There seems to be a pipeline for success in beach volleyball and it begins with a large private school in Manoa. Stein Metzger, who appeared on MidWeek‘s cover with then partner and former Punahou classmate Kevin Wong in October 2001, has made a change. From all accounts things are going better than ever.
Metzger, who called his breakup with Wong, “about as ugly as it gets,” teamed up with current partner Jake Gibb shortly after the Olympics in 2004 and the two are going strong.
“I’m having my best season so far,” said the former three-time All-American. “Out of 13 tournaments we’ve missed the final four only once. We’ve been extremely consistent.”
Metzger credits their success to a strong work ethic and the simple combination of two personalities.
“That’s huge for the longevity of a partnership,” he said. “We’re traveling all over the world. Rooming in the same hotel room.”
Another plus for the team may be Gibb’s enthusiasm for the game that he started playing a relatively short time ago.
“He only started playing when he was 21,” said Metzger of his now 26-year-old partner. “He never played indoor volleyball. He came back from his Mormon mission and discovered volleyball in his back yard. He was playing on like this sagging net using a garden hose as lines.”
For Metzger, the 2004 Olympics was a combination of difficulty and joy. Teaming up with Dax Holdren - another talented, but small player - the pair surprised many and maybe themselves by finishing fifth.
“It was an uphill battle the entire way. But with no one expecting us to do well, it was helpful because we could just go for it and leave nothing behind.”
At the age of 32, Metzger has a few years of good volleyball left. The goals is for Gibb and himself to continue their success in the U.S. and internationally while working their way to what they hope will be a gold medal in the 2008 games. After that it may be time to say goodbye to the sport.
“I think that after I am done with volleyball, I probably won’t be involved in any organized volleyball,” he said. “I’ve already been doing it for 20 years and I wouldn’t mind exploring other avenues.”
Metzger did not say exactly what those plans may be but they include moving back to Hawaii so he can better enjoy his love for water sports and maybe even help Hawaii’s youngsters to develop their beach game.“I would like to spend some time to create opportunities for other Hawaii kids to do what I have done and travel all over the world,” he says.
Just not for pay.
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