By Rob Ficiur
Everyone in Bow Island knew there was provincial volleyball in town this week. For more than a year a group of dedicated volunteers have been organizing this weekend to make it the success it was. If you were unaware of the planning part of provincial volleyball, all Bow Islanders knew something was happening because the town seemed to have doubled in population.
The front page of this paper will have a review of who won (and who lost) the Boys and Girls 1A Provincial Volleyball tournament. The following are my random observations, as someone who was not involved but still got drawn in to the excitement. Years ago school sports took up much of our free time as we followed children to various tournaments and events. Once our children were not involved it became easy to lose to with the excitement (and disappointment) that comes with these important tournaments. This week as we watched the present we thought back to our highs and lows – but mostly the great family time we had being volleyball parents.
-Being in the gym there was energy from the opening ceremonies on. When the community becomes involved, it generates excitement. In this case we brought in other like-minded communities (the other teams) and the excitement level rose to a higher level. Let the games begin…took a long time coming.
-During the first game “our girls” tested the heart rate of their fans. After spotting other team a big lead in the first game, the girls almost came back and won. They continued their momentum and won the second game. We were done…so we thought. There is a third game? Normally at tournaments there is not a tie-breaking game. In this tournament there was a tie-breaker. Again our girls won tie breaker in a back and forth volleyball match that reminded us how exciting this sport can be.
-In our modern world we can watch these games on the internet. Watching from the comforts of home had one advantage and multiple disadvantages. The only big advantage to home watching was we had access to softer chairs. The bleachers get harder ever year that I get older. But even as I relaxed in my soft chair, I knew I was missing part of the volleyball game.
The crowd’s energy and excitement was not felt on the internet feed. We knew the scores as we watched every play. The volume and emotions of the crowd did not transfer through the screen. It was hard to tell if our fans were cheering or the other team’s fans were cheering.
While watching on the computer the screen froze at the worst moments. Now there was emotion, but it was directed at the computer! On one occasion by the time I got the screen unfrozen we scored three points. That was annoying we missed seeing three of our points. The next time the computer froze the score annoyed me again. This time the other team scored three points while computer reset.
No matter where you watch a volleyball game (or any sporting event) there is no perfect seat. When we saw the games in person, there was always an angle or a crowd member in the way so you could not know for sure if a ball was in or out. While watching on the computer this problem was worse. When the ball went down near the net or in the far court, the only way I could tell which team scored the point was by the reaction of the players. Many times I groaned because I was sure the ball had landed on the wrong side, only to see our players serving (meaning we got that point.)
In person, or via the internet feed, the tournament brought the community together. I saw people I had not seen in a long time. There is that Volleyball Grandpa coming to see this tournament just like he did when his grandsons played with our boys. There is that volleyball mom we have hardly seen since our volleyball days ended. Who is that? That fellow with the beard is the one we used to watch play school sports…was that ten years ago! Wow. (Then of course there was the other people we saw… Wow his hair is greyer than last time I saw him… he must be getting older.
-Driving around Bow Island Saturday there was no place to park either downtown or near the schools. The town was full. It was neat to see a trade show at the Bow Island Elementary school on Saturday. When we were visiting fans in rural tournaments we often wondered what do we do for three hours between games?
All teams that came to the tournaments this weekend were zone champions the week before. The way of sports and this tournament was that only one team left here the champion. Once the sting of losing provincials (whether by two points or two games) wears off, students and parents will be able to look back at the memories of a once in a life time (or once in a year) event.
-In an event like this there are is more planning involved than most of us will ever know. The planning included preparing for things that did not happen. Thank you to the organizing committee. We can easily take for granted how well this turned out – but it was not by chance.