by Mark McDermott
Late Saturday afternoon, not long after Team Fletch had won the 56th Annual Charlie Saikley Six Man Volleyball Tournament in epic fashion, the only game still being played featured a team of over-40 men dressed as World Wrestling Federation stars. A few courts away a man was rolling down nets by himself, almost meditatively.
Jay Saikley has been rolling down nets since he was eight years old. He started helping his father with the Six Man in the late 1970s when he realized it would be more fun than staying home with his mother, who liked to utilize her small fleet of sons to clean walls and floors and do any other chores she could think of rather than allow idle boys.
“After a while, I was like, ‘Where do you want to be?’” Saikley recalled. “I want to be down on the beach with Dad.”
Saikley unofficially took the helm of the Six Man tournament in 2004, when his father was dying of cancer. Few men in the history of Manhattan Beach had engendered more goodwill than Charlie Saikley, the soft-spoken, generous, and enormously effective organizer who worked for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for 42 years. He was known as “the godfather of Beach Volleyball.” He founded not only the Six Man — known since its inception as a mix of elite-level volleyball and pure community fun — but also the original professional league, the California Beach Volleyball Association, as well as the “Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball,” the venerable Manhattan…
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