Several years ago I was playing volleyball in England, and for love or money I could not find a pair of knee pads that would work for me. Unwilling to pay massive shipping costs on a U.S.-based order, I decided to just stop wearing knee pads altogether.
It took me a little while to get used to having my knees exposed to the harsh gym floor, but after a few practices I discovered I was using much better form on my dives and rolls in order to avoid smacking my knees. And as a setter I was doing my very best to get my feet under the ball so I wouldn’t need to go to the ground any more than was absolutely necessary.
After that, I was hooked. No more smelly knee pads stinking up my gym bag, and no more massive rug burns from my knees sliding around inside the knee pads.
But once I returned to the U.S. and could get knee pads from my friendly neighborhood sporting goods store, I decided to give my old friends another chance. After all, I was trained as a defensive specialist and was still spending a lot of my time in contact with the gym floor.
My reunion with my knee pads did not go well.
It was as if my volleyball brain knew they were back and decided to take full advantage of them. I found myself setting from my knees, diving on my knees, and generally banging my knees into oblivion. Over the next few days I developed some awesome bruises to go along with the rug burns I got during the game.
And so we come to the Great Knee Pad Debate, which I submit to you for your input: