WE SHOULD ALL HAVE SUCH problems. When Randy Stoklos went out full tilt for beach volleyball 18 years ago, "it was all about partying, competing to be known as the king of the beach—and, obviously, finding an attractive woman. Now," he sighs, "it's totally a job, in every sense of the word."
But there are jobs, and there are jobs. The first professional in his sport to pass $1 million in winnings, Stoklos, 33, spends just about all his days on the beach. He's married to a gorgeous model. And don't forget the adulation from fans, many of whom wear small bikinis.
Now Stoklos may become famous all over the country. Beach volleyball aficionados can watch Stoklos and his partner, Adam Johnson, 29, compete in the sport's $1 million international championships at Hermosa Beach, Calif., televised Aug. 27 and 28 on NBC. They are among the favorites, and when the sport—with two, rather than the usual six, players—makes its Olympic debut in 1996, they should be there.
Stoklos, the oldest son of a Polish immigrant father who built up a successful speaker-manufacturing business before his death in 1988, got into volleyball because, well, growing up in Pacific Palisades, Calif., where he still lives, it was the thing to do, dude. "Indoor volleyball, two-man indoor volleyball, blacktop volleyball" is how he remembers high school. After dropping out of UCLA (grade trouble), he went to grad school in beach volleyball. "Most of his opponents would characterize him as not the nicest guy," says former partner and still active fellow legend Sinjin Smith, 37. "He doesn't give an inch to his opponents, to the ref, to anybody."
Stoklos's weekly grind during the February-September season includes all-day workouts Tuesday through Thursday. Then he usually packs his bags, competes over the weekend and flies home to his wife of 2 ½ years, model Carrie Coffey, who is expecting their first child in February.
So, does Randy Stoklos like his job? "It's a fairy tale," he admits. "I mean, here I am, a national athlete, making a living at a job I very much enjoy, being outside, wearing shorts."
But enough of this chitchat, Randy. Back to the grind.
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