BY HAILEY BROWN
“What team are you on?!” This seemed to be the question of many curious players that were trying to see what team their friends were on. That’s when talk of the newest addition to CCO sports, Cooper City Crush Beach Volleyball, seemed to take over. If one lived in Embassy Lakes, one couldn’t even get in the gate without seeing the massive crowd of friends and family watching the games.
Saturday July 1, was the opening day for Cooper City Optimist’s very first year of sand volleyball. They had raised enough money to be able to fill one of the two hockey rinks with sand and make four sand courts out of it. They offer age groups ranging from ten and under to the adult league with all being coed.
Various people were apart of creating and making sand volleyball apart of the many sports offered at Cooper City Optimist. Robbie Johnson was the man behind it all, after 3 years of trying he finally put the right team together to work to make this happen. Michael Hartman was a big help in the making. He provided the players and coaches with free clinics to ensure players are being taught the skill properly. Another one of them being Cooper City’s very own Jill Smitherman who ended up being the assistant commissioner.
“I was very glad to be apart of creating this sand volleyball league,” Smitherman said. “Teaching kids at a young age how to play the sport is great.
There are 5 age divisions offered, 10U, 12U, 14U, seniors and adults. Due to the lack of knowledge of the newly added sport, there was a low number of players from the first year. This being said there were just enough players, boys and girls, to create each coed age group.
With the sand volleyball becoming more well-known they hope to be able to create more leagues based on skill level and separate leagues for boy and girls. Along with a possible doubles added as well, they also hope to create different days for different skill levels.
Many other places helped with providing the equipment that could not be bought at full price due to lack of funding. They partnered with Volleyball USA to help provide them with the equipment, other local vendors to get the sand and an engineer to make sure nothing would become a safety hazard.
The season kept many people busy for the summer with it ranging from opening day on July 1, to the championship game on August 19, taking up the majority of the summer months. Along with there is also a fall league offered for adults, they could only play 4v4 or 2v2.
There seemed to be a lot of interest from the adult league mostly from Cooper City. The rule at the Optimist says, that in order for the sport to run, there has to be a certain ratio of Cooper City residents to residents outside of Cooper City, that amount being 70 to 30.
“It is a great opportunity for people who might be interested in playing the sport but don’t quite know enough about it,” player Kaitlyn Anthony said. “The free clinic was so useful for my little sister who wants to play but doesn’t know much about volleyball.”
With the next summer come next season of sand volleyball. It’s a great way to get out and have fun with friends while getting a workout in. It’s fun for the family and it’s located fairly close to any Cooper City resident. If you are interested in playing you can go to ccoptimistvolleyball.leag1.com.
Photo courtesy of Cooper City Optimist Volleyball