Photos by Emily Fox
Twenty teams took to the beach volleyball courts at the Market Square boardwalk to take part in the third and final round of volley pong, for what we at the Baron have unofficially dubbed the Pumpkin Spice Classic.
The games kicked off at 7pm on Saturday night and, in typical pumpkin-spice fashion, the teams hit the courts decked out in sweaters and scarves, leg warmers and earmuffs.
“What I love about it is it really brings the whole school community together; not only the varsity athletes, but everyone,” says Jacob McLean, a member of the UNB Saint John Men’s volleyball team and avid volley-pong player.
Hosted by Shinerama Saint John, volley pong is an ingenious combination of volleyball and beer-pong and is basically a scaled up version of the latter.
Entrance fees from the tournament support fundraising for Shinerama Saint John, a student group which raises money to support Cystic Fibrosis research.
Never were victories so hard fought or losses so devastating for the teams participating, and as the night went on, the action on the courts only intensified.
“We’re up one game right now, so I guess it’s going pretty well,” said Sam Irvine hoping to move on to the next round.
“I’ve really got to stop hitting the front of the cups.” he continued as he looked inward to tap into the intestinal fortitude needed for such an intense sport.
The night cooled down but action of the courts was only heating up. Leg warmers came off, high-fives were given, and good-natured trash talk was exchanged.
There was a serve; a miss a shout of joy and cries of agony. Teammates laughed, because this is what volley-pong is all about; having fun playing an oversized game of beer pong while raising money for a great cause.
“This event alone will probably bring in about $300, bringing us closer to our total goal of $12,500,” said Jayme Dixon, committee chair of Shinereama Saint John who organized the event.
“Volley pong was a new idea for the committee. We weren’t sure how it would turn out, but it has been really successful,” said Dixon.
With summer drawing to a close this brings the end to the volley-pong season at the boardwalk. Dixon is happy with this season’s success and hopes the event will continue next year.