Thursday, July 5, 2012

Basketball Tourney: Impressive. Volleyball Tourney: Even more so

As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, a notice in today’s Seattle Times caught our eye.
A girls’ basketball tournament in Kirkland, WA—called Midsummer Nights Madness—starts July 10:
  • Now in its 15th season
  • Teams from throughout the west, plus Canada and a team based in Germany
  • Grown from 35 teams in 1997 to about 100 in 2012
  • *1100 female athletes

Very impressive. And hats off to Madness founder Stan Lee and the dozens of volunteers who make something this big happen every year.
It’s another opportunity, however, to point out a fact rarely noted in the nation’s sports pages: More high school girls play volleyball in Washington state than any other sport [source: National Federation of High Schools 2010-11 Participation Survey]. [see: How popular is volleyball among high school girls?]
Action at the 2012 Emerald City Classic
-courtesy WVBA
In fact, volleyball is the most popular prep girls’ sport throughout the west, including Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.
And—without taking anything away from basketball’s notable Midsummer Nights Madness event—the annual Emerald City Volleyball Classic at the University of Washington is mighty impressive in its own right:
  • Now in its 26th season
  • Teams from throughout the west, plus Canada and Brazil
  • Grown from 12 teams in 1976 to 201 in 2012
  • 2200 female athletes

So … even more impressive. And too often overlooked, since the annual Classic is held over Memorial Day weekend, when it competes for media attention with a slew of other sporting events. Hats off to Dave Weitl and all his Emerald City Classic volunteers.

[Full disclosure: Jack Hamann, author of this post, was a member of the Washington Volleyball Academy’s Board of Directors from 2003-09; WVBA is the Emerald City Classic organizer]

*according to Midsummer Nights Madness director Stan Lee, there are 94 teams and approximately 1100 athletes registered as of July 5. Lee says the Seattle Times was incorrectly told that there are 1800 athletes registered.


  1. Also interesting Jack, is that on that very same weekend over 125 team participated in the NW Junior Memorial Weekend tournament locally. That is a TON of junior girls volleyball over one weekend here in Seattle. The sport truly has grown when two great events can occur on the same weekend and offer playing opportunities for so many teams.

  2. That’ amazing story, of Volley Ball is now, the most popular game for girls in U.S.A. I read your blog, about woman Volley Ball. I also, read the percentage of women in Volley Ball, which is now, in an increasing mode. The whole U.S.A girls have an interest to play volley ball. That is reason for the volley ball teams in U.S.A 2012.That is really wonderful.


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