What do you get when you combine basketball, baseball, tennis and handball? Volleyball, of course! It was in 1895 at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts that instructor William Morgan invented the game of volleyball. His intention was to create a game that involves less contact so that older gentlemen could participate and play against each other.
After borrowing a tennis net and raising it six-feet off the ground, the game of “Mintonette” was invented, which is now known as “volleyball.” The game was simple; a group of any number of people played on each side of the net and merely volleyed the ball back and forth, hence why it was renamed “volleyball”.
Soon after, volleyball became extremely popular across the United States and soon in other continents as well. “By 1951, volleyball was being played by over 50 million people in over 60 countries. In 1957 volleyball became an Olympic sport.” (ymca.int)
However, it wasn’t just at YMCA’s and communities that the sport became popular in – the Y had arranged for volleyball, along with other sports, to be played in prison camps during WWII and prizes were even awarded to help maintain prisoner’s interests. “Tell them we’d have gone nuts if it hadn’t been for the Y,” one American prisoner of war wrote. (ymca.int)
The YMCA and sports have both a long and impressive history together, which to this day is still being written about and most likely will be for many more years to come!
To learn more about sports at the Y, click here!