HERMOSA BEACH, California — If one is ever to wonder how and why Cody Caldwell makes many of the decisions he does, the answer can often be derived from a simple matrix: When given two options, which is the most likely to lead to a good bit of fun?
It’s easy to wonder, when watching Caldwell, a 6-foot-6, 30-year-old who has won AVP Tour Series events as both a defender (in Atlantic City with David Lee) and a blocker (Waupaca and Laguna Beach with Seain Cook), why he is playing for relative pennies on the beach when his skillset could command respectable contracts indoors. Caldwell acknowledges such a question is a fair one, just as quickly as he acknowledges the answer is a simple one: Where’s the fun?
“I thought I’d rather go home and play beach volleyball professionally. I loved my time in Greece and France but I don’t want to be over here for nine months for the next eight or nine or ten years,” he recalled of his switch from indoors to beach. “I want to go home and play beach volleyball, I think I could find some success there and do it with the people that I love.”
He isn’t the first enormous talent to take a quick dip into the demanding international indoor schedule and decide it wasn’t for him. A two-time NCAA champion for Loyola Chicago as an outside hitter, there is little doubt, had Caldwell maintained the course, he would be a viable candidate for the USA national team. There’s no way to know, of course, just as there’s no way to know the same question for Taylor Crabb, another NCAA standout who played a quick season overseas before establishing himself as the best beach defender of his generation. Neither Caldwell nor Crabb has a single regret about the decision to switch to beach, stable contracts be damned.
“Had I stuck with it, I think I’d be in the mix,” Caldwell said on SANDCAST, shrugging. “I’m not saying I’d be starting or anything but I might travel with the team. If I knew that if I kept going I would have made the Olympics, then sure, it’s like ‘ah maybe I should have just stuck it out.’ I didn’t really want to be in Europe for nine months out of the year. Came home, tried my luck to see if I could make it on the beach in 2028. I’m having more fun than when I was playing indoor. Just the day to day lifestyle, the people you meet, the times you get to have, they’re good times.”
It would be difficult to miss the fun Caldwell is having, and the success that has come with it. For some,…