BOSTON (WESTFIELD NEWS) – The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is noted around the world for being the birthplace of two of the most popular team sports around the globe: basketball and volleyball.
Both sports, created in the Hampden County cities of Holyoke (volleyball) and Springfield (basketball), are among the most played games on earth, and while basketball holds the title of Bay State’s official sport, volleyball has now been granted a state title all it’s own.
Yesterday the Massachusetts State Senate passed “An Act designating Volleyball as the official recreational and team sport of the Commonwealth” by a margin of 39-0, a bill which was filed originally by former Sen. Michael R. Knapik and has been ressurected and coaxed forward by Sen. Don Humason, Jr. (R-Westfield), whose 2nd Hampden-Hampshire District encompasses Holyoke.
“I promised during my campaign for office last fall to work to pass this bill,” Humason said. “Massachusetts should be proud to be the birthplace of two great American sports, Volleyball and Basketball, which also enjoy popularity and are played all over the world.”
The brainchild of William G. Morgan, then-physical director of the Holyoke YMCA, in 1895, “mintonette” as volleyball was then called, was created as an alternative to basketball, and the sport only grew from there.
In a release, Humason stated that volleyball is the world’s second most popular sport today, after soccer.
“Volleyball is played recreationally by millions of enthusiasts of all ages,” Humason said. “With the great success of world competitions such as the Olympic Games, the popularity of the sport continues to grow exponentially.”
With the act passed resoundingly by the Senate, and the “volleyball” now in the House’s court, a bipartisan, bicameral effort has been launched by Humason in enlisting the help of Holyoke’s current representative, Democrat Aaron Vega of the 5th Hampden District, to lobby his colleagues to give volleyball it’s due as the Bay State’s official recreational and team sport.
The effort has been greatly appreciated by Holyoke’s volleyball community thus far.
“The Volleyball Hall of Fame provides the opportunity to bring people from different cultures and different parts of the world to Massachusetts to celebrate the sport” said HOF Executive Director George Mulry. “With the passage of bill S.1627, the Senate made a statement that tourism is important to the Commonwealth. This designation furthers our quest for increased national and international support resulting in increased tourism dollars for the Commonwealth.”