CLARK MCQUAY led the Pledge. LENNY (he’s a real gem) FRIEDMAN and PP JIM DOWNIE lead us through that old favorite (because we know the words), “You’re A Grand Ole Flag.” SHANE WAARBROEK provided the Invocation, with some choice words from President Teddy Roosevelt about service (by those more fortunate than the majority) above self. We then engaged in a moment of silence for the recent loss of Mildred Dressner, SOL DRESSNER’s wife.
PREXY DON announced that: (1) BETTY WOODWORTH is recovering nicely at home from emergency surgery; (2) RICK LIVERMORE had a stroke while playing his favorite pastime, lawn bowling, and while recovering at home he cannot drive and is thus on medical leave from the WVRC; and (3) ELLIOTT (rascal) TURNER will miss a few meetings due to his recent hip surgery. If the WVRC is any indication, the medical profession is alive and well.
RALPH BEASOM had the pleasure of reporting that there were no visiting Rotarians at our meeting (Don, isn’t it a bit early in your tenure for the word to be out?). We did, however, have quite a number of guests present: (1) Yoshi Nishio (son-in-law of PP RUDY ALVAREZ); (2) Hilla Dotan (another guest of PP RUDY ALVAREZ); (3) Ed Wright (re-visiting us as a Special Guest of NICK KAHRILAS); and (4) Peter Tomarran (a Special Guest of SHANE WAARBROEK).
PP STEVE SCHERER interrupted the proceedings to inform PREXY DON and the rest of us that AL BELLANCA had won a lot of money yesterday playing golf! It turned out that all of $12 was won (we hope Steve’s clients are more well endowed), so PREXY DON went easy and only fined AL BELLANCA $2.
Speaking of golfer AL BELLANCA, he, our YMCA’s ANN SAMSON and fellow golfer CLARK MCQUAY graced us at the head table as the athletic representatives of the WVRC (WVRC’s ranks of athletes must be as thin as the Book of Jewish Sports Heroes). Tennis aficionado and PP CHRIS GAYNOR was also at the head table to introduce our speaker.
PREXY DON announced that: (1) the President of Rotary International, Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar, will be speaking at a UCLA Faculty Club dinner on August 10th (the charge is $40; see PP RUDY ALVAREZ if interested in attending); (2) the WVRC has its own District 5280 Passport which we are encouraged to take when making up at other clubs in the District (the club with the most entries will receive an award; see ERNIE WOLFE to get the Passport); and (3) the Redondo Beach Rotary Club is sponsoring a charity event at the Redondo Beach Lagoon Saturday, July 30th ($20 admission).
PREXY DON then caught TONY MARONI unawares, who after standing up upon request blurted, “What the hell is going on?” (Tony, we wonder about this all the time, but life just keeps going on without answering the question). Tony, however, must have known this was coming, as he confirmed that he had just returned from a National Review Celtic Cruise (with lots of booze) of England, Ireland and Scotland. TONY MARONI also got off lightly, being fined only $50.
PP RUDY ALVAREZ showed off and rang his (18 months in the making) Rotary Centennial Bell from Osaka, Japan. In addition to a relief of the Rotary Centennial Emblem, the bell also showed off a “Racing with Rudy” logo. PP RUDY then regaled us with a slideshow of the Demotion Party (which was predominated with photos and drawings of his Corvette).
PP CHRIS GAYNOR introduced our Speaker, Andy Rief, the COO and CFO of AVP, Inc., which owns and operates the Pro Volleyball Tour in the United States. The 2005 Tour consists of 14 tournaments this Summer in various parts of the USA, which will result in a Men’s and Women’s Championship team (they are 2 person teams). Pro Volleyball had its start in Manhattan & Hermosa Beaches, and in Santa Barbara. The Manhattan Beach Volleyball Open started in the 1940’s. Pro Volleyball has been a beach lifestyle sport, with the players playing the role of the Greek Gods of the beach.
The AVP (Association of Volleyball Players) was formed in 1983 by the players, who wanted to take control of the tournaments away from promoters and to be financially rewarded for their efforts. The AVP enjoyed great success until the latter 90’s, when they alienated tour sponsor Miller Lite, which withdrew its support (resulting in NBC and the other sponsors also pulling out). The AVP went bankrupt in 1999.
The investment group to which Andy Rief belongs bought the AVP in 2001, after securing contractual commitments from the major players that they would only play in AVP sanctioned tournaments (the contracts run through 2008). The group took AVP public in February, 2005 (NBC and FSN are equity partners; the athletes were given stock options). Although there are over 200 atheletes who are members of AVP, only the top 24 make a comfortable living (the prize money has risen from $500,000 to $3 million).
AVP’s revenues are primarily generated through advertising (they also make money from ticket sales and ancillary (trademark) sales). AVP promotes a beach environment which appeals to a young demographic (which the advertising dollars are chasing after). AVP embeds ads in its programs (e.g., players leaping off of Nissan trucks to take the (sand) field). AVP hopes to continue growing its business by adding more tournaments each summer, and by increasing its television audience share.
PREXY DON left us with the following thought to ponder: If you opened your day doing nothing, how do you know when you’re done? Well, I think I’m done.