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Month: March 2020

“Set One” — Lesson One

For seasoned athletes, despite age and also a relentless clock, the imperative would be to stay the course. There must not be an expiration date stamped within the psyche, either self-imposed or by public affirmation. Put one way, if an individual enjoys a wholesome mind and body, if joints still flex with relative relaxation, one can possibly play until Medicare begins, along with many, well beyond that venerable age. For its many devotees, it is actually a sport with the ages! The game from the high net, an unexpectedly fine, vigorous and competitive sport, when played well, when played through the rules. The uninitiated need only watch college volleyball or professional beach or Olympic volleyball.

To illustrate and cite an exemplary here’s an example, Steve and Gigi have played for a long time, since 1974 for being accurate. The great game is constantly consume their disposable discretion. For them, it’s really a kind of obsession, and another that has continued unabated for over 40 years. Now at 72, Steve, and 68, Gigi, they’re still in the grip.

Obsession is definitely an apt description. In a means, everthing began in the bell, a phone bell, and being a current between extremes, it appears always to race between foreboding and hopeful anticipation. Spurred by that opening bell, they soon became prizefighters fired with passion, roped in, initially through the idea, in the long run, consumed from the game itself, obsessed.

The ringing telephone was loud and insistent. Steve refused to advance. Glaring with annoyance in their eyes, Gigi drop a book and walked quickly, almost ran to subdue the obnoxious thing.

“Shall I just have it?” she asked with extravagant sarcasm. “Yes, hullo!”

Steve paid no attention to begin with, irritated because of the instrument’s persistence, its capacity to interrupt.

“Oh, hi John. What? Yeah, we’re both fine, just going out. How’s Joan? That’s good.”

Steve’s attention moved slowly, as did his gaze, to your conversation that’s one-sided and cryptic. Her eyes widened. She turned. She paced.

“You think we have to do what?” Gigi asked in to the instrument, a matter wrapped in incredulity, yet having a rising a higher level excitement. Enthusiasm did actually boost the current running with the wire.

“What,” he stated. Who is that?” The question fell flat as though inaudible, trivial.

“Join a league? Couples, co-ed. Yeah, I played slightly in school. Steve? No. I don’t think so. Maybe at picnics, or even in the backyard with family.”

“What did I do outside?” he asked. Another feckless question, no reply expected or given.

“That sounds just great,” Gigi said with growing excitement. “Where? And it starts in January? That’s later! Yeah, yeah… exercise, something we are able to do as couples with friends. OK, great! Alright, we’ll talk on Monday and you could let us know some time and schedule.” She hung up the unit.

“Was that John O’Connor?” Steve asked. “What have you been talking about? What league?”

“I just adore the idea,” Gigi replied. “Yeah, that it was John. You and I, the O’Connors plus the Keegan’s will play volleyball in a very co-ed league. The six of people. We start the following month. We’ll play with a north side school. It’s near Sherman on Green Tree Road.”

“Wait a few minutes,” Steve began. “We’ve never played. We don’t have in mind the game. Do they have strict rules? Are the other teams from the league experienced, talented? How am i going to make it happen?”

“Ach… don’t fret,” said Gigi. “I played in school, and we’ll learn. We’ll advance. It’ll be exciting. We’ll have exercise, time with friends. It’ll be terrific. I’m really getting excited about this. Aren’t you?”

“Volleyball,” he stated, a substantial note of apprehension in their tone. “A league,” he continued, much sigh punctuating. And which was the sum total of the objection or argument he may have offered in opposition. But, inside privacy of his thoughts, there was clearly this: “I’m married for, what, four roughly months. I’m just acclamating yourself with things. Now I’m in a very volleyball league. How long will this last. My god, life’s a runaway freight train; it moves along far too fast!”

Despite an inauspicious beginning, reluctance around the part of a minumum of one participant, their volleyball-playing career, one which would last for forty years and beyond, began in 1974.

It was a student in early September of these year. Six novices appeared over a wood-plank floor with the gymnasium of an north side Milwaukee school, some nervous, some calm and confident. They arranged, three right in front and three from the back row. They knew a whole lot of. The opposition won the very first service. The ball would be a meteor, something shot coming from a cannon. One with the six made experience of the ball, palms up, lifting the volleyball a number of feet skyward. It dropped on the floor, between back and front rows of players. Even the ball seemed embarrassed.

