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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2003

Beach volleyball

Summer recreationers hit the ...
by John Grones  |  July 8, 2003

Over the years, softball has been the recreation of choice during the sum-mer months in the McGregor area. A once thriving 8-team league existed for many years. Unfortunately, declining numbers lead to the league folding two years ago. Now, a new sport has taken its place and the buzz is all about beach volleyball.

A beach volleyball league was first tossed around by local basketball coach, Chris Rinta (Class of 91), and Pier 65 owner, Allen Frieck. “We actually started talking about it this winter,” said Allen. “I wanted something to do in the summer at the Pier.” Chris suggested volleyball and the two have been organizing a league and possible tournaments ever since.

With the help of his partner, Marty, the two prepared a very professional sand court just off the highway overlooking the Sandy River. Marty’s children, Heath and Kyle got involved also.

At Bann’s Bar & Restaurant, Chris with the help of Curt Kelley, took the initiative a prepared an equally impressive court overlooking Lake Minnewawa.

The well organized league has been going since the first week in June. Teams have been competing on Wed. evenings. Games are scheduled through the second week of Aug. with a tournament and banquet to follow. Top teams will receive trophies and cash prizes.

Referees have been hired, and all of them are experienced volleyball referees. McGregor High School teachers/coaches, Larry Doten, Marsha Doten and Robin Hawkinson, have pitched in. Patty Jerde, a teacher and coach at Cromwell High School, also refs.

Currently, the Willbillies are in first place with 20 points, followed by Aspen Realty with 17 and RBI with 17. League scoring has a little twist to it, but it is not all that confusing. Three games are played and the first two are worth two points each. The game is played under regular scoring rules. Points are scored only by the team serving and the game goes to 15.

The third and final game is worth one point and rally scoring is used in this game. Points are scored on all serves, and again the game is to 15. A total of five points can be accumulated on any night.

This week, there were make up games on Tues., and the veteran team, named ‘RBI,’ pulled out all ten of their points. On Wed., play began and not ten minutes into the match, a thunderstorm rolled in, and suspended play.

A short time later, play continued, and RBI rolled over the much younger Paquette D&B team. Chris Rinta (Class of ‘91) got the team rolling with two ace serves down the line. Tracey Bodway (Class of ‘84) followed with two of her own. “I had two ace serves that Jason Pauquette (Class of ‘03) couldn’t handle,” she said.

The match continued with RBI in control and Chris Pierce (Class of ‘82) closed out the match with seven tough serves. According to Chris Rinta, “Josh Henderson (Class of ‘95) was basically a non-factor.” He was just kidding of course. He went on to say that Josh is a very good player.

Missing in action was the league’s oldest player, Kim Sather (Class of ‘77), who plays for RBI. “Kim was painting and fell of a ladder,” said Tracey. Kim, who coached the McGregor High School volleyball team for several years, is considered the grandma of the league.

Several of the players in the league played for Kim when they were in high school. “Yeah,” said Kim. “They have been critiquing me... remember when...”

Kim also mentioned that age has been a factor. “When I hit the sand, it hurts a little more than 20 years ago. I take plenty of Advil after matches.”

All in all, Kim along with the rest of the league are very glad something like this got going. “It is fun,” Kim concluded, “and I hope it will continue to grow.”

This article first appeared in the July 8, 2003 issue of the Voyageur Press.