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3 knee recos and a PanAm honeymoon: The amazing tale of Max Curtis

Posted: 03-Mar-2019 by PanAm Games 2019

Imagine having your sporting dream taken away from you.

Now imagine losing it not twice but three times.

Well that’s exactly what happened to Victorian beach volleyballer Max Curtis, who had his Maccabiah hopes dashed repeatedly by a string of heartbreaking knee reconstructions.

But this July, Curtis will finally get the chance to pull on the green and gold as he represents Australia at the Maccabi Pan-American Games in Mexico City.

Beach volleyballer Max Curtis in action

“It was sort of heartbreaking the first time, shattering the second time,” Curtis said.

“I’m really excited. Since attending the Maccabiah games as a spectator in 2005, I have always wanted to participate as an athlete. And to be going now with, my soon-to-be wife, as part of our honeymoon is pretty special.”

On top of conquering his injury woes, Curtis’ tale is made all the more sweet as he turns his international sporting debut into the start of his honeymoon. He will wed in March and then bring his new wife along to Mexico to lead the cheer section.

“We’d been planning a trip around this time for a couple of years, we’d been saving up,” he said.

“I had in mind that it would be a honeymoon although I hadn’t proposed yet. And when I did propose and we set a wedding date, we thought well let’s make this trip our honeymoon. We’re going on for about nine weeks in all, with the first two weeks being in Mexico for the PanAms.”

Max Curtis and his soon-to-be wife Jordana Rothman

Curtis, a Victorian State team MVP and past recipient of the Maccabi Victoria ‘Sportsman of the Year’ will partner young gun Dakota Lipton on the sand, while the pair have also been putting in hard yards in the community in the hope of kickstarting a Maccabi beach volleyball club. Incredibly, they’ve enjoyed a working relationship since Lipton was in just year nine at school.

“After I did my knee for the second time I stopped playing indoor and switched to beach volleyball,” Curtis said.

“At that time, I started working at Mount Scopus as a volleyball coach which is where I met Dakota and I started coaching him. He was probably in about year nine at the time and was a natural at the sport.”

“So he started playing at school when I was coaching him. When I pulled out of the most recent Maccabiah Games with my third knee reconstruction he took my spot and went along to Maccabiah and really fell in love with beach volleyball there. I’m quite excited to be playing with him, being someone that I coached when he first started volleyball and now we’re going as partners.”

Curtis' volleyball partner Dakota Lipton in action at the Maccabiah Games in 2017

With Curtis losing agility due to his knee problems, the pair have adapted their on-court strategy to optimise their strengths.

“Dakota has been really good, we’ve adjusted our gameplay in that I do all the blocking at the net and he does most of the defence because he’s a lot more agile than I am,” Curtis said.

“The knee restricts me in that respect but we’ve adjusted that I do the work at the net and he can sort of set up around me.”

Don’t let the bulky metal knee brace fool you, Curtis will be ready to give his all for Australia come July and flanked by protegee Lipton they’ll be a formidable duo.