By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The renaissance of three team sports in the territory following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017, begins on Saturday with the opening of the Virgin Islands Volleyball Association power league at 4 p.m. at the Multipurpose Sports Complex, marking a major milestone in team sports post Irma recovery.
The BVI Softball Association league opens next month and the BVI Basketball Federation is planning a summer league.
The first post Irma Volleyball Power League is expecting to have seven Jr. and Sr. Division teams respectively, although no names have been released. The league opener will be highlighted by an All Stars Game.
“There were many challenges that were faced after the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria that caused the power league to not happen in 2018 and 2019,” a VIVA statement said. “This year will be more powerful and competitive like never before. VIVA is excited for this year’s league as we will have a Junior Division comprising of players 18 years and under. This is an opportunity for coaches to build our junior program and see our talented young players.”
Additionally, games will be played on a new court—donated by the International Volleyball Federation, through its regional governing body—North Central and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) –which will be handed over to the government during the opening proceedings. The court also accommodates basketball and replaced the one damaged during Hurricane Irma.
League games are scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, with a 4 p.m. start on Saturdays, 3 on Sundays and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. The league is expected to run 8-10 weeks. The entrance fee is $3 for adults and $1 for children.
Softball League starts in March
The BVI Softball Association wrapped up play in the Raymundo “Mundo” Boynes Memorial Softball Tournament at the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Park on September 3, 2017, with teams from St. Thomas and St. Croix, just three days before Hurricane Irma struck and destroyed the territory.
The softball field was severely damaged with walls broken and blown down, seating uprooted and fencing dislodged. The sport has been dormant ever since, after being the last to see action before the killer storm struck the territory.
Following a massive cleanup and the installation of lights, the association has announced plans for the restart of its first post Irma league on March 14. Registration is currently in progress through March 6.
With no league, the association has been unable to field teams in regional competitions.
Plans for industrial softball is slated to begin on April 14.
The down period provided a unique opportunity for Volleyball and Softball in particular to foster the development of their youth programs. However, this didn’t occur.
There’s a dire need for community grassroots based sports program as in the past. The focus on our organizations must be on the early development to ensure the longevity in their respective sports. Hopefully, this critical aspect of development will be address because sports is built from the fountain of youth.