Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Wednesday, July 17, 1996

Cindy Luis is on vacation


Volleyball fans
can really dig this fantasy

THINK of it as the chance to join the other 94 percent of the population who, statistics say, live vicariously through sports. Of being a spectator who goes into a virtual-reality arena for some hands-on experience in digging, spiking and serving.

It's called the Rainbow Volleyball Adult Dream Camp, a week-long fantasy session with the VolleyBows that is guaranteed to have you appreciating the sport from the ground up.

Some 50 adventurous souls turned up Monday night at the Special Events Arena for the inaugural camp. The only house rules Coach Mike Wilton had were "no swearing" and "have fun."

"You won't be treated any differently than my players are at our practices," he told the group. "Just respect your fellow players and we'll all have a good time."

This was served up with a big smile from the former Marine.

There were a smattering of Yuval-wannabes, people who can - and obviously still do - play. Wilton's wife, Kuulei, was unexpectedly recruited to fill out one of the experienced teams. Court shoes in the trunk are a way of life when you're a volleyball family. Rainbow hitter Aaron Wilton coached one of the intermediate groups, helped out by younger brother Mike.

IF golf has hackers, the volleyball equivalent must be "smackers." Consider it onomatopoetic license to describe the sound of hitting the ball after your approach lifts you an inch off the ground.

This "One, two, three, four" when trying to get the footwork down AND concentrate on the big white ball arching your way is no easy feet, er, feat.

Playing for St. Agnes School 30 years ago was never like this.

"Is this fun or what?" asked Bill Wells, trying to disguise himself as a beginner.

Wells' son Brian was a member of the UCLA team that defeated Hawaii for the national championship last May.

"Everyone thinks I taught Brian everything he knows," said Wells, who brought along his lifetime doubles partner, wife Terry. "Helloooo. It's not quite like that. We haven't told Brian we're doing this and we're trying to keep it a secret. We hope that by the time he comes home, we'll be experts and can go at it with him.

"But wasn't this neat to come back and be taught by all those wonderful players who took second place?"

It was Wells' best dig of the night.

Craig Choate, the women's coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is spending his vacation here helping out Wilton, a longtime friend.

"I'm kind of surprised about that skill level," said Choate. "The top group is better than I expected and the bottom groups are fun because everything I've said, they've listened to. I'm used to talking to a 14-year-old and getting this stare like you don't quite know if she's paying attention or just scared of you. The adults listen and they talk back."

IT was Wilton who listened when coming up with the idea of an adult camp. He had numerous calls from people saying, 'Hey, you've got the youth camps. How about something for us adults?'"

"We weren't sure how many people would come out," he said. "Any time you start something new, it takes a while to build up. This is actually a pretty terrific turnout for a first-time thing. From what I see, everyone's having a good time."

Much like the interest in Rainbow men's volleyball, Wilton has seen the interest in his youth camp grow. In 1993, he had 18 campers; this year's numbers are 300-plus for two camps.

"The youth thing has really taken off. We'll have to see about the adults," said Wilton, a new grandfather.

Daughter Jenny and husband Harold Cabbab, a former UH baseball player, welcomed Taylor Emily last week.

There are two more adult sessions, July 22-26, and July 29-Aug. 2, both running 6-9 p.m. nightly. The cost is $120.

For a good time, call 956-4505.



Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter. Her column appears weekly.




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