Mud pit volleyball

After rounds, we went to the fair.

Who knew what we’d find there!

But a volleyball flood

Made a pit full of mud

There was plenty of fun to spare.

Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, travelled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I went back to adventures in temporary positions until they have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system I can get along with. A winter in Nome, Alaska, assignments in rural Iowa, a summer with a bike tour in Michigan, and Urgent Care in suburban Pennsylvania stretched into the fall. Last winter I worked western Nebraska and coastal Alaska.  After the birth of our first grandchild, I returned to Nebraska. My wife’s brain tumor put all other plans on hold.  Any identifiable patient information has been included with permission. 


I made Saturday hospital rounds on three patients, discharging one, getting another ready for discharge, and continuing treatment for rather serious illness in a third.

We went over to the Farmer’s Market. We arrived too late to get the tomatoes that we crave, and our current cooking facilities (a microwave oven) wouldn’t let us take advantage of the good ranch chickens on sale, but we bought a cantaloupe driven in from Rocky Ford in Colorado.

Afterwards, Bethany and I headed out to a nearby (a relative term in western Nebraska) county fair.

A county with a small population holds a small county fair, one which we can circumnavigate on foot with no problem. We saw prize-winning cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and rabbits.  We took in the exhibit hall and learned about elk and the importance of solitary bees.

Despite seeing a lot of mounted people and we arrived too early for rodeo.

But we found a couple of volley ball games in full swing.

As near as I can tell, there are three kinds of volleyball: indoor, beach, and mud pit. And I hadn’t known about mud pit volleyball before today.

Imagine a beach volleyball court excavated to a depth of 5 feet and filled knee deep with water. Participants might wear sneakers or they might go barefoot.  As the event progresses, the water gets muddier and the bottom gets more slippery and uneven.  Those inherent difficulties of trying to move radically change the character of the game, and Newton’s Laws bring a comic flavor.  Diving doesn’t work, and only the foolhardy jump.  If the ball comes to you, great, and if it doesn’t you don’t have a lot of choices.  I saw a lot of unintended slapstick comedy, including an all-out pratfall with both feet off the ground, a short-lived full water clearance, and a high-splash back-flop (like a belly flop but on the other side).  Eventually, those at the sides of the pits started to slide towards the middle.  The wind, always a factor on the Great Plains, gave a distinct advantage to one side. 

They say that the more seriously you take something, the less fun you have doing it. And I think those teams who lost had just as much fun as those who won.



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2 Responses to “Mud pit volleyball”

  1. Dr John Redwine Says:

    Brings back many memories of my childhood spent in a very small town in western Kansas where the wind never stops “and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

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