July 1, 2023
By Hope Schmidt, POL Intern
On July 26 at 1 p.m., come on out to the Groveport Recreation Center to cheer on your favorite athletes from the Pickerington Senior Center as they compete in the second annual Groveport Chair Volleyball Tournament sponsored by Brookdale Senior Living.
The Pickerington players have been practicing hard every Thursday in preparation for the big tournament. Pickerington will be fielding two teams. Players’ names were drawn from a hat to determine who would represent the city as there were more interested participants than available spots.
In addition to Pickerington, seven different senior centers will also be competing in this year’s tournament – Canal Winchester, Obetz, Grove City, Hilliard, Grandview Heights, Blendon Township and host/reigning champion, Groveport.
The winning team will have its name engraved on the championship trophy which the members will take home to their respective senior center until the following year’s tournament. Each player from the winning team will receive their own individual medal to keep.
This is the first year that Pickerington has participated because its chair volleyball group had only just formed the previous summer. In those initial months, the Pickerington center barely had enough participants to play five on each side, said Darie Wilson who runs the program.
“We started out with a few and we got more,” Wilson said. “Friends would come, then friends of friends. Most people come every week. They love it.”.
Organizing and manning a new volleyball team was not easy. There were many moving parts that had to come together, and Pickerington was not ready to enter Groveport’s tournament.
“The first year that they had it was last year, and we were not ready yet,” said team member Sylvie Chadwell. “We had just gotten together, but now we are ready! We have shirts. We are taking two teams and subs. We get a little competitive which is good, but we are still very friendly.”
Members of the team are not too concerned about winning or losing. They just want to have fun.
“We all enjoy playing. We laugh and have a good time. We have snacks at break time. We started out with very few people – five on each side. Now, we usually have two nets with six on each side plus subs waiting to rotate in. We play every Thursday, and it is great exercise and laughter is good for us,” Chadwell said.
The rules of the game are simple: you must say “ready” before each serve and players must “keep at least one cheek on the seat” at all times.
Lisa Zurbriggen, manager for Groveport Senior Services said that the tournament came about due to the increased interest in chair volleyball and the Groveport players’ desire to play other teams.
“Last year was a trial run to see if there was interest and we had a blast,” Zurbriggen said.
Some teams even brought cheering sections. Obetz came with a group of college-aged fans who yelled and shook pom poms.
“For this year, we have gotten a great response. We’re really looking forward to it,” Zurbriggen said.
The Pickerington volleyball players meet every Thursday at 11 a.m. for warm-up, with games following at 11:30 a.m.. Snacks are provided between games. Anyone who is a member of the senior center is welcome to drop in and check it out.
Membership is $13.00 per year for anyone 50 years old and older. You can apply online at www.pickeringtonseniorcenter.org or by calling (614) 837-3020.