Twice a week, groups of students at John Brown University gather together to advance their knowledge and skill. They labor for hours, digging deep, assisting one another, striving for aces. No, this is not a study group – this is club volleyball.
While most college students expect to leave organized sports behind after graduating high school, volleyball enthusiasts at JBU have found a way to continue partaking in their passion. Club volleyball is a popular outlet for those who want to continue improving their game as well as for those who are interested in learning to play volleyball.
“I have always loved the sport but never had an opportunity to play consistently because I didn’t think I was good enough,” club president Austin Hudson said about volleyball. Hudson only began playing volleyball within a team environment last year when club members needed an extra player and asked him to join their game. They invited him back the following week, and he soon became a regular attender.
“Club has helped me feel more comfortable around campus through having a larger social network, and given me a way to exercise in a way that is fun,” Hudson said.
Clancie Sorrell, a freshman player, said she joined club volleyball because she missed playing for her high school team.
“Since I don’t play a sport now, I feel so inactive and I needed something to do,” Sorrell said. She said she soon became enamored with the atmosphere of club volleyball, and now regularly attends practices and scrimmages.
“We have fun,” she said. “When we scrimmage it’s not like we’re keeping score…It’s very fun and relaxing.” Sorrell said the laid-back character of Club Volleyball attracts many different types of players, some who never even played before. Sorrell said that sometimes the new players can feel discouraged or out of place when they don’t perform as well as they would like to at first.
“We all try to encourage them to stay with it,” Sorrell said.
Rose Hanlon never played volleyball before coming to JBU.
“I really enjoy watching others play and I just have always loved volleyball,” Hanlon said. She decided she wanted to play for the club team before even coming to JBU.
“Transitioning to play on a college volleyball team was tough because I realized I did not know as much as I thought I did about playing volleyball,” Hanlon said. “When I mess up, it’s hard to keep going.”
Amid the adversity she faces while trying to hone her volleyball skills, Hanlon said she continues to enjoy the environment of club volleyball.
“It has been a good way to meet more people and has expanded my friend group,” she said.
“Also, it feels good to be a part of something like a team.”
Club volleyball first started at JBU in 2008, maintaining around 20 active participants since then. They meet Tuesday and Thursday nights year-round from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Health Complex Recreational gym.