Spooner goes the extra miles to play with pals

By Anne-Marie Emerson

There's not a lot American volleyball player Scott Spooner won't do for his beloved team, the Jurassics.

And that includes travelling all the way from Los Angeles to play for his Wellington-based team at the Wanganui Masters Games.

Spooner, 54, grew up playing volleyball on the beaches of San Diego, but it wasn't until 1991, when he was transferred to New Zealand for his work with Deloittes, that he became involved with the legendary Jurassics, who were known at the time as the Wellington Eagles.

He is living back in the States now but takes every opportunity he can to play with the Jurassics.

"They're my best mates," he said.

This is the second time Spooner has played for the Jurassics at the Masters Games.

He was also with them with the team when they won at the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney.

The Jurassics team has something of a legendary status among the Masters volleyball community.

They have won gold five times, although they were pipped at the post at the 2011 Games by Auckland-based Sparta.

They have their own emblem - a pterodactyl in flight - which graces their shirts and gear bags, and even the chests of some of the team members.

"I don't have the tattoo, so I guess I'm not a real Jurassic," Spooner said.

The team is an unusual sight on court - members play in blue shorts patterned with brightly coloured dinosaurs.

Such is the camaraderie in the team that it attracts players from all over New Zealand. Grant Hill comes from Auckland, Warren Smith from Christchurch, and Manu Samoa rugby player Salevi Tiatia from New Plymouth.

Spooner said they played for fun, but were "pretty competitive" on the court. "We all want to win, but we're not as mean-spirited as we were when we were younger."

The Jurassics were in action yesterday and will be again today and tomorrow. Spooner said he hoped the Division 1 final would be played out between the Jurassics and their old enemies, Sparta.

"They beat us at the last Masters Games, so we're looking for a grudge match," Spooner said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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