REALITY – Boys Volleyball Gets Underserved Stereotype
By Thomas Gallagher / Central Bucks East High School
Posted Feb 1, 2019 at 5:00 AM
“Don’t get any preconceived notions in your head that volleyball isn’t a fun or cool sport. Watch a close game, and nothing will rival the enthusiasm, talent and atmosphere that captivates the entire gym.”
I just started playing volleyball this fall, and I have fallen in love with the sport. The necessity of playing together with your teammates and excitement generated during a long rally or a close game is unparalleled to any other sport.
Therefore, it pains me when people let stereotypes determine how the sport is viewed.
In 2014, boys volleyball became the fastest growing varsity sport in NCAA history, which gives me some hope that the stereotypes attached to the sport are vanishing.
The popularity boom is due to the sheer excitement of the game.
I played for Central Bucks East’s varsity team this year, and we were playing Pennsbury in the district semifinals to guarantee a trip to the state championship tournament. We lost the first two sets but won the third; it is best of five.
Near the end of the fourth set (which we were winning as well), I looked to the crowd and I was shocked to see the guys basketball team in the stands, watching us.
One of the members of the team was a best friend of mine who trashed the sport many times. As we won the fourth set, the basketball team actually looked like they were having fun. As we went through the fifth set, the game was tied at 15, and we only had to score two points in a row to win. We ended up winning the match, and my team, along with the basketball team, stormed the court in what was one of the coolest sports experiences I have ever had.
The next day, I was talking to my friend, and in common teenager slang, he said, “Yo, that was one of the hypest games I’ve ever seen.” This was a cool thing for me to hear, especially coming from a long-time volleyball pessimist.
The stereotype that you don’t have to be athletic to be a volleyball player baffles me. When you are blocking or hitting, you have to hit your maximum vertical pretty much every five seconds until the point is over, pounding the ball as hard as you can. When matches last five sets, this is exhausting. During club season, when you’re playing three, four or even five matches a day, this is torture.
When half the entire sport relies on how high you can jump or how fast you can hit the ground, I can gladly put the stereotype to rest. Don’t get any preconceived notions in your head that volleyball isn’t a fun or cool sport. Watch a close game, and nothing will rival the enthusiasm, talent and atmosphere that captivates the entire gym.