By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
With no facility to play in since the passage of Hurricane Irma and the Multipurpose Sports Complex where matches were played still being used as a shelter for several of the territory’s residents whose homes have been destroyed and have been occupying the facility for the last five months, the Virgin Islands Volleyball Association has taken its game to Long Bay Beach, Beef Island.
This time of the year, VIVA would be gearing up for its annual Men and Women’s Power Leagues. The passage of Hurricane Irma however, has drastically altered the association’s plans and focus.
Willis Potter who began heading the association in late 2016, said because they’re displaced from the gym, they have erected two nets at Long Bay Beach, Beef Island on a permanent basis for everyone to play both on weekends and during the week. And players have been using the new arena, which has also been altered by Irma, leveling the once tilted surface.
“Outside of that, we’re looking into having an inter secondary schools volleyball league in conjunction with the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports,” Potter revealed. “I’m right now in consultation with Glenn Quinland (President of the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association) about getting a surface for the court in Baughers Bay at the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies to host volleyball. We’re hoping to have some home and away games where some games will be played in Baughers Bay and some in Virgin Gorda. Any school that has a court, we’re hoping to have home and away games for them as well.”
Additionally, Potter said that as soon as they can finalize getting the courts here and installed, they can put a starting date in place. “But, volleyball is still alive and well in the BVI and our national teams will have a surface to practice on,” he assured. “Our youth, Jr. and Sr. teams can practice in Baughers Bay, once we get the surface installed.”
After first securing the surface and getting it installed, Potter said they can begin looking at having their Men and Women’s Power League in the fourth quarter of 2018, as they don’t want to compete with basketball, which traditionally is played during the summer. He’s not sure of the basketball league status, as a segment of the parquet court under the western basket has been compromised from water that settled on the courts during Irma and Maria.
When the court will arrive he said is the question that he cannot answer at this time, since he doesn’t know how long the process will take. Quinnland he said has given good feedback about getting the court and had discussions with the North American Central
American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation President, Cristobal Hoffiz. He also already spoken to Sports Minister Myron Walwyn and gotten approval to install the court at the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies, so he’s allowing the process to take its course.
“I’ve asked for one surface to be set up in Baughers Bay and two that can be set up on the beach, grass, dirt or any land surface,” he pointed out. “I’m trying to get volleyball rolling again.”