Sandy Balls Beach Volleyball
50 to 70 tonnes of sand, one net and a ball and you've got Beach Volleyball; something that's one step closer to reality for the Friendly City.
There is a small group wants to make it another healthy, fun and active attraction.
The not-for-profit Sandy Ball Beach Volleyball Inc. (SBBV) is up and running and it wants to bring the popular Olympic sport here. Slated to initially cost $50,000, the two courts will hopefully be built this year in Hamilton Flats.
“We’re hoping to start with two courts and progress into four courts and start a league,” said Jeremy Hansen SBBV president.
The local electrician is no stranger to the local volleyball scene, having been involved in the sport for 20 years plus, while also serving as president of the 150 member Moose Jaw Adult Volleyball League which runs indoors during the Winter.
“Beach volleyball is fun. It will be neat and a good thing to bring to Moose Jaw. We thought why not? Let’s give it a try and see what we can do,” Hansen said.
Hansen points to other Saskatchewan centres which have beach volleyball. There are facilities in Saskatoon, Regina and Swift Current. Plus a provincial beach volleyball association.
“There is a huge beach volleyball league in Regina. We have Moose Jaw players going there.”
Hansen sees some opportunities the courts would have, locally. Since the courts would not be based out of a liquor-serving establishment any age would be welcome and able to participate. Plus, with many post-secondary students returning home for the Summer, it will give them another activity to do.
“With having kids being able to play (as it’s not a night club), the market is much bigger…it’s a great way to get a tan and hang out with your friends.”
Previously, there were beach volleyball courts in the City. With the first one built at the now defunct Jungle Joe’s night club. The once popular River Street had courts over 25 years ago.
Once the courts are up and running, tournaments could be held with teams competing from out of town creating economic spin offs.
“We want to give people something to be happy about,” Hansen said.
Although just getting started, the proposed new courts have generated lots of attention with emails expressing interest from out of town.
“If people from Assiniboia are contacting us, also from Mankota and Limerick, this is good for the City because it not only gives local people a chance to play but brings in people from all over.”
Hansen sees leagues of two-on-two, four-on-four and six-on-six players. But there is room for expansion.
“Hopefully if things keep going we could have beach volleyball camps,” he said, adding “if, in our first year, we can get 150 people, we will be really happy.”
Asked if he thought it was a labour of love, he replied, in some ways but it could lead to much more.
“I think it is a labour of love and I hope it gets busy and has something for everybody.”
There has been talk about renting out the facility to fitness clubs, as the sand is great for training.
With a $50,000 cost Hansen said he expects to do most of the work himself but is open to volunteers to lend a hand. The courts will be fenced off to protect them from vandalism.
“We’re going to start with two courts because of the costs and take it from there.”
He admits there has been negative emails from a couple of people who don’t like the location but the large majority are supportive of the initiative.
Initially, there were plans to potentially locate in Wakamow but the risk of flooding destroying the courts was too great a risk.
The new area is an old baseball diamond, higher up, which will take at least another foot of water than the surrounding area before flood damage becomes a concern.
“We’re just taking up an area the City will no longer have to mow,” he said.
The courts will be near the Slo-Pitch diamonds, rugby field, dog park, as well as Yara Centre, nearby generating a lot of recreational traffic.
“I think to be out there (in Hamilton Flats) is really neat, it is turning into a really great sports centre.”
Hansen said “we’re open to ideas. If anybody wants to get a hold of us through our Facebook page, and is respectful, we are open to hearing from them.”
Fundraising is underway for the courts and depending on how fast that happens the courts could be ready this Summer or next Spring.
A fundraising rib dinner is planned for May 29th from 5 – 9 pm at the Crushed Can and open to everyone of legal drinking age. Tickets are $20.
Tickets can be purchased by contacting Sandy Balls Beach Volleyball through their Facebook page by calling 306 630-3177 or at the door.