Come spike the ball in Windsor Locks

By Meryl Levesque - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Jan. 19, 2012
(L-r) Brian Shiveley, Recreation Department Program Coordinator Rachel Wright and Brian Ciccio prepare for a Wednesday night volleyball game. Photo by Meryl Levesque.
(L-r) Brian Shiveley, Recreation Department Program Coordinator Rachel Wright and Brian Ciccio prepare for a Wednesday night volleyball game. Photo by Meryl Levesque.

Did you know that the game of volleyball was created on Feb. 9, 1895, by the physical education director at the local YMCA in Holyoke, Mass.? His name was William G. Morgan, and he first created a game called Mintinette, which was similar to the games we know today as tennis and handball. Morgan, feeling the enthusiasm of basketball escalating in Springfield, just around the corner from his hometown, felt the desire to design an indoor sport that would not be as rough as basketball, especially for his older members at the YMCA, but still requiring some athletic stimulation.

In 1896, a man named Alfred Halstead was observing the first exhibition match played at the International YMCA Training School, now known as Springfield College, and remarked on the volleying nature of the game. It was then that the game became known as volleyball.

If you have ever played or watched a great game of volleyball, you know that it can be exhilarating. Play happens quickly and you must be on your toes from serve to volley and back again. Learning to “spike” the ball takes some practice, and you must have good teammates who know how to set these moves up.

This is what the Windsor Locks folks are trying to create through the town’s recreation department, according to its new director, Dave Wrabel, who is a native to Windsor Locks.

Wrabel, a UConn graduate, began working in the recreation department when he was 16 years old. He has held every position within the department, including refereeing and coaching the Windsor Locks High School varsity soccer team for eight years - some of this time while attending UConn. His main goal as director is “to get everyone in town to participate in a recreation program,” he said. He hopes to get the volleyball drop-in program on Wednesday nights hopping.

Rachel Wright, also a Windsor Locks resident, has been playing volleyball in town for the past five years. She became coordinator of the program two years ago when the previous person had to step down. Wright said, “There has been quite a bit of turnover this past year. Some people were injured, and some just dropped out of sight.” She would also like to see this program thrive and encourages players of all abilities to come and just have fun.

Wrabel and Wright are encouraging people to bring some friends, bring their mates and bring their teenage kids - it will get them off the computer. If you have made a New Year's resolution to be more active, lose weight and meet new people, the recreation department offers this as an excellent way to do all three.

The program meets at the South Elementary School on Wednesday nights from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The fee is $5 per night, and no sign-up is required. For more information, contact Dave Wrabel at 860-627-1420.

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