Flowers and volleyball.

That’s what Kirstin West does.

“No better combo in my book,” she said on Monday morning.

This lovely pair might help explain why Bear Roots Floral, West’s wedding event and florist company that she founded in 2012, is sponsoring me, a beach volleyball player, on my upcoming trip to the Itapema four-star. But it only partly explains why.

West is passionate. She loves her flowers. She loves her family. And she loves beach volleyball. So much so that she took a trip to Cabo on one of Tom Davenport’s SOB Volleyball Vacations, a week-long festival of volleyball, cheap tacos, tall margaritas, and more volleyball. I was also on that trip, a last-minute call-up from Davenport to fill a coaching vacancy.  

I can’t tell you the exact day or moment I met West – there were 70 vacationers on the trip – but I can tell you that sometimes, for whatever, reason, people just mesh well together. Maybe it’s our similar backgrounds, from smaller towns outside of California: I was raised in Hampstead, Maryland, a bucolic town 30 minutes outside of Baltimore; West lives in Columbus, Ohio. Maybe it was the fact that both of us were missing our growing families: I had just gotten married; she was away from her young son.

Whatever it may be, West and I became fast friends on the trip, and we stayed in touch on a somewhat regular basis afterwards. When I came to Waupaca this year, who was it that I saw after my Saturday morning match but West, holding a custom-made Peel Dig Diaries shirt she had designed after my Instagram series featuring my failed attempts at digging while peeling.

How freakin’ awesome is that?

It’s one of the few redeeming qualities of social media: Sometimes, in spite of all of its many flaws, it creates some indelible moments, providing the channels to stay in touch with friends all over the country.

This past weekend, it was social media that again came to my aid. When Tim Brewster and I qualified for the Itapema (Brazil) four-star, beating Billy Allen and Andy Benesh in the country quota, I took a cursory skim of the flights. The numbers were, as you might be able to guess, not small.

I’d be able to afford the trip; it would just be tight. After the year I had, I didn’t exactly budget for a spontaneous trip to South America.

So I put out a call on social media, writing that any sponsorships, either from individuals or companies, would be greatly appreciated. A few anonymous and angelic individuals Venmoed me privately. Another sent a check.

Then came West, who said she had some extra funds left in the advertising budget for Bear Roots Floral, and she couldn’t think of a better – if not stranger – way to spend it than by sponsoring a beach volleyball player to Brazil.

And so it is that I’ll be headed to Brazil, sponsored by a wedding floral company, because beach volleyball, and the people in it, are just so dang beautiful.

So if you’re planning a wedding, and you need some flowers, give Kirstin West and Bear Roots Floral some love. At the very least, check out the website and Instagram — @bearrootsfloral — and give them some traffic.

Flowers and volleyball.

Maybe it’s an odd combo to some.

But that’s what Kirstin West does.