We Melburnians love to play sport, and beach volleyball is no exception. Imagine playing beach volleyball to help raise awareness of mental health issues for a Melbourne based not for profit organisation for free...you would jump at this opportunity wouldn't you? Of course you would.
Fellow team mate at work for the YABI St Kilda Beach Volleyball team, and he was a sensational server too
This is where the YABI St Kilda Beach volleyball team comes into play (sorry, no pun intended.) The YABI St Kilda Beach volleyball team has been playing beach volleyball at St Kilda Beach every Tuesday night since early February this year, and they will keep doing so until the middle of April when the current beach volleyball season comes to an end due to the cooler weather. When the new season after this current one kicks off again in November, the YABI St Kilda Beach volleyball team will be out in full swing once again.
One of the perks of being a leisure and lifestyle freelance writer is that I do receive many different invites to experience many different leisure and lifestyle experiences on the house, and last night (at the time of writing this) I was given a golden opportunity to play beach volleyball for the YABI St Kilda Beach volleyball team. Team YABI plays for free while other groups (usually groups of friends getting together) need to pay $20 per person per session in order to compete and enjoy beach volleyball at St Kilda Beach every Tuesday night, and this includes a team pizza to share together with a free drink for every player at the end of the night located at the nearby Republica restaurant.
The yummy pizza and glass of red I enjoyed in great company after the matches
You might be at this point wondering what YABI is all about. YABI is all about helping young people (generally targeted towards those between the ages of 18-30) who suffer from various mental illnesses from depression and bipolar disorders to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by promoting awareness through healthy and positive activities. YABI is all about helping young people who have suffered and are currently suffering from a mental illness become a success both professionally and through their leisure time, and this is where YABI is involved in many different team sports. Their recent initiative (organised by one of YABI's directors, Jordy Heis) is the formation of their own beach volleyball team at St Kilda Beach thanks to Vic Beach.
Last night at 6:20pm I was wearing my YABI St Kilda Beach volleyball team uniform (black t-shirt) ready to play and help the YABI Beach Volleyball team win as many games as possible. Due to not having played beach volleyball for a long, long time this proved to be quite a challenge in itself. One minute our serves were spectacular, while at other times it was a real challenge getting the ball over the net as the strong winds made it difficult to play, yet despite this every team had heaps of fun. As part of team YABI (last night, at the time of writing this) I helped the team win some sets as well as lose a few as well.
It does not matter what skill level you are at when it comes to playing beach volleyball, every one is welcome. There was no rest for the wicked as there were only four of us playing, yet a couple of the other teams had more of a luxury where their members could sit out and rest briefly, with another member to replace them on the sand at any given moment. At one moment I had no choice but to sit out due to feeling unfit (despite being a long distance runner) and I also needed to take some photos for this article conversely. Thankfully I was fighting fit two minutes later.
All teams congratulated each other for great play, and everyone down here is really supportive of new beach volleyball players every Tuesday night at St Kilda Beach, including towards yours truly. If my first two serves did not go over the net or were too wide, I was given one last chance to get my current serve in. One of the umpires was giving me a bit of coaching on hitting the ball without needing to swing your arms up and down, of which is a common habit for brand new beach volleyball players to do when starting out. Not to mention falling over into the sand a few times. This was part of the fun as well.
You do not have to be suffering with a mental illness to participate in beach volleyball with the YABI St Kilda Beach volleyball team, and you do not have to have suffered a mental illness in the past in order to take part either. It would be a good idea to contact the YABI Beach Volleyball team on their Facebook page if you wish to participate and/or support YABI and their initiative just by having heaps of fun. That's right, just for playing beach volleyball at popular St Kilda Beach that is. A great opportunity to make yourself (and someone else) feel great at the same time. An awesome idea in itself.
It was awesome unwinding at Republica at the end of play