Perhaps your only interaction with the sport of volleyball is playing a pickup game during a picnic in your backyard. It’s casual, it’s fun and the stakes are low…maybe the losing team gets the postgame keg pumped.
But take a look around you on the competitive stage, where the game is blowing up and blossoming at every level. High school teams are producing talented players that go on to get plucked by collegiate coaches. These athletes, girls and boys, will sometimes play year-round on club teams that travel and bring home hardware from national events. The state of Wisconsin has players who excel in this sport, and the numbers don’t lie. Girls start out playing in grade school, and the boys continue to grow the game and add teams in the WIAA pool.
And then you have the Badgers and Golden Eagles. Two in-state franchises that have built powerhouse programs in the NCAA field. Marquette just got knocked out in the Sweet 16 by top ranked Texas, and Wisconsin, well, all they did was win the national championship last season, and the Badgers are in the Elite Eight looking to repeat. Marquette, with Ryan Theis at the helm, brings almost their entire arsenal back next season, and Bucky, under head coach Kelly Sheffield, is a true national power every season that draws in elite talent.
Do yourself a favor. Take in a match at The Al, or if you’re lucky enough to find a ticket, at the Fieldhouse in Madison. Even if you are a casual observer, watch this sport in person…see and feel what so many are talking about. There is passion, skill, grit, and edge of your seat rallies on display.
TV numbers don’t lie either…the sport continues to get more eyeballs watching than a lot of other popular sporting events you might guess, would have more.
The volleyball bandwagon. Climb aboard…there’s still plenty of room.