What followed was a mad scramble, Dodd said. "After Miami, because we beat Linda, everyone started talking: 'Oh, I'll bet Patty and Jackie will play together now.' Everyone was calling everyone else."
Finally, Silva asked Dodd to be her partner in 1989.
"When she asked me I was really excited," Dodd said. "But I was also saying, 'Are you sure? You've got to think about Linda, too.' "
The news was devastating for Chisholm, who has yet to return to form this year playing with Opalinski.
"When she told me, I was speechless. I practically threw up," Chisholm said. "It's like hearing your husband or your boyfriend is cheating on you. It's hard to break up a winning combination. I was in shock."
Silva suggested to Chisholm that the parity resulting from her changing of partners would be good for the Women's Professional Volleyball Assn.--a factor Silva also hinted at during an interview.
"I think Linda and I played very well together and Linda is a very good player," she said. "But the association, we want to keep everybody together and (dropping Chisholm for Dodd) is best for the players and the association."
Because few players could see a clear motive for Silva's decision to break up a winning team, stories began to circulate.
"They would say, 'Jackie's crazy. I can't believe she dropped Linda. What did Patty do to get her?' " Dodd said. "The rumors got ugly. People were saying I bought her.
"Sometimes I think back and think it's great all those rumors were out there, because they made me train harder. They made me want to win more."
The real reason Silva switched, everyone seems to agree, is that she felt more comfortable playing with Dodd.
Being a stranger in a strange land was difficult for Silva. And Dodd could relate, having made the move from Colombia to the U.S. nine years ago, a teen-ager who could speak no English.
"I think a lot of the reason Jackie chose me is that I can understand the difficulties of being a foreigner in the United States," said Dodd, who teaches bilingual education in the Lennox area. "I've had to get my green card, my work permit, my visa and all that. And I know what it's like to learn English, so I don't make fun of her. I don't laugh when, to others, it's hilarious that she's messing up her English."
Chisholm, who says she was preoccupied with wedding plans last season and didn't spend enough time with her partner, acknowledges she could have been more of a friend to Silva. "A lot of it was my fault," she said. "I could have helped her more."
Instead, Silva is now a regular visitor to the comfortable El Segundo home that Dodd shares with her husband, volleyball star Mike Dodd, and two basenji dogs. And according to Dodd, the teammates talk on a daily basis.
"Now it's good because we have fun inside the court and outside the court," said Silva, who is living in Lawndale. "Patty and I can be together a long time."