Diggin’ the sand
The beach volleyball courts on Stanford University’s campus give way to a whole different culture of Paly sports. There are crowds of people wearing bro tanks and hats, songs pumping in the background and on occasion burgers sizzling on a grill off to the side. Who are these people covered in sweat and sand? They are members of the Paly Beach Volleyball club, making good use of the sunny California weather to take a break from homework and have a good time.
Following the Olympic success of three time gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings this summer, the popularity surrounding the sport of beach volleyball has been renewed.
Paly has embraced this phenomenon with the creation of a club in which students of all ages can hit the sand to work out and have fun on the courts scattered around Stanford. Consisting of 17 girls and 37 boys, the club members participate in various matches and tournaments on weekends.
Club leaders Jonathan Ziegler (‘14) and Will Mendenhall (‘14) used to play every weekend with friends and loved playing so much they made it a club.
“Will came up with the idea,” Ziegler said. “I took it and said, ‘This is going to be great, I’m going to put it into action.’ “It turned out to just be really really fun and just a great club and I’m really happy Will and I started it.”
Unlike P.E. volleyball, where the ball seems to ricochet in every direction, the beach volleyball club players have great ball control and the games become very competitive and intense. Even players on the two-time State Championship volleyball team find the level of play to be high and the atmosphere aggressive.
“I was kind of surprised that people were actually pretty good,” outside hitter Becca Raffel (‘14) said. “Beach volleyball is different than indoor volleyball so it was pretty fun to play with people who only play beach volleyball and see what their style of play is. It’s actually pretty competitive. I watched a couple of games and they were pretty close and the people were really into it.”
Players enjoy not only the chance to socialize and have fun, but also the chance to get in a good work out.
“Overall I would just say that the main goal of the club is for us to have fun and have a new activity that we can do,” Ziegler said. “This goal was definitely accomplished.”