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CLOSE-UP : Buck Ends Volleyball Career but Will Still Worry About Net

Craig Buck seems to have a knack for turning a buck.

A starter for the U.S. Olympic volleyball team, Buck cashed in on his team’s gold medal at the 1984 Games by selling most of his practice gear at the closing ceremonies. And now he has cashed in his volleyball career to pursue two business projects.

The former Pepperdine All-American from Taft High left the U.S. national team last month, saying his defection was a “business decision.”

It also was a matter of listening to his body, he said. Six years on the national team had taken their toll.

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“My body just wasn’t ready to take it anymore,” Buck said. “Over the years, you learn to kind of read and listen to what your joints and things are saying. I just really needed a break, physically. I felt that my body was starting to yell, especially my right knee. In my mind, I had reached a burnout.”

Buck, 27, said his time will be better spent pursuing his business interests. He has started two companies: one will market a plastic ice chest, and another will market a soft, recreation volleyball.

Buck hasn’t ruled out a return to the national team. The 6-9 middle blocker said he would “love to play” in the world championships this fall in France but talked as though he had left the team for good.

“I’m really happy with the career I’ve had, but I’m having a lot more fun working,” he said. “I love doing my own thing. I feel really happy with my decision. I don’t have any remorse about quitting, or even any second thoughts about it. . . .

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“It’s just gotten to the point where my legs and knees just can’t handle it. I’ve got to back off and let them rest. Maybe I’ll never play again at that level, but I won’t look back with regret.

“I’ve got my businesses going, and that’s what’s important.”


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