It’s been a year. My goodness, remember when we thought the biggest news would be our President’s impeachment trials? Or that Kobe’s death would be the lowlight of 2020? And remember when most of us weren’t so worried about that distant, overseas “Coronavirus?” Yikes.
But this year, along with great tragedy and unpredictability, has made us realize how sports brought us all together. How athletes could use their voice for causes close to their hearts. How a young college girl with a heavy leg played with the boys. How organizations dreamed up new and safe ways for athletes to compete.
The year commenced with a contentious Olympic race, including many AVP teams in the running for the coveted Team USA Olympic bid. We were gearing up for a neck-and-neck battle to the Games, and then everything shut down. The NBA announced on March 11 their postponements and almost every other league right after.
I detail the Olympic timeline here, and really not much has changed. But a ton happened in the AVP world, even in the worst global pandemic in recent history. To finish the year, let’s look back.
March 17: The AVP postpones events in Huntington Beach, CA and New York, NY and cancels events in Austin, TX, Seattle, WA
March 24: Olympics postponed.
April 22: The AVP officially cancels the New York City Open.
June 1: The AVP tells the athletes they’re suspending all fan-attended AVP pro events for 2020. All along, the AVP let the athletes know of impending news before it was made public.
June 17: The AVP Champions Cup Series is announced to the athletes. It’s rolled out in full to the public later that week.
July 3: Champions Cup Series athlete registration closes.
July 7: First Mandatory Covid-19 test. In case anyone was wondering, this was the most painful of the four – a swab right to the brain. But we got to stay in our cars, which was fun.
July 13: Second Mandatory Covid-19 test. The testing method changed this week; the swab was taken orally and just tickled a bit.
July 17: The Champions Cup Series begins with a grueling Qualifier. Sean Rosenthal gets hurt and is out for the season. Crissy Jones and Traci Callahan begin their stellar season by qualifying for the first event.
July 18-19: The Monster Hydro Cup kicks off the three-event series. April and Alix get their first win alongside Phil and Nick.
July 20: Third mandatory Covid-19 test.
July 24: The Wilson Cup Qualifier brings Main Draw regulars Emily Day and Lauren Fendrick, and Ricardo “The Wall” Santos back to the Main Draw.
July 25-26: On the weekend that would have begun the Olympics, AVP athletes competed for the Wilson Cup. The finals were, expectedly, a set of matches that may have been played in Tokyo – April and Alix vs. Sarah and Mel; and then Phil and Nick vs. Jake and Taylor. The A-Team and Phil/Nick notched their second Cups. Phil’s victory was his 100th career win, one of the most impressive feats of the year.
July 27: Fourth and final Covid-19 test. Four for the three-week event made sure the site stayed Covid-free. In all four tests, not a single person tested positive. I guess with only three tournaments for the entire year, athletes remained REAL safe so they wouldn’t be excluded.
July 30: Trevor Crabb guarantees the Porsche Cup win via an Instagram post.
July 31: Porsche Cup Qualifier occurs. The summation of Qualifiers was comprised of many different stories. Stafford Slick and Billy Allen qualified for the first and last Main Draw. Ricardo and Miles Evans qualified for the second and third Main Draws. Crissy Jones and Traci Callahan are the only qualifying team to earn a spot in all three. Sheila Shaw and Kenzie Ponnet qualify for the first time in the final event.
August 1-2: The third and final AVP event brings draaaammaaaa. First, Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne got the (unexpected win) over the dominant Phil and Nick. Trevor made good on his promise by handing Phil and Nick their first defeat in 2020. Then April and Alix continued their domination over Olympic hopefuls Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes. The A-Team went 12-0 on the year and swept the Champions Cup series, dropping only 3 sets and winning 24. Unreal.
And that about sums it up. Since then, the FDA has approved vaccines for the mass public meanwhile we’ve been revamping AVPFirst and planning for next year. But for a year with such incredible obstacles, what the AVP accomplished is nothing short of miraculous. Three events, no positive COVID-19 tests, very few injuries, fantastic storylines. Even though the domination from two teams was so fun to watch, the fulfillment of Trevor Crabb’s social media promise had to be the highlight. That was a gutsy move, and he delivered in a big way. Right when we thought something could be predicted in 2020, the Hawaiians proved us wrong. So fun.
This was my first year writing for the AVP, and of course, it looked much different than I’d anticipated. With a lack of events and news, you’d think it was hard to create content. But I’ve been surprised at how much there was to say. The AVP is made up of some characters – both people inside the organization and those that love it. The sport has endless aspects to research and detail; the people who play it are ceaselessly fascinating and fun to write about. I want to thank everyone for sticking with the AVP this year, for sticking with me as I’ve detailed the goings-on. 2020 has been a rollercoaster; can’t wait to see what 2021 holds.