A shrill whistle wrenched their collective attention in the shock on the serve and its particular feckless receipt for the referee’s ladder of authority. “Illegal hit,” the referee shouted. She descended, viewed each in the six in return and asked, “Has some of you ever played volleyball before?” The question was wound inside a thread of astonishment.

“Uh, certainly not. I mean, some people played slightly in secondary school, but that’s a while ago.” The reply got their start in Gigi.

“Well,” the referee began, having a nod of apology towards the opposing team, now standing and staring in the neophytes, arms akimbo, a glance of supreme annoyance on their own collective expression. “The initial thing you should know about league volleyball, and also the rules that apply, is basically that you receive a service together with your arms outstretched this way, hands clasped together in a roundabout way.” She demonstrated the “passing” technique, tossing a volleyball to each consequently so that they could understand the proper arms and hands configuration. “And after you set the ball for your hitter, you might not catch and toss the ball, instead… well, allow me to show you.” She demonstrated the “setting” technique.

None of these recalls that first outing with sense at all of joy or satisfaction, when they were destroyed, unremittingly. They expressed because of that kind and patient referee, and then towards the opposing team members, when they slunk away through the court that first, fateful evening of league volleyball. They may donrrrt you have scored an individual point, unless their opponents made one. Even that possibility is lost — probably by design — for the element of memory that protects one’s fragile psyche.

“Set Two” — The Birth of “Poet’s Pride”

Steve met brothers Mike and Jimmy Keegan in a day camp sometime ago. The four ones — two teams of young brothers — were all close in age, plus a lasting friendship between and included in this began automatically. Little did they do know, then, how volleyball would bond their friendship much more tightly.

At 8:00 PM possibly even the following day, Thursday, the phone announced its summons, inserting remember to Steve’s ears a tone of urgency, possibly fomenting unpleasantness. As usual, he remained unmoved. Gigi raced toward the repulsive instrument. “Hullo.”

Gigi’s audible half with the conversation was as usual provocative, causing Steve to get aside a novel. She began, “Hi Mike. They are? You’re kidding. I didn’t realize that. Wow, that’s great. And they’re ready to work with us? Oh, that’s terrific. When? Saturday! Where?”

“Huh?” Steve asked. A rare reaction, unknown for laconic discourse.

Returning towards the living room, the echoing “Huh” and Steve, Gigi said, “Jimmy and Carol are fantastic volleyball players. They’ve been playing league volleyball for many years. That’s what Mike called to inform us.”

“Yeah,” Steve responded. What does that mean for many people?”

“They’re ready to coach us, teach us the way to play, the best way to bump and hang. Drills. We’re meeting them at (a west side Middle School) on Saturday at 11:00 within the morning. The six of people… and Jimmy and Carol obviously. This is just great!”

Steve said, “Yeah, but… ”

“I’m calling Joan,” said Gigi, as she walked clear of his unheeded beginning of an protest, a questioning from a Saturday plans they can have made, obligations. Steve’s mouth remained open, silent and ineffectual, his hand raised, index finger pointing upward, a mime hailing a cab.

Saturday arrived. Steve and Gigi, having donned shorts and sweat pants, T-shirts and sneakers, motored off for the school, named to get a famous poet. There were eight gathered for the floor in the “borrowed” gymnasium. They greeted the other person. The women chatted. The men were wanting to begin “the lesson,” in addition the work out portion of “volleyball camp 101.”

Jimmy seized everyone’s attention without preamble. In a commanding voice shortly fater he began, “First i want to show you the proper way to bump-pass a volleyball. You can practice this jointly, or against a wall. It’s a great drill. I suggest you make this happen a lot.” He demonstrated. “Here’s how you get a serve. It’s really important to pass through the ball correctly for a setter. Remember, all this begins while using pass. I mean, in the event you pass the ball correctly for the setter, she, or he, may then set to 1 of your hitters. If you do it right, in case you start having a good pass, the remaining flows easily. You’ll score points.”

They drilled, and drilled that first day of practice. They passed to the other person, passed against walls to themselves. For Steve — the wall, a garage roof, the side of any building, his wife, Gigi — all became frequent training partners.

Carol was, still can be an excellent setter. She demonstrated. “Frame the volleyball similar to this.” She set to herself, hands just above her head, framing, head tilted toward the ceiling. “In a means you almost catch the ball using mainly your thumbs, index and middle fingers. Bend the knees slightly when you are conducting this. Your body form of acts being a torsion spring. Your hands and arms — a single fluid motion — match the ball and send it up towards the hitter. No, no,” she coached, reacting to a single who tried the manner poorly. “Flex your wrists like so. They too obtain the ball in a sort of spring action, almost like catching and passing within the same motion.”

The rest with the novices practiced the tactic. Drilling and passing and setting to one other, to and fro, frequently. “OK,” said Carol. Let’s try and play a casino game. Jimmy and I will stand the six individuals.”

“What!” said Steve, reacting in shock amazement. That’s not fair.” It was. They murdered the “new kids,” the two of these, beating them easily, embarrassingly so. “Good god,” Steve thought to Gigi along with their four partners. “They’re excellent. Unbelievable.” Trite, even so the only words that seemed capable to escape Steve’s flabbergasted brain. “I mean, holy mother of Henry Wadsworth, they beat hell out people. Just the pair of these!”

The practice sessions continued for weeks, stretching into months on the succession of Saturdays. They practiced and drilled and practiced even more. Eventually, they, the six novices, started “obtain it,” to understand and after that execute the passing, setting and hitting techniques. And then they practiced the overhand serve, or perhaps the underhand or sidearm service, and, certainly, receipt of service. They practiced “digging” the ball, or receiving and sending aloft a hard-driven serve, or maybe a hit, spike or kill, aforementioned term now used most widely in volleyball circles, especially by professional announcers. They all truly needed to learn the way to play, properly — unlike “backyard” hacks who “carry” the ball or receive service with feckless, against-the-rules open-handed lifts — but like “real” volleyball players, Olympians and college varsity players and beach volleyball pros. They never stopped practicing and playing, until — like countless who have fallen excited about the game — all six were hopelessly hooked.

The new team of six continued to play inside the Wednesday night league, actually start to win matches, hardly any, but some. They learned a fantastic deal of trivia about volleyball, the net and also the court, its dimensions. The net is concerning 8-feet high, or for being precise, 7′ 11-5/8″ males, 7′ 4-1/8″ for girls. The court is around 60-feel long, 30-feet wide.

As they started to acquire skill from hours of practice and drilling, their confidence grew, along having a certain degree of bravado. They chosen to name that first team. Because from the learning experience, and because the college’s name gave the impression to some of those remarkably obvious, they dubbed themselves, “Poet’s Pride.”

Steve doubted perhaps the namesake would have been proud; more to the point, these were proud of themselves, a pride of lions willing to challenge rivals and pursue their quarry relentlessly. They’d become emboldened, fearless, a band of big cats, strong and proud. The new team wanted symbolic of hard-won skill and determination, an emblem of collective pride. “Wait! T-shirts! We have to have team uniforms,” announced John with authority.

Soon that they team jerseys, green and white “uniforms” using the newly adopted name emblazoned on left chest position in white lettering. Each were built with a number within the back in eight-inch high print, using heat-sealed numerals. They were magnificently attired for battle. Now they besides had the education, the acquired skill, the chutzpah and heart, they the look. Uniforms, unity of purpose, precision and also a keen a sense momentum, a bravado that lasted before the next time these folks were roundly trounced by an opposing team.

The team that vanquished theirs, one memorable occasion contained an amazing oddity. All were mindful of it, but it had been Steve, always bright and observant, who was ready to give voice to his team’s collective astonishment. He discretely talked about the anomalous individual. “See that guy? His name is Milan, I think. Do you know what age he is?”

“Uh, no,” John replied. “But he’s certainly a heckuva lot much older than the rest folks.”

“He’s as part of his mid-forties,” Steve continued.

“Come on,” said John. “I mean, he looks lots older than us, but mid-forties. Can somebody who old really still play league volleyball. I mean, he’s their very best player. He’s exceptional. What a hitter!”

“He’s about 46,” said Steve. “That’s what considered one of his teammates informed me.”

“Holy jumpin’ down and up,” said John. “That’s incredible. Do you think we’ll always be capable of playing volleyball at his age? I mean, that guy plays like he’s 26, not 46. Good god!”

Steve pulled a quizzical face, shrugged and shook his head. “Who knows,” he explained, even as we both considered stare at and admire that “old man,” maybe the best player either of these had experienced, live as well as in person. And he and the team had just beaten Steve’s team flat, so that it is look overly easy.

But then, from the following week’s match, “Poet’s Pride” rebounded. They regained confidence, momentum as well as the winning side with the ledger. Such is the down and up, the adapt of league volleyball play. Win or lose, it didn’t matter around playing, convalescing, gaining experience. In the end, naturally, to a lot of who play competitive sports, winning DOES matter, as well as in time they started win championships. And they won lots of which, as well as useless trophies, eventually replaced by T-shirts, a substantially vaunted and more desirable symbol of volleyball achievement. None of these recalled or maybe cared regarding the win / loss record of this first pivotal season. It launched most of which — some of these — in a lifelong romance, an innamorata, a second love perhaps, but real, enduring and consuming.

“Set Three” — “Sand and Storm”

Not proud of indoor volleyball, exclusively, usually played on hardwood courts, the recently formed team of six chosen to venture into spring / summer sessions, outdoor court play, and ultimately onto the sand of “beach volleyball,” well, to get accurate, sand volleyball, since several courts designed for league play were — and are also increasingly today — in rear or side enclosures of tavern and bar properties. It began inside Summer of 1975. Gigi was pregnant with your ex first child.

Amusingly illustrative of her growing passion for your sport, Gigi had asked her pediatrician, “Can I play volleyball without jeopardizing my baby inside the first trimester? What about the 2nd? The third? Can I dive on the court for hard-hit spikes?” The doctor, while judicious in their advice, from the end gave directly into Gigis interest in truthful answers and compromise.

“Just be aware,” said Dr. Ken. “Do what the body tells you to perform.” Gigi continued to experiment with until each week before she delivered the couple’s first-born child, a daughter. Their teammates bought their newborn daughter a little T-shirt. It was green and white, and imprinted for the left side on the front were the text, “Poet’s Pride.”

Prior with their devotion to sand-court volleyball, from the spring and summer seasons of 1975, “Poet’s Pride” played on green grass and also on asphalt-paved city park playground courts. In one among their outdoor park seasons, teammate, John, caught an out-of-bounds hit through the opposition, simultaneously shouting, “Time!” They were locked inside a tie, however the timed session was running short, and John thought his team could re-group and maybe win that season-ending championship game. The thing was, however, if a person contacts a ball hit from bounds, that may be, any contact of their nature results in the point with the opposing team.

“Point,” the referee shouted. The game plus the championship were lost in this instance. Deflated but ever optimistic, Steve’s team resolved to understand by their mistakes. “There’s always next season.” The words were spoken with faint confidence and without much enthusiasm by a few in the six when they retreated in the court, heads bowed and shaking in disbelief.

As summer surrendered to fall and fall on the invasive chill of winter, the prideful band of ever-improving volleyball combatants played in a variety of venues, secondary school and middle school gymnasiums — including one that has been part of the religious order’s facilities in suburban St. Francis — grade school gyms, anyplace that has been devoted on the weekday evening to league play. They even played in an internal sand facility, built especially for co-ed team volleyball. Wherever league play and obsession beckoned, they’d take pleasure in the usual three game set, and after that repair into a sponsor’s tavern or possibly a sponsoring facility’s bar for post-game drinks and seemingly endless conversation around the evening’s play, teams plus the skill, or lack thereof, of person players. Players were analytical and philosophical, endlessly fascinated. Volleyball became, or even actually “their lives,” at the least a significant and key component of those lives. And volleyball — it had been Gigi who first observed the most obvious — “is like life itself. A metaphor for a lifetime. A microcosm with the human experience.”

As if calculated to prove the assertion, teammates tummy flatness, although and go. Some lost interest and dropped out with the sport. Partners, wives and husbands split up and at last divorced. Fellow players with whom Steve and Gigi developed friendships came and went, moved away or disappeared using their spheres of consciousness.

Personalities in volleyball are as diverse as being the teams and individual players themselves. Fond of these as Steve especially was — certainly over most — nicknames were that come with certain players and idiosyncratic behaviors. John, an original catalyst to start with playing the grand game, was obviously a lefty, became an outstanding hitter, or master on the “kill,” thereby was dubbed, “Captain Southwind.” “Florence of Arabia” was famous for my child dramatic dives onto sand courts in her own valiant efforts to dig hard-hit spikes, creating small sand storms as she landed and after that rose up triumphantly. “Sasquatch Sam” had huge feet and was continuously imperiling opponents. He would leap, land unceremoniously and regularly commit “foot fouls,” sometimes wounding ankles and feet within the process, causing opposing players to howl in pain and issue loud, often obscene protestations.

“Did you observe that?” Someone would call some time to launch a harangue for the referee. “He may have broken my foot. Didn’t the thing is that that? Pay attention towards the (expletive deleted) game, fer shouting loud!” Referees, just like the players themselves, were sometimes well trained and excellent, in tune with all the game as well as rules, or mediocre and occasionally downright inept. Needless, perhaps, to provide, player protests and complaints would frequently assault the ears of patient referees, and frequently players can be cautioned or perhaps threatened with expulsion, from time to time ejected in the game.

Steve and Gigi’s participation proceeded to go on and so on, despite injury, pregnancy plus the proclivities of an great number of teammates and fellow enthusiasts. After some 2 decades, approximately, to their team volleyball experience, having gained and lost their original and plenty of subsequent teammates, they eventually reunited because of their mentors, their original “teachers,” Jimmy and Carol.

Gigi and Steve encountered Carol with a social function, perhaps with a coffee shop, could have been a supermarket. “Are the two of you still playing volleyball?” Carol asked.

Gigi replied. “We’ll play until we’re can’t play ever again.”

“Maybe ’til we’re dead,” Steve added, aiming for the touch of comic drama.

“Jimmy and I want to have both of you join us, as a team, the four people,” Carol said. “What you think?”

As if a two of stereo speakers, obnoxious twins performing a gum commercial, they replied almost in unison, “We’d like to. We’re in! Where, when?… ”

“Set Four” — Four Decades and Counting

In Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1994, there is a facility built almost mainly for volleyball as well as the co-ed league play phenomenon so it had become within the late 1980s, into and over the decade with the 90s, and well beyond, naturally. That fine sports complex became a comparatively long drive with the four newly reunited teammates, nonetheless they’d share the driving duty, each couple alternating weeks. They began their “four-pack” experience right after the volleyball venue in Waukesha opened its doors.

They were four players inside a six-person league. The center contained six full volleyball courts; that it was and remains a great facility. The floors were made of the “forgiving” rubberized material, easy about the knees, easy on aging bodies diving to dig “kills” delivered by talented opponents. The four-person team won, perhaps, eight of ten championship rounds in several seasons or sessions of play. The four of these had “aged gracefully” in the great sport. If that they lost some speed and quickness, they made up for this in “smart play.” Jimmy was probably the best placement hitter among legions of fellow players, in reality among the best many players had experienced, and lots of remarked upon it with incredulity. He was the master from the “long dink,” a procedure for sending the ball to your far opposite side or corner from the court, an “uncovered” space. Carol and Gigi were and continue being excellent setters, good occasional hitters and good at defense, placement and “drop shots.” Steve was and ‘s still a competent defensive and back row player, plus a consistently competent hitter.

Within a brief span of time during its history, the volleyball center in Waukesha added an enclave of sand courts in the “backyard,” plus the four-person team won summer-league championships on that venue too. They frustrated opponents, many or else most of those half their age with the time. They’d be warm up, passing, setting and spiking the ball to one other as opponents appeared within the court. The four “more seasoned” players could see, and infrequently hear younger opponents snickering, commenting without pretense or disguise.

“My god,” you are likely to begin, “look the age of those guys are. Is that their whole team? This won’t take very long.” And they’d grin and snicker and chortle into cupped hands.

After several beat their “six-pack” opponents handily, opinions, expressions of surprise and post-match banter were often remarkably similar. Too polite, of many occasions, to question ages directly, they’d invariably ask, “How many years maybe you’ve guys been playing?” Or, “How long contain the four people been together, I mean, playing volleyball as a team?”

And like experienced, aging warriors, with dignity and aplomb, a few would answer their questions respectfully, even paying compliments, as elder states-persons or teachers might offer to young students or callow youths that have come into newly acquired knowledge having a sense of wonder and astonishment. A secondary aim ended up being keep the younger players interested, motivated and inspired to improve their skills.

Gigi is currently 68 yrs . old. Carol has surpassed 70. They have a fantastic friend and fellow volleyball player, Gene, who’s 70-years-old. Gene is master from the “pancake dig,” a technique for diving flat for any spike and achieving a hand beneath the ball equally as it reaches the soil, resulting in the ball to appear, ideally, towards the setter. Abie is within his late sixties. Many in their current, fellow players come in their late thirties or early to mid-forties. Many are younger, twenty-somethings. At 72, Steve says he hopes to learn “until I’m dead, or very nearly there.”

Jimmy and Carol, Steve and Gigi ended their four-person team and league play with the end with the 2008, perhaps that it was 2009. It was their final sand-court season at the tavern within the commercial heart of Milwaukee’s “River West” neighborhood. That team experience ended for varied reasons, nonetheless they all still discuss their “seasons inside the sun,” their championships on sand.

Gigi and Steve haven’t given up the activity, not by any stretch, but found, not another league, rather a “co-ed volleyball recreation program” for adults. The program is sponsored with the a suburban recreation department, an adjunct with the community’s school district. Gigi, Steve and Carol are, as far since they know, the only real three active players among their original cadre of fellow volleyball devotees. As with heavy sweaters on the warming spring day, they shrug over admonitions of the who suggest, “You’re all nuts for continuing to experiment with league volleyball your age.”

Each answer those who question their sanity is normally remarkably similar: “If I feel good, if my body system responds to your physical demands of volleyball, why would I quit playing? If I’m still capable to compete with all the younger players, there is no reason to give up. I’ll play until I’m physically struggling to receive and pass, set, dig a hard-hit kill attempt striking the ball by authority over the world wide web… ”

Many — the truly seasoned players who will be also avid spectators — understand the sport’s finer points, such because basic 4-2 serve – receive system or rotation, or 5-1 rotation normally present in college volleyball. Their current corps of players, however, eschews greater sophisticated systems and concerns itself, which has a simplified discussion over whether to try out “center up” or “center back,” meaning the legal court position from the number two player, back row center, knowning that player’s responsibility for “kills” or well-placed long shots. At Steve’s age, as of this juncture as part of his “volleyball career,” he just wants to experiment with well enough, skillfully enough to present the opposition a competitive contest.

On his 70th birthday, he played in their usual Monday night volleyball session. Many fellow players noted that Gigi executed an exceptional dive to dig the opposition’s kill, Carol hit the floor which has a dig as well as a roll. Both regained their feet in time for that next play. They’re 68 and 71 respectively. Remarkable! On that very occasion, a gaggle of young spectators witnessed the action. With shocked looks, their hands flew for their faces. “Are you OK? Are you hurt?” Gigi is practically offended by such reactions to her “floor dives.”

“I couldn’t survive playing competitive volleyball if I couldn’t dive for the kill,” she says responding.

As for Steve, he dove, rolled, scored a couple of kills himself, dug numerous attempted kills, served several aces and otherwise played a good game. His teammates feted Steve having a happy birthday song, a card and, needless to say, cake, homemade cake, decorated within a volleyball motif. “What the perfect way,” he remarked, “to gain entry from the septuagenarian gate.” Steve is definitely rather poetic.

After passing by using their gate and playing rigorous volleyball for two main solid hours using a Monday evening — a session that begins after 7:45 PM! — he strutted being a proud young rooster to the senior high school’s car park and into his car to the drive home. But after that climbing in, away from sight and earshot of his fellows and driving homeward, he groaned through the aches and pains in the session’s combat, then when he hit the threshold of his home and was competent to wrestle the cap over bottle, swallowed three ibuprofen! A weekly and quite necessary ritual.

In different ways, volleyball is a ritual, a type of religion to people still obsessed, even after 4 decades. Through it and history as avid participants — not merely as players but as spectators of school, beach and Olympic volleyball — Steve and Gigi have enjoyed its various stages of evolution, made lasting friendships, reveled in their society and it is camaraderie and benefitted enormously by reviewing the health-enhancing, vigorous exercise. Quit? Not yet. their new goal, they state emphatically, is always to play until Gigi reaches age 70. “After that, that can say? Eighty? Eighty-five? Stay tuned. Maybe we’ll start up a blog, perhaps film a documentary,” says Steve. The obsession will continue to hold and enthrall, and can, the 2 insist, “until something unexpected occurs and breaks the spell.”