Gay Volleyball: Stories from our Early History

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 10, 2008 5:06 PM GMT
    Hello Everyone,

    My name is Keilan, and I am interested in the early history of gay volleyball. Did you know, for example, that gays were playing volleyball together in Laguna Beach, CA as early as 1968? It's true. There were at least two teams: one called the "Majorettes" and another called the "Bodettes," named for their respective captains. A local radio station called KWER (no longer in existence) broadcast the teams' Memorial Day festivities that year. I'm sure they queered it up icon_biggrin.gif

    There have got to be other stories out there like these--many of which were lost to us during the devastating 80s. So I thought I'd open this discussion topic to try and recuperate our early memories of playing volleyball together. Your posts will serve as a kind of collective archive.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Keilan

    P.S. I use the term "gay volleyball" as shorthand for any group of sexual minorities who play volleyball together. So, basically, anyone who reads these posts should feel welcome to reply. Anyone, that is, except haters.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Nov 10, 2008 5:25 PM GMT
    The group I play with, Syracuse Volleyballers, has been an active league since 1980. We have one person still playing who has been with the league the entire time.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Nov 10, 2008 6:33 PM GMT
    Our indoor competitive group (now a Club) V.O.I.L.A. was formed in the mid 80s to provide a place where some gay volleyball friends could play without being harassed and discriminated against (sometimes including being physically assaulted) as the were/are at the straight venues.
    There were also some gay guys that started small groups to play at WIll Rogers Beach in Santa Monica and Venice Beach for fun and as in the indoor group, a place where you could be yourself IE: scream and carry on. icon_evil.gif
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    Nov 10, 2008 8:50 PM GMT
    Hey Timberoo,

    Thanks for responding. Have you ever heard any anecdotes or "folklore" about the early Syracuse volleyballers? Do you know anything else about how they formed? I'd love to hear more.

    Cheers,
    K
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    Nov 10, 2008 8:53 PM GMT
    Hey TallGWM,

    How long have you been playing vball? When did you join up with gay guys to play?

    K
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Nov 10, 2008 9:17 PM GMT
    keilan_vball saidHey Timberoo,

    Thanks for responding. Have you ever heard any anecdotes or "folklore" about the early Syracuse volleyballers? Do you know anything else about how they formed? I'd love to hear more.

    Cheers,
    K


    I knew the man who founded it, Bill Gleason. It started as a summer, pick-up league in one of the parks here at Syracuse University. At one point they would have 6 nets set up. Eventually they moved inside and started using USVBA rules.

    One of the things I like about my league is that we all start the season as free agents. We don't have whole teams that sign up. There is a broad range of skill levels and we try to have the teams as balanced as possible. It's more fun and allows less experienced players to get better.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Nov 10, 2008 11:48 PM GMT
    keilan_vball saidHey TallGWM,

    How long have you been playing vball? When did you join up with gay guys to play?

    K



    I started playing volleyball in 1995 when I saw a group of gay men playing on the grass in Griffith Park. I went over to watch and was invited to play.
    When they saw I was a beginner they yelled at me to learn to play!
    So, I took classes at several local colleges and clinics run by UCLA and other groups..... shortly after starting to play with VOILA I joined the board of directors and was elected President in 1997 and have been there ever since with a short respite.
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    Nov 11, 2008 1:01 AM GMT
    Timberoo,

    Our league here in Pittsburgh has a recreational division and a competitive division. Everyone enters as a free agent, but they're assigned to the rec or competitive division according to their skills. We don't want beginners to be too intimidated by the highly skilled players.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Nov 11, 2008 1:03 AM GMT
    keilan_vball saidTimberoo,

    Our league here in Pittsburgh has a recreational division and a competitive division. Everyone enters as a free agent, but they're assigned to the rec or competitive division according to their skills. We don't want beginners to be too intimidated by the highly skilled players.


    Interesting Timberoo... I have never played in a league (we don't have them here) so it is a foreign concept. icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 11, 2008 1:05 AM GMT
    TallGWM,

    Were the players at Griffith Park serious when they yelled at you to learn how to play? That wasn't very nice. I thought gay sports were supposed to provide a welcoming environment. In any case, I'm glad you weren't too discouraged and that you went on to join a gay league.
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    Nov 11, 2008 1:07 AM GMT
    The concept of "club volleyball" is foreign to me. How are leagues different from clubs?
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Nov 11, 2008 1:09 AM GMT
    We only average 30 to 36 people a season, so we have to have mixed teams.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Feb 17, 2009 8:49 PM GMT
    keilan_vball saidThe concept of "club volleyball" is foreign to me. How are leagues different from clubs?


    Sorry I haven't responded sooner.

    Our Club differs from a league in that we have open gym meaning anyone can sign up for a night and play THAT night only.
    We have an organizing Board and rules. After 24 players that meet the skill level requirements of that particular night, we make teams and post the night's shedual on the wall. Games are refereed and you stay on the same team all night. People are allowed to bring a team when they are signed up to play in our tournaments or any NAGVA tournament coming up soon.

    Does that answer it?
    I recently joined a men's straight league... the team has good players but no team spirit and we have lost every game so far.... not sure I will continue.


    -- Ron