On Wednesday, friends, family, teammates, and coaches gathered to celebrate Lancer athletes committed to play sports at the collegiate level, which included our very own Nick Gustafson. Nick will be playing at MIT, and studying computer science. He has been an invaluable player, teammate, and friend to many in our program throughout the years. Nick, congratulations again.
While Nick going to MIT is indeed an amazing accomplishment, on Thursday he achieved something that is arguably more impressive. Nick clinched the inaugural Parker Volleyball Short Court Championship with a fifth game victory over Andreas. The series favored Andreas 2-1 before Game 4, but Nick battled back and forced a fifth game, as well as few changes.
Because Andreas attributes every loss to perceived bias from a nonexistent official
(#dontlosewithaRef), and because Nick cannot be trusted to make correct calls, the boys agreed to retain an actual official, one might say an official official, for their final game. She acquiesced with the stipulation that the boys closely read the longstanding and not written the day of rules, as well as the standard and not made up short court sportsmanship scale.
Despite emailing both Nick and the official to remind them that the agreed upon start time was 3:10, Andreas started the match with a yellow card for delay for being two minutes late. After a timed warmup and a reminder that trash talk was acceptable as long as it was normal (Andreas), and the official’s calls were final and not to be argued (Nick), the game began. The score went back and forth. Rallies were filled with taunts, tools, and indecision about whether or not to block. Andreas eventually took a small lead, which led Nick to invoke the scoring extension, making the game to 15 instead of 11. It looked as if Andreas was on the cusp of victory.
However, Nick soon tied it up, and Andreas took his timeout, a rule he made up in the middle of the previous game. In the brief interview that occurred during the timeout, Nick delivered his classic line: “I’m not worried.” When the timeout concluded, a shocking development occurred. For safety reasons, Coach Herman added the rule that the players were not allowed to even touch the center line with their feet. This brought backlash, because if Nick can’t keep himself from touching the net every other block, how was he going to stay off the center line? Nevertheless, in the interest of keeping the game going, the boys conceded.
Bijan was retained as a down official, in charge of calling the new infraction. However, five seconds into the first rally, the head official realized she had made a horrible mistake as Bijan would completely ignore when Nick touched the line earlier in the rally in favor of shouting when Andreas did it later on. Therefore, she decided to only call the violation if the whole foot went under. Nick now had the lead. His scoring progress was helped by the fact that he actually served the ball in and hindered by losing the point when he netted. The official would like to remind Andreas that he would have been down by a lot more without the official because we all know Nick never would have called these, so can he please keep that in mind.
Serving became crucial at the end. Nick had match point, and Andreas was back at the line. His ball floated up, and landed, from the official’s perspective, out of bounds. She initially called the match in Nick’s favor, but immediately realized she must have been wrong after seeing Nick’s demeanor, which was devoid of his boisterous celebration that always follows a point he wins. Because she had seen the ball out, because the gym was not equipped with the camera capability for a challenge system, and because Bijan would have called it for Nick if it was five feet in, she decided replay was the fairest way to proceed. Andreas disagreed, and spent some time arguing the play—did he read the rules?—but the decision was final. Nick eventually won the point, the match, and the championship, making him the unequivocal and inaugural Parker Volleyball Short Court Champion for the 2019 season. Congratulations Nick!by Sam Deddeh