History of the Tournaments
Originally written by the late David Dorinski former Tournament Director and friend to many
The Lakeview Beach National Volleyball Tournaments spawned from a beach league started by a local group of people in Lorain that called themselves the "BEACH BUMS". The ‘bums’ began meeting at Lakeview Beach every week on Saturday and Sunday, starting as early as 7:00 a.m. and would be there until dark. This began mostly as a social group and not because of the sport of playing volleyball. The original group actually did not play volleyball at all. They were from many different lifestyles and had diverse interests. The group consists of people who were golfers, wind surfers, body builders, hiking enthusiasts, bicyclists and people who just enjoyed good conversation and being around fun people. The driving factor that became the common link was the Sun and Lakeview Beach. The group began to grow to a base of approximately 80 strong and the age of someone did not matter. You had the Full Time bums and the part time bums. The full time bums usually initiated and seemed to drive any activities around the beach. The group enjoyed each others company so much that it bled into the weekdays as well as each other’s personal life. Anyone who started showing up on a weekly basis would slowly become part of the Beach Bum group. Newcomers were welcome and accepted instantly, no matter how out caste that person might seem from a ‘standard society’ person of today. The group accepted all people with open arms, there were no judgments, no social labels stamped on one’s forehead. Generally, first impressions drove the assignment of a nickname that would stick with you, and would not go away, no matter how bad you disliked it. My nickname became the "Mayor" of Lakeview Beach, because the ‘bums’ would always ask me to do things that generally ended up in city hall.
Volleyball came onto the scene when one of the ‘beach bums’ told the ‘bum’ group of a Mud Volleyball Tournament that was 3 days long, and the tournament ran day and night. The tournament was in a little town called Norwalk, Ohio and had a limit of 200 teams, one division of 100 seven-man teams, one division of 100 seven-woman teams. This sounded like it was something that would fit into the Beach Bums Schedule.
On a whim, the ‘Men’ beach bums decided to play their first mud volleyball tournament and won. Shortly afterwards the women entered a team that were among the top finishers as well, and then it was all over from there. The beach bums made this their annual festivity trip that began on a Friday and did not finish until late Sunday. They created their own festive atmosphere like no other group there. They would dress up in funny clothing and hats, they started a kazoo marching band with a song that was played when they had to participate in the tournament. The women would stand by the pits and cheer for the men and the men would return the favor. They brought in cooking grills, put their tents in a huge circle, made signs, and one member would bring a jar of sand and spread it around the camp. Only then was the camp officially Lakeview Beach Bums territory. This ritual of this mud volleyball tournament lasted about 5 years, until the tournament was cancelled, by the city, indefinitely. The community of Norwalk ran the tournament on a volunteer basis, and the people involved with the tournament were genuine.
The ‘Mud Tournament’ had become lifeline for the nucleus of the beach bums. When the ‘Mud tournament’ dissipated, the ‘beach bum’ group slowly started diminishing. During the winter months, a few members of the Beach Bums started to take their poorly defined volleyball skills indoors. A selected group of the ‘bums’ started taking things to the next level, getting competitive in volleyball and practicing on their skills. When local leagues were not available, the ‘bums’ took up Walleyball, a pseudo volleyball game played in a racquet ball court. It started growing at an incredible rate. This was satisfying for the bums because it sort of replaced the loss of the Mud Tournament. They Walleyball Tournaments were always held in nice health clubs across the country and the competition was fierce. Again, like Mud, walleyballers were generally the same group that would travel to play. Unfortunately, it was very expensive. The ‘bums’ skills were being honed. Over a couple of years, the few beach bums group playing at the highest level of the sport, indoors, outdoors, mud or on the racquet ball court. Now the group was serious about their volleyball game. It was at this point when local recreation teams were not enough competition, and the ‘bums’ were asked not to participate in some of the local leagues because other teams would not play. The ‘bums’ began their own leagues on the beach of Lakeview. The first league had three teams and played on the wooden standards that are still there today. Team 1: Mike Darmafall & Tom Gabrie, Team 2: Paul Kurta & David Dorinski, and Team 3: Don Ceasar and Frank Darmafall. The second year the league had grown to seven teams, and the third year had 28 teams. By the forth year it was so big that different divisions were created the leagues went to 2 nights a week, one night had 72 doubles teams and the other, a co-ed league, had 50 teams. After pushing me for two years during the leagues, players finally got me to run a volleyball tournament at Lakeview Beach. I went to the city and local supporters and requested help from the ‘bums’. I told them I would not do it unless it was big, efficient, and festive, it had to be and event. It had to have the best equipment, geared towards families as well as the single people and there had to be a party with it. With the approval for all three, the MILLER LAKEVIEW BEACH VOLLEYBALL OPEN tournament was born.
At the very first tournament, one hundred and sixty teams entered. The second year 250 Plus teams entered, teams were being turned away because we could not find enough nets to supply demand. It was because of this demand the second year, with the help of Art Heston and Brian Donavan that the MILLER LITE EAST/WEST VOLLEYBALL CHALLENGE was born. This tournament was born to host the best of the West Side of Cleveland against the best of the East Side volleyball athletes. Although this competition never really happened the way our tournament directors expected, East vs. West, the name stuck and hence our second annual tournament was here to stay.
Both tournaments were named using "Miller" as a key word because I requested that we could use the Miller name and logo for the tournaments, I was hoping that their name would help draw people. Kerr Beverage our local distributor for Miller was so impressed with the tournaments that they began to fullly support us and became our number one sponsor of both tournaments as well as our Traveling Indoor Volleyball Team (USA - USAV). During all the transitions and changes to get to the first tournament and where we are today, I had met all the people who are my life today. My best friends today, still stand side by side with me, helping me create an atmosphere that we appreciated when we did our travels. The work is incredible and sometimes the outside support seems to go to the wayside, but we would not give it up for the world.
I want to take a second to thank all the people who participate in our tournament, year in and year out. Thank you to the City of Lorain, especially the Lorain Parks and Recreation Department for letting us continue having our annual events. To Kerr Beverage who is there for us, every time we call upon them. All the people who are not on the staff during the tournament but do the behind scenes. My boss and friend of Aztec Development’s Inc. for all of the years of support and sponsorship To my late father of years ago who enjoyed helping me prepare for the tournaments. And most of all, my best friends for being my friend and keeping the dream alive.
David I. Dorinski
Tournament Director & Friend.