When it comes to recreational sports that appeal to just about every body type, personality, and level of competitiveness, volleyball is the winner. Whether you’re 7 or 70, it’s easy to get excited about this sport.
Why It’s So Appealing
Almost everybody identifies with an Olympic sport and wants to participate. Volleyball gives players of all ages and abilities the opportunity to enjoy team spirit, whether the outcome is a big win or a major defeat.
Most of us first encounter volleyball in physical education class. In some elementary schools, small courts with nets to meet youngsters’ capabilities are very popular. Students who learn to love volleyball have a chance to compete on varsity teams in many American high schools.
According to the NCAA, volleyball ranks second only to basketball as the most-sponsored college women’s sport. Volleyball.com says that as of 2009, at least 800 million people played volleyball at least weekly across the globe. Americans who take advantage of this recreational activity numbered 46 million. Wheelchair volleyball has steadily increased in popularity.
The particular appeal to volleyball to 5’4″ couch potatoes like myself is that this recreational sport is so adaptable to players of various sizes and skill levels. In both high school and college, volleyball was the only sport in which I had a recreational interest. I had fairly weak wrists. However, I developed a knack of lightly serving the ball so that it floated gently, barely clearing the net. Players on the other side of the net missed it at least half the time, earning non-athletic me a positive reputation as a server.
Enjoying volleyball doesn’t have to mean playing a match or even a game. You and a friend can find just about any net and bat the ball back and forth. The moderate exertion is a great stress buster.
Love the shore but don’t want to get wet? Try some beach volleyball. Don’t want to play in the rain or snow? Use an indoor court.
Origins of Volleyball
This recreational activity began in Holyoke, Massachusetts. William G. Morgan, who taught at the Holyoke YMCA, came up with a sport that combined basketball, baseball, handball, and tennis. His goal was to design a recreational activity that had less physical contact than basketball for his classes of businessmen. He dubbed the game mintonette, found a tennis net, and raised it to a height of 6 feet, 6 inches.
During a casual game, a bystander commented to Morgan that the participants appeared to be volleying the ball across the net and suggested that “volleyball” might be a more appropriate name. It stuck. The first official volleyball game took place at Springfield College on July 6, 1896.
As a youngster, I was always picked last or close to it for team sports in school. Volleyball gave me a chance to feel I could make a contribution despite my obvious lack of athletic ability. It’s a great family activity that can encourage even the most reluctant child to enjoy physical recreation.