Fruitport varsity volleyball coach Nicole Bayle remembers fondly the days when volleyball was played in the winter months, when her team’s fans had nothing better to do than to brave the elements to sit in a warm gym and watch volleyball.
Times have changed. Back in 2007, the Michigan prep volleyball season was switched from winter to fall. And while Fruitport always draws great support for its volleyball program, things haven’t been the same.
“When our season switched, we lost a ton of fans,” Bayle said. “I get it. If I wasn’t a volleyball coach, I wouldn’t be jumping at the opportunity to hang out in a sweaty gym, either.”
That’s why Bayle is so excited about next Wednesday’s Battle of the Boardwalk, a day-long outdoor volleyball extravaganza at Grand Haven’s Waterfront Stadium.
The day begins with middle school clinics in the morning, followed by Grand Haven and Mona Shores playing a junior varsity match at 1 p.m.
At 3 p.m., the varsity action commences, with the Buccaneers, the Trojans, Spring Lake and Mona Shores playing in a round-robin event.
“It’s fun. It’s exciting. I think it’s going to be a cool thing for our community,” Bayle said. “And if we can get the community excited about our local teams, maybe we can get people to start coming to our games again.”
Grand Haven coach Aaron Smaka has worked tirelessly to organize and promote the event, which will also include food vendors, the school store selling Buccaneers’ apparel, and much more.
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