Five New Teams Sign Up For Sand Volleyball League

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Just as Patrick Walker pledged, the Payson Parks and Recreation Department Sand Volleyball League has grown to become an overwhelming success.

The league turned into a certifiable hit last week when registration closed with seven teams participating which represents the largest number of squads since the league was formed.

"We have five new teams," Walker said. "Only my team (Magnum PI) and Cannonballs are returning teams."

Last season, when the league had only four teams, the Cannonballs squeaked by Magnum PI for the league championship.

At the conclusion of the season, Walker -- who is a college student working summers as a town recreation supervisor -- set a goal to build the sand league into a popular recreational offering.

Seeing that happen, Walker is elated now that a record number of teams have turned out for the league which will play its games at Rumsey Park on Monday nights until Aug. 4 when a season-ending tournament will tip off.

Walker attributes the spike in sand volleyball interest in part to national television.

"NBC carries AVP beach volleyball tournaments and so does Fox Sports Net which puts it on big cable sports and over-the-air network that is received by over 99 percent of U.S. households.

"It's much like what happened with poker."

The recreation supervisor also touts the Rumsey Park sand courts as a huge drawing card.

"We have excellent facilities and the use that they get enables us to easily market (sand volleyball) to an ever growing crowd," Walker said.

Although some of the Payson teams have older, more experienced players on their rosters, at least three teams have younger, fledgling participants.

"My team and another are all 21 (years) or under," Walker said. "It is a sport where young people who can jump up well at the net are balanced out by experienced, more mature older players that can receive, pass and place hit.

"You don't necessarily see that level playing field in any of our other adult sports such as basketball or softball."

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