By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you want to get something significant done in life, most times it takes some perseverance and some help. Take the mission to bring high school boys’ volleyball to a sanctioned sport from club status.

It helped that Gov. Tim Walz has joined in encouraging that outcome. He was at the state tournament this week to support that initiative — the premise being the more opportunities the better for kids.

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“I love all youth sports and youth activities, so to see another opportunity here for these student athletes to participate — and Minnesota’s long tradition of women’s volleyball, of course,” Walz said. “I’m advocating as a parent and as a private citizen. I just think that this is great, the opportunity; I trust the High School League, it’s a fantastic organization. They make some decisions how they add new sports to it.”

They play in the gymnasium at Shakopee High School for the boys’ state volleyball tournament, and aside from Walz, the players had another interesting spectator, a 75-year-old who has committed much of his life to this sport.

Walt Weaver goes way back to when the sport for girls in this state in the ’80s was introduced. He led Apple Valley on a run, and he developed a lifelong passion, coaching various AAU teams over the years.

He’s leading the charge to get the boys’ version of the sport sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League, because he believes all should get their chance to participate.

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“This is such a great thing in terms of diversity, and all of the things kids love in school. If you go ask any of these kids out there right now, if they weren’t playing volleyball, they would not be out for a sport in their school,” Weaver said.

Walz said that about 85% of those playing boys’ volleyball aren’t in any other high school sports.

The move to add the sport in the MSHSL came up just short in a vote this spring, but what Weaver sees on the court tells him there is a surge.

“These kids are playing at a level that’s unbelievable and it’s only been, what is this, the third year? I think, if you take COVID out of it. It’s unbelievable, it’s great,” Weaver said.

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Mike Max