The Monday Night YMCA Recreational Sand Volleyball League held play-offs on Monday, August 14 in Otsiningo Park. The 16 teams were narrowed to a seeding of 6. Each team required 2 males and 2 females on their roster. The 6 Lost Doggers and 6 Airborners won their team a place in the championship match of the evening. Each defeated 2 other teams in side-by-side games played on adjacent sand courts. Due to the great turn-out this summer, some of the teams had not played one another during the regular season. So when the two finalists took their places on opposite sides of the net, they were meeting for the first time. Everyone, including Caleb, the ref, commented that the teams seemed pretty evenly matched based on their records. The Airborners took the first set; the Lost Doggers took the second. The third set ended without a winner. So they faced off in a 15 point win-all match, as the sun dropped behind a mountain. Not sure anyone could have predicted how similar their abilities were until they tied the score at 14-14! After 4 rounds of play, both the teams and daylight were equally worn down as night crept across the court. The Lost Dogs spiked one last volley over the net that landed unanswered in the dark shadows on the other side. The Lost Doggers and the Airborners consoled and congratulated with traditional team lines and handslaps, followed up with a very sincere,”Good game.”

The Lost Doggers’ 3 males and 3 females, celebrated with a few quick high 5’s, back pats and victory shouts. They stuck around long enough for a team photo and to introduce themselves. They also noted 2 of their members were seniors. One senior, Emmie, played for her first time on the Lost Dogs. But definitely not for the first time ever; she earned her share of “Rufios” for her spikes. Emmie is a member of the UE class of 2018 and Varsity Volleyball Team. Jamie, the other senior, has played on the Lost Dog team since it began more than 20 years ago. He is the only original player left. Let it be just be said, he gained his senior status by qualifying for AARP. (One or two additional team members are not far behind in years or time on the team.) Despite the age span, the team excelled in reading one another, knowing one another’s strengths and anticipating the next move. They reset and regrouped when they fell behind, but never lost the joy of playing the game. 1sandvball

So the 2017 YMCA of Broome County Coed Sand Volleyball League ended another smashing season as night fell. Not just the finalists, but each participant found a great way to stay fit and have fun. Like all the YMCA Adult Sports, the evening games also offered many opportunities for social interactions that encouraged a sense of belonging and friendship. Team spirit, co-operation and other Christian values first discovered in the 1890’s through the physical education programs at YMCA Training Schools make YMCA Adult League play a good time of R&R.

Many individuals may be aware that basketball began at a such a YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891; less may know that volleyball also started at a YMCA school just a few miles away and a few years later. According to the YMCA World Challenge Website, “… in 1895, William G. Morgan, an instructor at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts, sought to invent a game for his classes that would involve less physical contact than basketball. The result was volleyball – a mix of basketball, baseball, tennis and handball. The net that he used was 6 feet 6 inches high, just taller than the average man.” (It was first named, “Mintonette,” but renamed after Dr. Alfred T. Halstead, a spectator at the first exhibition game, suggested the name, “volley ball.”) 11sandvall

“Volleyball soon became extremely popular in the USA and, through the YMCA network, spread first to other parts of the Americas and then to other continents. By 1951 it was being played by over 50 million people in over 60 countries. In 1957 volleyball also became an Olympic sport.”

Though the Sand Volleyball league ended, please check out the YMCA Indoor Volleyball Leagues held during the fall and winter. Such a great way to stay active when the colder weather keeps you indoors.

Volleyball (indoor & sand)