Billy Allen couldn’t enjoy it. Not a year ago. Not really.

A year ago, Allen hardly even got to warm up for the AVP Seattle final. He and Theo Brunner, with an FIVB qualifier in Hamburg just a few days away, were booking it to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, checking their bags between the semifinal and the final, hightailing it back just in time to be introduced for the gold-medal match against Taylor and Trevor Crabb.

“I was stressed out because of that,” Allen told me a few months ago. “But it also helped out because it never gave me time to worry about playing in a final. We were just so worried about making it to the airport that it just kind of helped with the nerves.”

Evidently so. Allen and Brunner won in three sets for Allen’s first AVP Tour win.

A quick picture and an abbreviated celebration later, he and Brunner sped to the airport, caught their flight, qualified, played in an FIVB main draw, flew to Poland, made that main draw, too, and flew home.

Then, and only then, could Allen finally digest the fact that he was an AVP champion.

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