MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If you journey to downtown Minneapolis you can’t miss the volleyball players. They are everywhere.
The biggest tournament in the country is going on at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and the numbers are staggering.
Overall, the tournament includes 60 courts and 1,230 teams.
“Well this is our Girl’s Junior National Championship. It’s the biggest event we put on every year. And we have roughly 1,230 teams here,” B.J. Evans, U.S.A. Volleyball spokesperson, said.
While a national tournament, there is a strong Minnesota presence.
The Northern Lights program out of Lakeville, Minn. has several teams in the field
They’ve travelled these national roads for years.
“Minnesota has a very strong volleyball program,” Northern Lights volleyball coach, Jerry Beckmann, said. “Our club is also strong around the country. We’re pretty well known.”
But you do wonder if year round volleyball is a good thing, versus getting the balance of a multi-sport career.
Ask a two-time Olympic silver medalist and you get a predictable answer.
“You can never play too much volleyball,” Olympic medalist Tayyiba Hanhef-Park said “It is a year round sport and I think the girls are becoming much better athletes because of it.”
It does keep the girls moving all year long.
Moving, and traveling.
Some teams came from as far away as Hawaii, which seems a bit ironic given Minnesota’s climate most of the year.
But for these volleyball players, it is not just a sport but a way of life.