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View article on Tampa Bay Times website

Offbeat fun
By Sharon Kennedy Wynne - Friday, July 14, 2006

It's the middle of summer, and already you're sick of the beach, tired of the pool, over lying on the couch flipping through channels. You've got the urge, though, to go do ... something. If nothing else, so you can answer that inevitable dinner party question, "So what are you up to this summer?" You could do the standard and unimaginative route of visiting a theme park or taking in a movie (yawn). Or you could think outside the sandbox and try something you've never done before. We've taken a look at some of the primo time fillers around Tampa Bay. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it's a good place to start doing something just for curiosity's sake to kill an afternoon.

MARCH TO A DIFFERENT BEAT

Don't get stuck in a rut of doing the same old. Try these this summer - then brag about them to your family or friends who live in some landlocked sweltering suburb up north.

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Play volleyball

A former Olympic volleyball player opened an amazing 20-court beach volleyball facility on U.S. 19 near Ulmerton Road this year to help others follow their dreams on the largest outdoor volleyball venue in the country. Alan Hafez, who played volleyball in the '72 and 1976 Olympics for his native Egypt, made his money in business and real estate. Now he's pursuing his dream.

The Club V Beach facility has sand finer than Clearwater Beach's, without the shells or saggy nets that make beachfront play tough. The sturdy aluminum poles and heavy-gauge nets can be adjusted for men's or women's height. And it's got stadium lights for nighttime play.

No wonder its already hosted scores of national tournaments.

You don't need to have a team. Show up any time after 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and pay $5 a night for a pickup game. Hafez collects the "orphan players " and pairs you up with a team.

Join a nine-week league for $60 and you get in free on the weekends to practice. For more info, call the club at (727) 540-0222.

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