In August 2014, I quit indoor and beach volleyball because I was no longer in love with the sport. I needed a break after twelve years of competing for the club, varsity, provincial, national and international levels. This year I have slowly been coming back into both beach and indoor, and this summer I had the privilege of being apart of something special.
Over the years, I have played with many different women. This year two of them started a movement in Ontario Volleyball as well as Canada. They called it One Volleyball, a play on One Love. It started back in November with a tournament Challenger Series, which I did not have the pleasure of playing in because I like to ski in the winter.
When I found out that series was just a warm up for what they were really planning, I got super excited. This summer was the inaugural Premier League. Jaki Ellis and Jolanda Amoraal created a semi-professional volleyball league for players who have been dying to play after varsity and for those who are home from professional contracts for the summer, they even got featured on CP24.
Athletes who wished to participate signed up for the Premier Draft. Roughly sixty women and seventy men signed up for forty-eight spots: twelve spots on four women’s and four men’s teams. On May 16, there was a closed draft were the athletes were drafted onto said teams in a fantasy style draft. On May 18, all the athletes gathered at the Lulu Lemon on Queen Street East and found out which team they were on.
For the following eight weeks, the eight teams trained once to twice a week depending on their team. I had the pleasure of playing on Q2 Sports, and there were a few weeks where we practiced twice. For six Thursdays all the teams would come to Mattamy Athletic Centre at Ryerson University and play each other. There would be two women’s games and two men’s games happening at 7 pm and 9 pm. On Saturday, July 22 all eight teams came for a Final Fours tournament. On the women’s side, the underdogs Q2 Sports managed to win the finals, while on the men’s side (some would say) the favourites, Unity Volleyball, pulled out the win.
Regardless of who won, we were all winners because we all got to experience why we love volleyball again and we all got to play what we love. It brought people who haven’t seen each other in years back together, and everyone became closer as a result. I am so excited to play again next year, I can barely wait! Remember baes, you do your bliss above all else, before anything else, it would be rude not to.