Why is There No Boys Volleyball Team at HHS?
At the beginning of this year, I transferred from a school in California, eager to play volleyball at my new high school. I had assumed that a boys volleyball team was the norm—the sport was very popular in my previous school district—but I was sadly mistaken.
It’s most likely not news to the majority of people at this school that Hanover High School does not have a boys volleyball team. HHS doesn’t have a team, Lebanon High School doesn’t have a team, Hartford High School doesn’t have a team—it’s clear that boys volleyball in this area is underdeveloped. But why?
According to a sports participation survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations, in the 2021-2022 school year there were 2,682 high schools that had boys volleyball teams across the country. California had the highest concentration of high schools with boys volleyball teams, topping off at a whopping 1,019 schools, over a third of all schools that had one in the 2021-2022 school year. This explains my misconception that a boys volleyball league was normal to have, as the sad reality is that it’s relatively rare.
However, there is definitely not a lack of interest in a boys volleyball team. In fact, there are quite a few boys at HHS who are interested in playing. Junior Wyatt Seelig has been trying to start a boys volleyball team for a while. If his efforts were to succeed this year, HHS could implement a boys volleyball team in the spring. But, this would be in an ideal world. There are still many hurdles to consider, such as budget, coaches, scheduling, and the lack of a boys volleyball league in this area. Additionally, because there aren’t many teams in this area, the team would likely function more as a club sport, meaning that it would have to run independently from the school, possibly something like Dartmouth’s current team situation. At Dartmouth, men’s volleyball is a club sport. While they do compete in regional and even national tournaments with other volleyball clubs, they aren’t a varsity sport. This is partly due to Title IX concerns, assuring equal participation on the basis of sex in sports, which also affects the boys volleyball team situation at HHS.
Of course, there is always a silver lining. If you look beyond our direct adjacents, there are 20 other high schools in New Hampshire that have boys volleyball teams (MaxPreps). They are heavily concentrated in the southeast area of New Hampshire, the closest school being Laconia Christian Academy. This could be a beacon of hope: as interest in a team rises at HHS and as more high schools establish teams, there is a chance that a team could be established at HHS in the near future.
Until then, there is a great resource at this school to let your volleyball energy out: Volleyball Club! I’m a regular attendee of Volleyball Club—meeting every Thursday at lunch in the gym—and it’s a great outlet if you’re dying to touch a volleyball but you can’t join the team, like me. There are around 10-20 people every meeting, with four to five team rotations in a King of the Hill style. One person can typically play in around two to four games, maybe even more if they’re on a roll and don’t get rotated out. The skill range is wide: there are some people who have barely played and others who are on the girls volleyball team. So, if you want to practice and play casually, it’s a great place for you.
Because of the amount of people present at Volleyball Club, it is clear that there are many people interested in a boys volleyball team. Boys volleyball might not be as popular as soccer or football, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t want to play it. It would be an interesting addition to Hanover High School’s spring sports roster, and if it’s ever added, it would be cool to see where it would go.