By Faith Borré
Batavia High School girls’ volleyball has had five teams for many years, but with not one men’s team to be found. Many parents at Batavia have expressed their interest in starting one. There appears to be no financial issues and all surrounding schools have already had this addition to the volleyball program. So what is holding Batavia back?
More than 25 different Batavia families who had kids in the freshman/sophomore class say they would have interest in this program just based on the first survey sent out by Abbey McElligott, a Batavia parent. However, Dave Andrews, the athletic director at BHS, said that when he sent out an interest survey “boys volleyball had some responses but unfortunately less than what would make up a varsity squad.” He cited this as the reason no team has been created and no camps have been held.
Others said that the camps would create interest, so it should be the first step. Elly DaCosta, the varsity manager for Oswego High School’s boys’ team said that “…especially for younger students like a freshman, having the camps would be an amazing way to show new players the basics and possibly help them gain a new interest in the sport. Even if the program does not have a lot of initial interest, just starting up the program and getting it a platform could help it grow in the next few years. Especially since boys’ volleyball is growing exponentially, if a program is started at Batavia it would have the same trend.” DaCosta believes Batavia just needs to give students the opportunity to be exposed to boys’ volleyball and spark interest.
Efforts like McElligott’s and others are just needed to be seen here at Batavia High School for any change to come about. McElligott said her biggest challenge was simply lack of communication and follow-through, not budget or interest. It takes a lot of moving parts to create a sport and they all need to work together to create change. Another issue cited by McElligott, however, is Batavia’s many hoops that have been set in place that are now required to create a sport. McElligott has said these obstacles have made it near impossible for anything to get started or continued. For example, when McElligott called IHSA they said they do not require schools to have a sport be a club before it can be added. However, Andrews said that before Batavia would make a sport, it would have to be a successful club with a volunteer sponsor for two years.
Every other school in our conference has a men’s volleyball team: Lake Park, Geneva, Wheaton North, Glenbard North, St. Charles North, St. Charles East, and Wheaton-Warrenville South. With many people rooting for a team, Batavia could be seeing a change soon.