Friday, February 09, 2007

On this day in 1895...

...the game of volleyball was invented. From the FreeDictionary:

"[I]n Holyoke, Massachusetts, William G Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created a new game called Mintonette as a pastime to be played preferably indoors and by any number of players. The game took some of its characteristics from tennis and handball. Another indoor sport, basketball, was catching on in the area, having been invented just ten miles (sixteen kilometres) away in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts only four years before. Mintonette (as volleyball was then known) was designed to be an indoor sport less rough than basketball for older members of the YMCA, while still requiring a bit of athletic effort."

Actually, the game has taken on a more aggressive form. "Power volleyball" has caught on in the USA, at interscholastic and intervarsity levels, if more among girls than among boys, and in more recent years at the Olympics. My brother has served as a coach at a Catholic boys high school, and most of my family has played the game at some competitive level. I'm probably one of the few who hasn't.

An image from an international match between Italy and Russia in 2005. A Russian player on the left has just served, with three men of his team next to the net moving to their assigned block positions from the starting ones. Two others, in the back-row positions, are preparing for defense. Italy, on the right, has three men in a line, each preparing to pass if the ball will reach him. The setter is waiting for their pass while the middle hitter with no. 10 will jump for a quick hit if the pass will be good enough. Alessandro Fei (number 14) has no passing duties and is preparing for a back-row hit on the right side of the field. Note the two liberos with different color dress. Middle hitters/blockers are commonly substituted by liberos in their back-row positions.
An image from an international match between Italy and Russia in 2005. Click on the image for details of the game depicted. (Foto scattata da il 11/09/2005 al PalaLottomatica di Roma.)

I was more into hiking, camping and canoeing when I was a lad. Then there was karate in the 1980s. These days I'm more of -- what else? -- "a song and dance man." (See previous entry.)

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