For some reason, volleyball is not a sport that looks after its history. In Australia, volleyball history is short enough that there is still first person memories, but that won’t last for ever and then will be lost. A short while ago I had a call to find out who Andy Burdin is, as there is a beach volleyball award named after him. Andy’s achievements are still young and yet for most people are already forgotten. Part of this is because of the profile of the sport and by extension because people don’t write (many) books or make (many) movies about it. This is not unique to Australia. It is a constant source of amusement to me that I am able to tell people about the history of volleyball in their own countries. To me, this lack of attention to history (and in many cases sadly even current news) hurts our sport. One of the biggest motivations for people to enter a sport (or any other activity) is to emulate others. (Written about in ‘The Talent Code‘ among hundreds of others places) By not promoting our history (and therefore not providing people to emulate) we reduce the attractiveness and therefore the long term future of sport.
Which brings me to the Volleyball Hall Of Fame. It has been around for around 20 years but for until 2000 when the first international members were inducted, it was a completely American affair. However, it seems that FIVB have become more involved recently and the profile has steadily increased. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to who is chosen and how other than all of them are deserving (including the lone Australian). One oddity… the official FIVB Player of the 20th Century, