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December 2018: A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December

Thomas Hardy’s celebration of Christmas in Dorset in his early novel Under the Greenwood Tree is perhaps second only to A Christmas Carol (a version ...More
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Volleyball Clubs | Add Free Entry

Volleyball had a similar genesis to basketball, in that both were invented by YMCA officials to amuse their students and other members, and to keep them fit. Volleyball players now may not like to be reminded of the fact that William Morgan devised it specifically as a gentler pastime (compared to basketball) for older athletes. It is hard to countenance this today when seeing top-class volleyball players diving full length on the unforgiving boards of indoor courts in order to return a smash.
At the highest level of the sport – it has been an Olympic event since Tokyo 1964 – enormous athleticism and skill is required, and the training to achieve the necessary coordination with ones teammates. But the innate simplicity of the concept is such that volleyball at a friendlier level is enjoyed by holidaymakers on beaches, parks, in the sea even. The long identification of the game with fun at the seaside led to the development of another arm of the sport – beach volleyball, played with teams of two rather than six, itself accepted into the Olympics since 1996.
The skills required to play the game are not just athletic: guile is needed too, something that allows players to continue with clubs once the first flush of youth has gone – an unexpected dink can be just as deadly as a smash from high above the net. And while height is advantageous, it is not – unlike basketball – absolutely primary to a good player of volleyball. Volleyball clubs can get the best out of keen players, and offer the chance to get fit, and maybe for some to prepare them for the summer’s activities on the beach.

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There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true. - Winston Churchill
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On this day:
Henry VIII ex-communicated - 1538, 1st Bowler Hats go on sale - 1849, The Wright Brothers take Flight - 1903, Mary Bell found Guilty - 1968, IRA bomb Harrods - 1983, Work begins on the Channel Tunnel - 1988, Ian Huntly found Guilty of Soham Murders - 2003
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