GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Men's volleyball is very popular in other parts of the country, but not quite yet in Michigan. Grand Rapids Christian is hoping to change that with the start of a boys high school volleyball league in West Michigan this spring.
GR Christian Athletic Director, Jason Heerema grew up playing volleyball in Canada and thinks it could be successful in Michigan as well. "Several nearby states do it very successfully where some of the best athletes in the school participate in volleyball," Heerema said. "I really believe that it will take off. It will take some time, and we`ll be patient. But it`s about opportunities for kids and kids having fun."
GR Christian head coach Brad Poet said, "It`s gotta start somewhere and why not now? Why not here? They`re very excited to be participating in this first season."
And for the Eagles, the volleyball culture is already at their school. The girls team made it to the state quarterfinals this fall and have been very supportive in helping coach the boys.
"They`re a tremendous asset here," Heerema added. "I think getting this program going and getting people excited about it, simply feeds both programs."
The players, many of whom are new to volleyball all together, said it's been great to have their help as well.
"The first few practices, they came and helped and really got the fundamentals going with me," junior Sam Brasser said. "I had to figure out what they were doing so that I could do a little better."
Freshman Jordan Vanderkamp agreed. "It`s fun. We have a couple coaches. It`s just fun to work with them, and they give us advice. It`s just a good atmosphere."
So far it's just Allendale, Kalamazoo Central and a club team who are joining the Eagles this season in the first boys volleyball league. They will play tri-matches every Thursday for five weeks at Grand Rapids Christian starting April 12th.
Coach Poel said they have high hopes for the future. "We anticipate other high schools getting on board and wanting to join in future seasons. Again it can only improve in anticipation and excitement level will only go up from here."