A London’s Calling: “An American's Quick Reference Guide to British Beach Volleyball Lingo” by Rich Lanzone

A London’s Calling: “An American’s Quick Reference Guide to British Beach Volleyball Lingo” by Rich Lanzone

Nope… I was not going to wait for the TV broadcast. Too many times, I have done that only to be “informed” through the ESPN scrolling toolbar headlines or AOL Updates (“Spoiler Alert”)and such on who won in important volleyball matches over the past week even before I even got to watch them. Today, that was not going to happen; with a high speed computer, the quickest internet connection affordable, and an HD 3D monitor I was going to be treated to the real live Gold medal women’s beach volleyball match between both USA Olympic Teams; number 1(May/Treanor-Walsh/Jennings) and number 2(Kessy/Ross); and to top it off, an American announcer to heighten the experience!

Computer, Internet and monitor-check!

Americans in the final (gold and silver guaranteed)-check!

Comfy chair-Check!

American Flag-Check!

Marlowe/Wong or Holly/Karch (I know I am really reaching!) broadcasting- No check…WHAT!

I really did not expect a Brit to be announcing the streaming video of the gold medal match in women’s beach volleyball. You would think an American’s voice would be a “sure thing” to be heard just as an American women’s team was a sure thing to bring home beach gold. Yet the former did not happen. I don’t know who he even was. I originally thought someone hijacked the audio feed and performed a Howard Sternish takeover when the bold English accent came booming over my computer speakers. Then I quickly remembered this is the London Olympics and a Brit should be calling the game; and as it turned out, this became the “treat” although unexpectedly. There was a genuine charm to the play calling almost as if I was sitting next to the bloke as we both watched and commented on the competition. I hung on every description in order to get an early sense of the match as to which team was going to gain the momentum, the edge, and the inside track to the gold. Then, I was overcome with a heavy sense of culture meeting history, one that needed to be noted.

If you happened to catch the “live ish” video feed, I hope you were captured also by the authentic interpretation of the Olympic Women’s Beach Finals…I know, I was! So much so that after watching and listening for just a few minutes, I just had to go grab a marble notebook and pen to start jotting down some of the unique British Beach Volleyball Vernacular used to describe the May/Treanor-Walsh/Jennings golden performance over Kessy and Ross.


Please enjoy “My Top Ten” list of British play calls made during the match with its American translations:

1) “Back Door”-An attack/spike/shot into opponents’ court between the 2 defenders
2) “Time and space”- Free ball with a late blocker on the other side=terminal play
3) “Launch another attack”-Attempt a spike
4) “Downing Street side”-The bad side
5) “Last stage of its flight”-Ball floats down at the last moment to hit the back line on a serve-ace
6) “Soft point for May/Walsh”-Kerri/Misty get a point on a Jen/April error
7) “Kerri rescues the situation”-Kerri going on two
8) “Disguised hit”-Pokey into the corner
9) “It’s blocked out”-Kerri blocks a ball actually into opponents’ court in for a defensive point
10) “Olympic Hat-Trick” –Athens, Bejing, and London


I hope you enjoyed this…looking forward to Rio in 4 years!

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