So you like to play indoor volleyball but don’t want to make the weekly commitment to join a league? Well, the Kiwanis Recreation Center in Tempe could have the answer for you.
The center, located in Kiwanis Park, offers a drop-in volleyball session Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Open to men and women 16 and older, the session costs $3 per player. A gym supervisor organizes games based on skill levels.
While the skill levels of players normally vary widely, last Sunday there was some darn good volleyball being played. Aaron Payne of Chandler was one of the top players on the court. He said he has been coming on Sundays to the sessions since he was 16.
“In high school, this was kind of a secondary way to get coaching,” said Payne, 27, who played at Mountain Pointe High. “The competition, it varies. Some days if there’s a Suns game on, sometime you don’t get many people here.
“It slowed down for a while but now it’s kind of picking up again. It’s starting to build some momentum and hopefully it will continue to get better. There are some players here that have played Division I (collegiately) or will play Division I.”
Just like the skill level, participation varies from Sunday to Sunday.
“We get the most during the fall and winter,” said Jerry Judkins, a senior recreation coordinator at the center. “Normally, this time of year it drops off, but we had 25 last Sunday. There are times when we get a lot more.”
With two courts going, you never have to wait very long to get in a game. The losing team rotates off the court if there is a team waiting to get on.
Payne, who played collegiately and also on a U.S. Armed Forces team in Bosnia, emphasized you don’t have to be a superstar to fit in.
“ It’s a pickup game,” Payne said. “ Sometimes, people stack teams but other times, you end up playing with people that are way above your level. I think that’s what made me better growing up. When I was 16, I was playing with guys much better. It’s funny because I see a lot of high school kids now they’re coming out and they’re doing the same thing.
“It’s a fun way to learn.”
There is an added bonus this time of year.
With temperatures hovering in the 100s, the air-conditioned gym is a great way to get a workout without risking heat exhaustion.
Judkins said a similar program for youngsters will be held Friday nights beginning June 9.