Book hits close to home

HUNTINGTON BEACH — More than 100 volleyball fans went to a bookstore to see Misty May-Treanor serve up more than balls. She can be one funny act, even at a Barnes & Noble on a Tuesday night in Huntington Beach.

Mostly teenage girls, mothers and grandmothers sat in chairs, on the floor, and some stood while listening to May-Treanor's every word. Most often than not, they laughed before lining up to get May-Treanor to sign her autobiography, "Misty: Digging Deep in Volleyball and Life."

The former Newport Harbor High standout returned close to her roots for her first book signing in the area.

May-Treanor is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. She's won two Olympic gold medals. She's finished first on the court 106 times. She's fox-trotted on "Dancing with the Stars." She's married to a professional baseball player.

May-Treanor touched on many of those topics in a Q&A session on the second floor of the bookstore.

One woman asked May-Treanor what she would be doing if her husband, Matt Treanor, were down the road in Anaheim at the Major League Baseball All-Star game.

"If he was in it," May-Treanor said before pausing. "I think we'd have to change the [book signing] date."

That drew many chuckles from the crowd because Treanor, a catcher with the Texas Rangers, did not make the American League All-Star roster. That was a good thing for May-Treanor's fans, as well as for May-Treanor and her husband.

Eventually it all worked out for everyone. Because of the All-Star break, Treanor will get to see his wife partner up with Nicole Branagh at the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Nivea Tour's latest stop, the Hermosa Beach Open, which starts Thursday.

Treanor also made May-Treanor's third book signing. Don't ask May-Treanor how the sales of her first book are going so far.

"I've been so out of the loop because I have been overseas," she said, referring to having competed in recent tournaments in Russia, Norway and Switzerland.

"There's nothing like sleeping in your own bed [in Long Beach] and eating food that you're familiar with."

Recognizing many faces in the crowd also made May-Treanor's day. Some of her mother's old friends showed up to support May-Treanor.

One asked May-Treanor if she had any advice for older volleyball players. May-Treanor's response was hilarious.

"Quit!" said the 32-year-old May-Treanor before offering another tip. "Get a sponsorship from Bengay."

May-Treanor's mother, Barbara May, passed away in 2002 of cancer.

Someone asked May-Treanor of her fondest memory of her mother. She pointed to the times together at night in the Huntington Beach women's league.

"I was always the ringer," May-Treanor said with a smile. "Whenever they needed people to fill in, she'd always call me."

Family is a huge subject in May-Treanor's book. She openly talks about growing up with parents who battled alcoholism.

There's a reason why May-Treanor opened up.

"That's the great thing I think about having the opportunity to write a book. It can be therapeutic," said May-Treanor, who wrote the book with Jill Lieber Steeg. "Every family has a story. The main thing with this was somebody can learn from me, my experiences, and know that there is not a suit in the volleyball [player]. I've had to overcome other things other than injuries to get where I am.

"I'm not the greatest communicator, so [the book] helps kind of get things out."

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