As if his path to beach volleyball wasn’t unique enough – raised in Minnesota, little to no volleyball background aside from a little club indoor, not a clue who men named Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser were – in his nine-year career thus far, Stafford Slick may have authored his own personal record book.

Name another who has played with six different Olympians, including three gold medalists. Or anyone crazy enough to play in 17 – 17! – different NORCECAs with eight different partners.

“We might have to do some fact checking,” Slick said on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. “But I think I’ve played with more Olympians than anyone else. I played with Dain [Blanton], retired him, put him out to pasture. I played with Rogie [Todd Rogers] in his last event, so I retired him. I played with Rosie [Sean Rosenthal], I played with Casey [Patterson], I played with Adrian [Carambula], who wasn’t an Olympian at the time, but he is now. And then I played with Reid Priddy. That’s another thing I might have a record for: I have a lot of partners too.”

For an individual who has been playing beach volleyball for a hair over nine years, indeed, Slick has gone through his fair share of partners, though that’s less a detractor from his talent than it is an indicator of it. It’s only so often you get a coordinated, athletic, hand-setting 6-foot-8 blocker out of Minnesota.

“I guess those guys saw something in me,” Slick said. And of all people, it was Blanton, a gold medalist, who saw it first.

Slick was in his cabin in Minnesota for a July 4 getaway in 2010 when he got the call: Blanton, a gold medalist alongside Eric Fonoimoana in the 2000 Sydney Games, wanted to give Slick a shot. They’d be automatically in the main draw, Slick’s first. He wouldn’t even have to qualify.

“It was huge for me,” Slick said. “Dain was kinda poking around, looking for a big man to play with because it was the tenth anniversary of his gold medal. So he was kind of connected with some of the people in the USA office and they dropped my name.”

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