The test of time and volleyball! Volleyball is a game for two teams in which the object is to keep a large ball in motion, from side to side over a high net, by striking it with hands before it touches the ground. Today, volleyball is known as a sport for high school, college and the Olympics mainly played by women. But, where did volleyball initially begin? In 1895, the first game of volleyball was played in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Developed by William G. Morgan of the YMCA, it was for older men because it was a less demanding game than basketball. The game was originally called Mintonette.
Taking a tennis net and cues from basketball and baseball, the game was developed. The net was only six foot six inches high at first, which is about the height of an average man. During this time there was no limit of the number of players on a team or a limit of the number of times that one side could make contact with the ball before sending it back over the net. The name volleyball emerged when the set and hit (or spike) idea was developed in 1916 in the Philippines and the players began to “volley” the ball back and forth across the net (Oden).
While the YMCA was spreading the sport, so were others. The game was embraced by the US military and became the highlight of their free time. Soldiers stationed everywhere began teaching one another the game and taught the local schools as well, unintentionally spreading the sport to many nations. Today, volleyball is still played in the military and has become a competitive sport during the off time. The military has formed teams, both men and women in the Army, Navy, and other branches.
They have a set schedule of games to compete against one another during the time that they have. These games are open to everyone on the particular base and they do encourage outside participation. When volleyball began, it was an indoor sport only. Around the 1920’s, the game was brought to the beach for the first time. Where the first beach game was played is still a debate today, but the theory says it was either in Santa Monica, CA or The Outrigger Canoe Club in Hawaii. Along with the game being played outside on the beach came beach tournaments.
These tournaments started as early as 1948, but the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) did not begin until somewhere around 1983. The AVP is a group for professional beach volleyball players. It is strictly for those who play beach volleyball and want to travel around the world. Being a part of the AVP is a job for everyone involved (Ace). I could only imagine getting paid to play volleyball all day. But, being in the AVP takes time, talent, and training. Without these three things one cannot succeed in the AVP.
Volleyball became big for college around July 7, 1986 when the first actual game of “volleyball” was played at Springfield College (Westlake High School Athletic Department). Since then, many people have been given scholarships to continue their career from high school into college. But, the known idea of college scholarships for volleyball is a fairly new idea. Although the sport has been around for over one hundred years, the first scholarship for college was not given until forty years ago by UCLA. Before then, college volleyball was not well-known and the money was not being budgeted for the scholarships.
Volleyball was becoming a more popular sport after beach volleyball was introduced, but it was not recognized in the Olympics until 1964, and even then it was only indoor volleyball that was added as such a sport. Beach volleyball was added to the mix in 1996 and instantly became one of the most watched and loved sports in the Olympics. The USA had their first win for the gold medal in Men’s volleyball under the watchful eye of Coach Hugh McCutcheon who remarkably after learning of a family tragedy right before the game was still able to keep his head on straight and lead the men to a gold win.
After getting the win in 2008 with the men in Beijing, McCutcheon took on a whole new challenge as the Olympic women’s volleyball coach (Brewer). “I saw an opportunity to grow and evolve and to have this really unique experience to coach both national teams, which has been fantastic. I mean, it’s been a challenge, but it’s been awesome. I’m so, so happy to be here with this team right now,” McCutcheon said (gtd. in Brewer). The women’s team which is now ranked number one in the world, won a silver medal in 2011 at the World Cup, and this year they won the World Grand Prix for the third consecutive year while having a 14-0 record.
Although the women have not won a gold medal at this time, McCutcheon says he has them right where he wants them and they are on a mission for the gold (Brewer). It’s crazy to think that a game that started out as something for older men is now a competitive sport in schools and also a sport in the Olympics. Throughout my career I always thought of how amazing it would be to be able to get paid to play as many people do starting with a college career and then advance forward but due to certain injuries my dream ended my senior year of high school.
Works Cited Ace. AVP is back! 12 April 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012 Brewer, Parke. US Women’s Volleyball Team Seeks 1st Olympic Gold. 25 July 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012 Oden, Beverly. Volleyball History 101. 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012 School, Westlake High. Volleyball Brief History. 2011. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. “volleyball” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. Web. 05 Nov. 2012
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