Beach volleyball 101

Rule No. 12: If you win four or more consecutive games, preferably by shutout, you haven’t had enough to drink.

The arrival of spring break sends students everywhere scattering to sandy beaches, one step closer to the equator and another step closer to skin cancer. Don’t worry, I’m not going to lecture on why you should wear sunscreen, but I will advise you to make sports part of your vacation.

Even if you don’t make it to a Grapefruit and Cactus League baseball game, the beaches of Mexico, Panama and the Caribbean Sea have plenty of sports to offer.

Amid football, Frisbee and countless others, no beach sport can compare to beach volleyball. Clad in nothing but a bathing suit with the sun above your head and the sand under your feet, a game of beach volleyball is a must. To maximize the enjoyment of all players, we need to go over a few rules before you step foot on the court.

1. You must have beautifully bronzed skin. Minnesotans are exempt from this rule because we have a window of precisely one week in late August to get a tan.

2. You must have rock-hard abs. College students are exempt from this rule because spending long winters drinking indoors doesn’t enhance physical fitness.

3. You must have supercool sunglasses. College students are also exempt from this rule because of insufficient funds to purchase anything better than what the gas station has to offer.

4. When you get to the court, have a teammate with you and wait your turn. The other spring breakers have waited patiently through a dozen drinks and symptoms of heatstroke for a chance to play – join the club.

5. Don’t serve the ball high into the sky, because there is nothing worse than looking directly into the sun with a splitting hangover.

6. Don’t bring food to the court. Food will attract birds, and the beautiful white sand is white enough.

7. If you make a great play, don’t brag or gloat, because the hot body contest will steal your spotlight in a matter of minutes.

8. Don’t use profanity or trash talk to other players. While beach volleyball is competitive, the most important part of the game is having fun.

9. Wear sunscreen (I broke my promise) and wipe off any sand that gets stuck to your body. The only thing worse than frying your skin to a lobster red is spending the rest of the week with white splotches where the sand stuck to your back.

10. If you spike the ball into another player’s face, it is your duty to buy him or her a beverage of his or her choice as a peace offering.

11. If you take a swing at a ball and miss, you’ve had too much to drink. Fraternity boys are exempt from this rule, because “too much” is not in the fraternity vocabulary. (As an aside, I’m in a fraternity.)

12. If you win four or more consecutive games, preferably by shutout, you haven’t had enough to drink.

So between clubbing, tanning, sleeping, drinking, swimming and taking long afternoon siestas, try to squeeze in a game of volleyball. If anything, think of it as a way to keep up with all of the hard work you put in at the recreation center before break. Have a safe, fun and happy spring break, and don’t forget to send a postcard to Minnesota and give the Irish a kiss Thursday.

Mike Durkin welcomes comments at [email protected]