Head to the beach

Matt Molloy
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Dave Jewer in beginning stages of forming beach volleyball league

If long-time volleyball guru Dave Jewer has his way, the beach volleyball courts in Grand Falls-Windsor will see a lot more action this summer.

ON THE BEACH — If everything works out the way Dave Jewer wants them to work out, the beach volleyball courts in Grand Falls-Windsor will see a lot of action this summer. 

Jewer, a veteran player and coach, wants to start a beach volleyball league this year, and is in the very beginning stages of that plan.

Before he starts scheduling games and organizing teams, he needs to know if there’s interest out there. Volleyball has always been big in places like Grand Falls-Windsor and Bishop’s Falls, and Jewer believes there’s enough players in those two towns, plus more in outlining communities, to start an entertaining season of beach volleyball.

“Right now I’m trying to see if we can get the numbers that makes this thing worthwhile, and figure out a time that works for everybody,” said Jewer. “I’m thinking one day a week, and I’m thinking that day should be Sunday because it would be good for anybody out of town that wants to play. Maybe we can get people from Botwood, and maybe even Lewisporte and Gander.”

To start, Jewer would like to offer two age groups, but since nothing like this has happened before in Grand Falls-Windsor, it’s going to take him at least a year to make a firm decision on what those age groups will be moving forward.

He said he would also like to offer a league for men, a league for women, and a mixed league.

“Some of the kids that are in Grade 12 now are probably capable of playing with the older group, too, so I might go 18-and-over, but I’m still not sure about the direction I’ll take with that,” said Jewer, adding he’s thinking about offering an adult league to complement the under-18 league. “I don’t want to have such a drastic age difference that it’s uncomfortable for a lot of people.

“I’m actually looking to see if I can get a men’s league, a women’s, and a mixed for both divisions. We would flip-flop the times so the men start one week, then mixed, followed by the women; and then we would go women, mixed, and men.”

Jewer said the local beach volleyball courts, which are located near Centennial Field, don’t get lot of use besides the annual fundraising tournament that’s held called Beach For Becky, which is a fun event designed to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

He said beach volleyball is a lot different than court volleyball, so getting used to a different set of rules will be a huge part of the initial year.

“I’m hoping to get this started and we can have a bit of fun over the first year,” said Jewer. “There’s a lot about beach volleyball a lot of us don’t know, and it’s not the same as the indoor game. There’s going to be rules where we’re going to say, what? I didn’t know that, but it’s going to be a lot of fun over the summer learning those rules.

“A bunch of people I know have never gone to the courts and played. I think once they see how much fun this is going to be and give it a shot, I think they’ll come back for more. What’s wrong with giving something a shot?”

The idea to form a league actually started from another volleyball mind in Corner Brook, Finton Gaudette, who started a beach volleyball league in the west coast city.

He was visiting Grand Falls-Windsor one summer and ended up at the local courts with Jewer.

“He came out here one summer and was over on the beach courts with me and said, ‘Jewer, this is unbelievable. These courts are better than the ones we have home, and we have over 140 people playing at home,’” said Jewer. “I don’t see why this can’t work here, and there’s always people looking for something to do. It’s going to be a learning year, but it should also be a lot of fun.”

As for the level of play he expects to see, Jewer isn’t sure about that, either. Since a beach volleyball league hasn’t been offered before, and since he has no idea how even the best court player will perform on sand, he’s going to take a wait-and-see approach.

“I don’t know where to draw that line yet because, obviously, beach volleyball is a different game. As far as I’m concerned right now, if you can keep the ball in play and put it over the net you got a pretty good shot,” said Jewer. “I figure that by the end of the year, I’ll be able to identify, for example, who the top-10 players are and who the bottom-10 are, and then we can finish the year with a Tier 1 and a Tier 2.”

Jewer is hopeful the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor will support his idea of forming a beach volleyball league, and has already had discussions with Todd Mercer, the leisure services programmer with the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“Starting off with them would be a great first step in making this more structured,” said Jewer. “If you are going to have a legitimate league you’re going to need insurance, and the Town has blanket coverage. If we go under the name, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor Beach Volleyball League, it would be better for everybody.”

For more information on the league, contact Jewer via email at Jewer10@msn.com.


Twitter: @TiserSports

Organizations: Heart and Stroke Foundation, Tier 2, Town of Grand Falls-Windsor Parks and Recreation Department Grand Falls-Windsor Beach Volleyball League

Geographic location: Grand Falls-Windsor, Botwood, Lewisporte Corner Brook

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