Beach volleyball's popularity
Posted at: 07/19/2012 5:18 PM
| Updated at: 07/19/2012 6:25 PM
By: Robin De Wind | WHEC.com
Rochester may have a reputation for being a cold and snowy place, but the popularity of beach volleyball has spiked. In the past ten years, Rochester has become a hot-bed for volleyball, both indoor and beach.
Rochester produces higher caliber high school players who have received Division I scholarships than any other area of the state. Interest in the indoor game is now moving to the beach.
McQuaid graduate Steve O’Dell is usually playing in a gym, but his summer nights are spent at Charlotte Beach.
O’Dell said, “I like the beach because I can touch it every time. I like the indoor game that’s fun as well. I think they bother contribute to being a great volleyball player overall.”
O’Dell is headed to UCLA on a full ride for indoor volleyball. He bucked a family trend after his three older brothers went to Penn State. O’Dell’s love of the outdoor game was a factor in his decision to go to school in California where the top beach volleyball players reside.
But Rochester’s natural and man made resources are making this a popular year round sport.
J.B. Shares, Owner of Hot Shots, said, “We have a lot of recreational and intermediate players that haven't played in a while since high school intramurals that will say we're going to put together a team. A lot of work teams get together.”
Thirty-five hundred people play indoor beach volleyball each week at Hot Shots volleyball facility on University Avenue. Beach outdoor leagues have taken off as well with 60 to 100 teams playing all summer.
There’s a spike in interest with this being an Olympic year. Both the U.S. men and women’s teams will be defending their gold.
Shares said, “You have a lot of good looking people, board shorts, bikinis, talented athletes; no doubt about it, beach volleyball has a vibe of being cool.”
But for Steve O’Dell, it’s more than just the “cool factor”, it’s about fulfilling a lifelong dream.
O'Dell said, “Thousands and millions of people have fought for our country to do the things they do so we have the ability to wear the red white and blue to support our country. I think that's the highest goal for all the athletes. If I can get there and just do a couple things right I would love to the go to the Olympics.”
London has put the beach volleyball venue just a stone’s throw from the prime minister’s office at 10 Downing Street.