DENVER (KDVR) – When boys at George Washington High School in Denver first started playing volleyball for fun, no one thought it would turn into a full-fledged, district-sanctioned team.
But volleyball fever for the traditionally girl-dominated sport soon spread to boys looking to grow their sporting abilities.
Student Abdullah Hamid was among the growing number of boys wanting to try their hand at the game.
“There are ups and downs as like with any sport that is first starting out,” Hamid said.
Boys volleyball sanctioned in 2021 in Colorado
The Colorado High School Activities Association sanctioned boys high school volleyball to begin playing in 2021 across the state.
“That was the first time we had boys volleyball in this gym,” coach Angela Danley said.
Danley, who was already used to coaching the girls’ volleyball team, got to work at George Washington High training the boys.
“(I was) teaching them to celebrate between points. They embraced that quickly. That wasn’t a problem,” Danley said.
Many of the male players come from other sports, like football and baseball.
Volleyball, to some, was a whole new world with valuable life lessons.
Coach Danley noticed a few things right away.
“Teaching them that mistakes are a big part of the game and they have to overcome that quickly just because it’s a little bit different from other sports,” Danley said.
Abdullah Hamid said he has been loving every moment. He wrestled for two seasons before playing volleyball, but Hamid is now slamming in a different way.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve told my coaches. It’s like when you make contact with your setter. It’s only you and the ball and you see your hand go up and you just crush — it’s an amazing feeling, Hamid said.
Volleyball can open new pathways for students
Boys high school volleyball may even provide the opportunity for some players to apply for a different kind of scholarship and even play professionally.
Karsten Guth is from Conifer and now plays volleyball for a living and is in awe of the growing popularity of boys-sanctioned volleyball.
“Back when I was in high school, we didn’t have indoor teams. It would have been nice to have those opportunities as a younger kid, you know,” Guth said.
Sean Carlson, who is also from Colorado, plays professionally and coaches. High school volleyball for boys is a big deal, he said.
“Now that it’s growing even more, it’s giving even more boys opportunities to play at a younger age, giving them more experience and a better chance to earn a scholarship,” Carlson said.
According to Danley, most players in high school just want to have competitive, skill-building fun on the court. But a chance at a scholarship is a good thing, especially for players like Treyvion Maio, who plays football and wrestles.
“When I heard it was a CHSAA sport this year, I was very excited. I told family and friends. It will open up another pathway for people that want to play at the next level,” Maio said.
Baseball player Ben Sindler joined the George Washington team too.
“It was very difficult learning these new skills and relearning how to throw so I can get a good serve in instead of throwing a ball 70 miles an hour,” Sindler said.
The GW Patriots are helping break the stereotype that volleyball is just a sport for girls.
“There were several schools that only had enough for one team, but we immediately had enough for two teams,” Danley said.
Hamid and Maio will be the senior members of next year’s team.
All of them are hoping to make volleyball a winning mainstay at George Washington High.
The team will begin their season in February 2024.