O’’Gara, thanks for an informative visit - come back anytime, please.