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STEELE SPORTS

Boys volleyball falls short again
By
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor
Steele County, sports, sports column, johnnie phillips, volleyball

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) confirmed last week that boys volleyball will once again not be a part of its recognized sports this upcoming fall.

In recent years, the MSHSL has seen boys volleyball reach the voting stage to be considered for recognition multiple times; however, the sport has yet to break through the 32-vote threshold needed to be officially recognized.

Unfortunately for boys volleyball fans, the sport came up just one vote shy with 31 total votes of the 32 that it needed to reach the required two-thirds threshold out of the 48 representatives field.

As a sports fan, my take on this situation is that it is a major blunder.

Having grown up with a sister who played volleyball, and having played co-ed beach volleyball myself in the summers as a teenager, I can say that I have an appreciation for the sport.

Just like all sports, volleyball takes a high level of athleticism and skill.

Some of the best athletes I grew up with were dominant volleyball players for their high school teams as the sport requires a mixture of jumping ability, quick-twitch reflexes and concentration.

The real shame in men’s volleyball not being officially recognized is not only the fact that young athletes who are passionate about the game will not have the chance to represent their school, but also that elite-level athletes will lose out on scholarship opportunities as a result of a lack of exposure.

While Minnesota does have men’s volleyball club teams, there is surely a difference in the amount of exposure to be gained by athletes who do not get to play local high school sports.

Another disappointing part of men’s volleyball not being approved by the MSHSL is that kids who should be able to participate in a sport for free through their school, will have to continue being pay-to-play athletes to financially support a club team.

I couldn’t imagine the pain that I would feel if my high school decided that my favorite sport was not going to be recognized by the state.

The memories and accomplishments that young athletes should have been able to make this fall will forever be a missed opportunity.

The MSHSL will likely vote again on the matter next year, and after losing out on recognition in 2021 by two votes, the sport does seem to be trending in the right direction only missing out on reinstatement by one vote this year.

Men’s volleyball fans in Steele County will have to keep their fingers crossed that the MSHSL will finally break the threshold and recognize men’s volleyball as an official high school sport next season.

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