About BTiell Sports Reports

Dr. Bonnie Tiell writes a monthly column for the Tiffin Advertiser Tribune Sports Department (http://www.advertiser-tribune.com/). This blog archives each column and dates back to the 2008 Olympic Academic Experience in Beijing, China. Check out the Blog Archives to read more. Check out info about the TU Olympic Academic Experience at http://www.tuolympics.blogspot.com/ and contact Dr. Tiell at btiell@tiffin.edu

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NOVEMBER 2009 Why the Local Volleyball Success?

What wonderful sports-filled Saturdays we are able to spend every weekend in Tiffin, Ohio. We now head into hoop season, but one of my favorite past Saturdays included stops to five area volleyball games. The morning began at Sieberling Gym to catch Heildelberg (congrats on the third straight national tournament appearance!). The crowd was filled with familiar faces which really spoke to the community connection to the sport.

Local standouts Jackie Reinhart (New Riegel) and OAC first-team player Morgan Majors (Old Fort) are great local products competing at Heidelberg. Morgan along with teammate Amanda Atchinson (Franfort, Ohio) and Assistant Coach Kiara Ruffing (Seneca East and Tiffin University) serve as head coaches at Dave Reinhart’s Black Swamp Volleyball Club facility out by the Seneca County airport. Several of Tiffin University's current players are also on Dave’s coaching circuit. Black Swamp is part of USA Volleyball’s well-developed Junior Olympic training program.

Dave’s legacy and what he has done to promote volleyball after his five state titles with Hopewell are tremendous assets to our community. Congrats too, to Hopewell and their state appearance this season. The Calvert-Hopewell volleyball rivalry was recently fueled by the respect the state-bound Chieftons gave to the Lady Senecas when responding to media questions about their toughest opponent and favorite season memory. The players most popular responses were:

1) Toughest Opponent: Calvert
2) Favorite Season Memory: Beating Calvert in three straight games

Ironically, a handful of those spectators I saw in Heidelberg’s gym one early Saturday morning (including a few from Calvert and Hopewell) happened to follow my path of supporting local volleyball games which included a pair of sixth-grade CYO games, a trip back to Berg-up for an afternoon match-up featuring two nationally ranked teams, and on to the Calvert-New Riegel tournament show down (yes, Calvert prevailed). Players and parents from Black Swamp and a half dozen local high schools were around everywhere that Saturday – all for the love of the game of volleyball.

My favorite stop was perhaps the CYO game where Tiffin-Calvert fielded two evenly matched sixth-grade teams which finished first and second in regular season play. It was pre-determined if the two teams made it to the tournament finals, they would be declared co-champions and not compete.

Not compete? Co-Champions? That’s a topic I am steering clear from out of respect for the great volunteers who organize all the CYO programs for our local Catholic grade schools. Tiffin is fortunate to have a solid CYO program and clubs such as Black Swamp to provide area youth the opportunity to develop their skills, have fun, and (most of the time) compete.

There were no volleyball clubs around when I was young. Volleyball wasn’t even offered as a sport at my high school (Berkmar) which is located on the outskirts of Atlanta. Berkmar High does field a volleyball team today, but when I graduated with close to 400 seniors in the early eighties, the only sports available for girls were basketball, track, and tennis. Yes, during my graduation year, almost a decade after Title IX, my high school offered seven sport programs for boys and only three for girls. Now, Atlanta area has thirteen competitive junior Olympic volleyball programs within twenty-five miles of my high school.

Athletic opportunities have certainly increased for females at every level and it is great to see the competitive development of Olympic training through programs and facilities such as Black Swamp. The perceived motivational climate and ideal body image of female athletes have certainly changed over the decades.
Society says it is “okay” for daddy’s little girl to be just as competitive or physically fit or train just as hard as her brother. Just ask Danica Patrick who is about to join Dale Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports Nationwide Team and may be headed for a NASCAR debut next year. Or, just consider the Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor duo who demonstrated amazing athleticism in their beach volleyball careers. Congrats to Misty (and her husband) who delivered a beautiful baby boy nine months after winning the 2008 Olympic gold medal. It’s okay to sweat, and still show that feminine side.

Michelle Wie is another great example of a class act that plays just as hard as the boys. Wie finally won her first LPGA tournament this past Sunday. I love the article from Golf.com that described the “dogfight” of the ladies in the final showdown. Yep, it’s definitely okay to sweat.
Speaking of golf – unfortunately K-Max’s end came too quickly on the Golf channel’s “Big Break Disney” after an unlucky water shot landed him in the elimination circle. At least he beat out a celebrity’s son and a former Olympian!

Stay tune, there are bound to be more interesting sport news from the area to report next month.

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