Paradise volleyball club broadens membership, doubles the fun

·2 min read

A Paradise recreation volleyball league has served boys an opportunity to get in on the action with the girls and organizer Kim Blagdon said it has been a gamechanger.

Blagdon and her husband Chris formed the league in the summer of 2019 as an all female, eight-week rec program designed to give girls an opportunity to play during the summer months.

“The kids made their own teams with kids from other schools, so they got the opportunity to play with friends that they wouldn’t get the opportunity to play with on a school team, and it became really popular,” said Blagdon.

A co-ed adult league soon followed, but still there was no place for boys on the court, until Blagdon began receiving requests for a mixed youth league. She contacted the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association (NLVA), who gave her tips on how to open the game to boys.

“The boys hit backcourt, and we only have one male blocker, and so on and so forth, so it levels the playing field,” said Blagdon.

The league launched a five-week mini co-ed league that ran the month of January to test the waters.

That league, said Blagdon, was a success.

“It was so much fun, it was probably the most fun we had at volleyball since we started,” she said. “In March, granted that things don’t get shut down, we’re going to run the female rec league on one side of the gym, and then co-ed rec league on the other side of the gym, so that anyone in that age group that wants to play will have a place to play.”

The league, of course, follows COVID-19 guidelines set out by the NLVA and the Paradise Rotary Youth Community Centre, and Blagdon said that the extra steps are worth the effort, especially as so many youth sports and activities were cancelled last year.

“They lost a lot of the exercise that they normally get,” said Blagdon. “A lot of these kids play multiple sports a day. And then they had no activity for so long. And it does affect youth’s mental health the same as it would affect anyone who is used to having a lot of exercise and activity and then nothing.”

Blagdon said registration fees are put towards hiring newly certified youth referees, giving them the necessary experience to coach at provincial levels later in life.

Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News