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Beach volleyball tourney in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Professional beach-volleyball players such as Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Traynor won't be there, and neither will those intense screams and grunts that make high-level volleyball such a watchable sport on TV.

The 4Kids Gift of Hope Beach Volleyball Drive Saturday instead will feature a "coed fours grab bag" format. That means four players will cover the sand court — instead of just two — and the teams will be created by mixing up the weakest players with the strongest, in order to ensure a fair game. It's very unlikely the winners will sprint the beach draped in American flags.

"We want the newer players to play with the better players," tournament organizer Matthew Shrater says. "It's a fun tournament, which is what we want, especially during the holidays."

Shrater organizes a tournament every month, each time helping a different charity. This time, players must bring a $10 gift card from venues such as Target, Publix or Walmart. The cards will be donated to 4Kids of South Florida, a nonprofit committed to helping orphans in the area. Additional donations of unwrapped toys, movie passes and toiletries also are encouraged.

Regular volleyball players will recognize the venue: The Lauderdale Beachside Hotel is the old Howard Johnson, a beach volleyball mecca in South Florida going back to the 1990s. This time, though, winners won't even get prize money — just pairs of shoe-socks that look cool and protect feet when the sand is scorching.

The tournament will begin 9 a.m. Saturday at the Beachside Hotel, 4660 N. Ocean Drive, in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Get more info at

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