By Rick Palsgrove
A bouncing ball can unite generations.
In November, the Can Win Stars, the Canal Winchester Senior Center’s chair volleyball team, played a chair volleyball match against members of the Canal Winchester High School volleyball team as well as younger athletes from the Canal Winchester Joint Recreational District (CWJRD).
“It was just for fun,” said Kari Jenkins, CWJRD volleyball commissioner. “It was a great way to bring the generations together with their love of volleyball and to show how important it is to stay active your whole life.”
Chair volleyball is played with a beach ball and participants must stay seated in chairs while they play.
“Your rear end has to stay in the chair,” laughed Beverly Boyce, captain of the Can Win Stars. “Chair volleyball is so much fun. It’s good for the body and the spirit.”
Linda Tennison, Canal Winchester Senior Center coordinator, said chair volleyball promotes cardio health, hand eye coordination and upper body strength.
“It also helps the mind as the players laugh and enjoy themselves,” said Tennison. “Someone could be feeling blue, but they start playing and the blues go away. Playing and laughing has a reviving impact.”
Tennison said chair volleyball is physically accessible and for all ages, pointing out that the Can Win Stars have a player who is 91-years-old.
The girls from the high school team and the CWJRD program were not sure what to expect from chair volleyball and whether or not they could resist the urge to leave their chairs to go after the ball.
“It’s probably harder than we think,” said high schooler Audrey Jenkins before the game. “We haven’t had any practice at it. It looks fun and we might win, but then again, we might not.”
Fellow high schooler Jada Butler added, “It’s different. I think we’ll have a hard time staying in the chairs.”
As it turned out, the Can Win Stars defeated the youngsters.
“We took a big loss,” said Butler with a smile. “They (the seniors) were really fast!”
“We lost because they have had years of experience practicing and we didn’t!” joked CWJRD player Riley Finegold.
The two groups then mixed up the teams with young and old players on the same teams for a couple of more games. The blending of the teams allowed three generations of one family – grandmother Caroline Weiland, daughter Tracy Weiland and granddaughter Madelyn Koehler – to play side-by-side on the same team for a game.
“This event was good for all generations. It gave them a chance to get to know each other better,” said Tennison. “Our seniors are great people who have so much to offer.”