June 14, 2024
Older, shorter players, volleyball still has a place for you on the senior level

Editor’s be aware: Ray Glier is a veteran reporter and author who life in Atlanta. His operate has appeared in main news retailers, together with The New York Moments, Washington Submit, ESPN, Los Angeles Moments, MSNBC, Vice, Atlanta Journal-Structure and a lot of other individuals. He has created Geezer Jock News, a web-site devoted to senior athletes. Get hold of him at [email protected]

By Ray Glier for VolleyballMag.com

During the higher education volleyball postseason, 60-yr-aged Connie Armstrong could not wait to get in front of the television to check out the NCAA Match. She marvels above the athleticism of the players, particularly the hitters who wind up and swing absent yet again and once again. They have preposterous expertise to go with competitiveness, Armstrong mentioned. It gets her revved up for her have volleball tournaments, which consist of quite a few previous higher education players. 

But what strikes Armstrong most about today’s school sport is not the athleticism. It’s the top of the players. They are light-bulb changers, so many perfectly taller than 6 feeet. The common peak of a Division I participant, according to NCAA data, is 6 ft, which, counting setters and liberos, is pretty a little something.

There wouldn’t feel to be area for Armstrong in today’s higher-level school sport. She had what they have — attack jump and solution soar — but she was missing 1 factor.


She’s 5-foot-3½. 

In 1987, Armstrong was on the very first Division I group at the College of Central Florida,. Armstrong was a freakish athlete, also. She could get earlier mentioned the web with her vertical and could swing away.

She was, in a way, the Spud Webb of her volleyball era, recalling the previous 5-foot-6 North Carolina Point out star basketball participant, who experienced a 12-yr NBA career.

“Is there place for any individual like me in today’s video game?,” questioned Armstrong, who performed on the AVP Tour for 3 several years right after school. “Yes. It would consider a big work ethic and extreme leaping capacity, but you could do it.

Connie Armstrong

“I did it. I ran the stadium measures, lifted weights, and labored definitely tough. A shorter athlete can continue to enjoy this recreation. I could get about the internet and was a hitter.”

When we frequented with her, Armstrong was competing at the Florida Senior Game titles for Beaches, a 60-64 calendar year previous women’s staff. She is a qualified trainer in Port Orange, Florida, and while she can no more time routinely get in excess of the internet, she has speedy ft and plays a distinct activity of angles and crafty, albeit with fewer ability.

“The players now are on a so significantly increased stage than we had been,” she explained. “They’re all tall. And the video game is quicker now because of rally scoring. Our games took a very long time mainly because you did not rating if you did not serve.”

A person of Armstrong’s Senior Online games teammates is Sandy Garner, who was All-Metro Meeting and an All-American nominee at Memphis Point out (now University of Memphis). Garner, whose maiden identify is Sandy Monce, was component of a Memphis team that gained a faculty-record 41 matches in 1980. 

“The talent is just so unfold out now,” said Garner who is a P.E. teacher at Mainland High University in Daytona Seaside. “The West Coast universities dominated when I played. You see now that UCF just bought into the event and performed Penn Condition.”

What impresses Garner most about the recreation is the depth of expertise on rosters.

“In my working day most groups had a pair genuinely superior gamers,” she mentioned. “Today, groups have really great players sitting on the bench.”

But will individuals players adhere with the video game and improve it on the Masters stage?

The portal is open up. Far more and extra states are sponsoring senior online games that contain volleyball, each indoor and beach. It’s just a subject of acquiring the phrase out, Armstrong and Garner reported.

If you are shorter you can perform. If you’re older, you can also engage in. The match seems to be dominated by youth and top. It doesn’t have to be.

Sandy Garner

Garner, 63, said it is a problem for her to obtain women’s volleyball levels of competition among the the older cohorts, 41 many years right after the sport was formally sanctioned as a championship by the NCAA. That was in the fall of 1981, the season right after she stopped playing. 

These ladies from the 1980s are just now trickling into the around-55 and around-60 tournaments, but there are not ample rivals to make it a vibrant affair.

“If I want to engage in, I have to perform on a men’s net with the youthful fellas and I really do not want to play on a men’s net, I want to engage in on a women’s internet,” Garner reported. “I wouldn’t thoughts participating in with the young women, but I want to play on a women’s internet.

“We do not have adequate gamers locally to have a aggressive 60s league, so for these state game titles and nationals we put jointly groups from diverse spots. I’m participating in with men and women that I don’t know, but you meet up with persons from all more than the place with the identical common desire.”

The Florida Senior Video games experienced 7 groups, the most ever, for its around-55 tournament previous thirty day period in the Tampa area. Volleyball for ladies about 55 is raising in reputation simply because the pipeline coming from the colleges is starting up to generate extra gamers.

The 6-foot Garner, who coached significant university volleyball for a time, however receives a kick out of the video game. She wads her ego so little it can things into the toe of her footwear. She is aware of she has misplaced a move, or two or 3, but that does not preserve her from savoring the video game.

“I went to Biloxi with some girls and we performed a tournament and we played for the entertaining,” Garner said. “When I’m out there, I really do not come to feel like the 63-calendar year previous that I am. 

“When you’re out there that adrenaline’s flowing and it’s truly enjoyment.”

Now, it is a subject of luring other Geezer Jocks who after played the recreation in college again to the courtroom.