June 28, 2017
Audio Features
Bernstein With a Twist
This is a weekly program with commentary on current issues.
Episode
When pro volleyball rolls into Riverside on a wave of 1,500 tons of sand, the city’s ancient mantra will be muted. We will no longer be an hour from the beaches. We will be the beaches.

It’s becoming a pattern for the “City of the Arts” or the “City of Trees” or whatever we are: Searching for an identity, by committing identity theft.

We junked the Orange Blossom Festival, which, despite the gangs and schlock city officials were unable or unwilling to control, at least was rooted in Riverside ’s citrus heritage. Now, we import ice (for skating) in the winter and sand in the spring. Who are we? And how did the Association of Volleyball Professionals pick Riverside to stage its beach volleyball tournament in April?

Councilman Rusty Bailey played on the West Point volleyball team. When a teammate moved to California to become a big AVP cheese, Bailey started prodding. Eventually, his dogged pitch worked.

In mid-April, the parking lot near the downtown Marriott will become the world’s largest sand trap (no cats allowed!), with bleacher seating for 3,000 and possibly a TV audience. The city’s up-front money is nominal (so far) and rosy City Hall economists forecast a tourist boom and the dollars that go with it.

Sounds like good, clean fun, except for one thing: Beach volleyball is excruciatingly dull, registering so low on the Excitability Index that even healthy spectators have been known to stop breathing. In extreme cases, watching beach volleyball can result in what medical experts call a “non-surgical vollobotomy”.
Episode Date: February 13, 2009
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