Last year, when beach volleyball was all over the television during the Olympics, we wondered: Do people really like this much beach volleyball? Or is it because the competitors look like theyre on spring break in Cabo and about to shotgun a beer? Bring on the fencing! Then we came to appreciate the lunges and the hustle, having once tried to run in sand. We also came to know Kerri Walsh's body better than our own, and learned something about sports tape. Today, the net is strung in our city, as the AVP San Francisco Open brings professional beach volleyball to our shores. Its about time: Although we have miles of broad sandy beaches, ideal for beach volleyball, nobody seems to know that. Least of all the AVP, which is bringing its own sand and putting it next to the Bay Bridge. The weekend competition features a lot of Olympians, like gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, Nicole Branagh, and yes, get in line now gold medalist Walsh, who is back competing after having a baby three months ago. Nice recovery!
Aug. 13-16, 8 a.m., 2009