Just think of the lifestyle of a pro beach volleyball player. Your office is the beach...you travel all over the world...and you work in board shorts or a bikini, with thousands of admiring fans cheering you on. Sound like a dream job? It does to me, let me tell you about one guy living this very dream.
I remember conversations with a former roomie of mine over 10 years ago. He was a smart, very likable guy that I expected would find success in whatever he ended up doing in life....but I never expected it would be in his dream to be a pro beach volleyball player. Jake was athletic, but at over 20 years old had never played volleyball other then on occasion with friends. When we talked about dreams I remember him saying that he couldn't think of any greater dream job than playing pro beach volleyball. I even remember him liking to read magazines about beach volleyball but I probably dismissed Jake's chances of reaching his dream about as quickly as I had dismissed my own dream of learning to play guitar and write songs.
I heard people start talking about him as a good sand volleyball player in Utah several years after I had lost touch with Jake. Several guys I met and played sand volleyball with in my hometown St George sometime around 2001 or so told me they had seen Jake participate in the small Utah events, and that he had earned the respect of his peers and was known to be the best sand player in Utah by that time.
However, when I read about him in the newspaper taking 3rd place in a pro beach volleyball event I was still very much surprised. This would have been some time in 2003, and since that time I have watched him on national television on many occasions playing at the top competitive level there is. He has been league MVP, top money earner, and has been recognized here in the US and internationally as one of the top players in the world. You will be hearing his name this coming summer as he is poised to represent the United States in the Olympic Games in China.
I'm writing about this because Jake has been a great inspiration to me. To have known him when pretty much nobody but Jake himself believed he was capable of achieving a dream that seemed so improbable for a guy that grew up living in Utah, far away from the beaches and the best opportunities to nurture his dream, and then seeing him defy the odds and probably a lot of doubt from people around him and achieve his dream....what can you say?
Jake's a stud, I had the chance to see him briefly at an AVP event a couple years ago, and we have kept in touch a bit through email....but other than that he mostly just inspires me by his continued success in his unlikely rise to success in his ultimate "dream job". I know his wife believed in him, and helped him in achieving his dream....but it takes a lot of inner fortitude to rise to the level of success Jake has through such an unlikely path.
for more information on pro beach volleyball in the US. and here
for information on international pro beach volleyball.
What is more inspiring than a guy living the dream?
This song is my ode to "living the dream". Inspired by some of my fondest memories with friends.
A Few More Days in Paradise Please