The ‘Top Gun’ Volleyball Scene, Explained by Team USA Beach Players

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The 1986 naval aviation classic Top Gun has plenty of memorable moments. None are sweatier or more superfluous than the iconic beach volleyball scene. For just under two incredible minutes, Tom Cruise’s Maverick, Anthony Edwards’ Goose, Val Kilmer’s Iceman and Rick Rossovich’s Slider play what can only be described as a scintillating game before Mav abruptly leaves – with the score tied at one game apiece – for his date with Charlie.

In case you’ve (somehow) never seen this incredible scene – or just want to enjoy it again – here we go:

In order to fully appreciate and understand the levels of this match, we enlisted experts Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb from the US National Beach Volleyball Team.

Here are some of their takeaways:

It may not be the best volleyball

Look, it’s called Superior gunnot Top Volleyball.

“Terrible form,” Bourne says just nine seconds into the clip. “So far the frame is very marginal,” adds Crabb in a more diplomatic tone. The hand setting would later be described as “absolutely tragic”, which is a scathing indictment. In fact, much of the frame isn’t even within the legal playing rules of beach volleyball. Too bad none of the spectators present were certified referees.

It’s only getting worse.

“This defense is pretty bad,” Crabb said. Bourne just shakes his head with a smile of disbelief on his face. To Maverick, Goose, Iceman, and Slider’s credit, Crabb would later go on to give defensive dives some credit, stating that they are, in fact, “decent”.

“It’s funny because they’re really intense like they’re really good at it,” adds Bourne. “They are so bad.”

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Tom Cruise’s jeans are absolutely ridiculous

It looks like denim may not feature in future USA volleyball uniform upgrades. “Dodgy outfits,” Crabb said as Kenny Loggins serenaded the duo from their screen. “I see Tom Cruise wearing jeans on the beach.”

If you gave a reasonable human a list of beachwear options, tight jeans would probably be everyone’s last choice. The idea of ​​performing a sporting activity in jeans makes me cringe immediately, but adding sand? What a nightmare. No wonder Maverick weirdly asks to use the shower at the woman’s house where he’s going on a date.

“We need to give Tom Cruise a new outfit. It sure is,” adds Crabb.

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Tom Cruise as a man of the net?

The duo of Maverick and Goose have a guy who is 5ft 7in (Cruise) and one who is 6ft 2in (Anthony Edwards). So who do you net? That’s right, Edwa – wait, wait – Cruise?

It makes no sense strategically.

Crabb credits Maverick for a good spike, but Bourne immediately notes that “the guy who actually punched him wasn’t Tom Cruise.”

Most Valuable Player

So who has the best skills (used loosely here) in Top Gun’s volleyball game? Experts agree: it’s Val Kilmer’s Iceman. Crabb and Bourne quickly noted that Iceman was the guy to beat thanks to clean striking and better technique. “The Iceman wins the prize for technique.”

Least Valuable Player

Sorry, Maverick. You have work to do on the courts. “He’s a little spastic,” Bourne said. “A bit too intense.”

“Yeah, Tom Cruise probably [has] the worst form. Crabb added. To be fair, it could be the fact that he’s wearing tight jeans and chafing has set in, but regardless, it’s not his best day.

Maybe that’s why he dived with the score equal to one…he knew it wouldn’t get better.

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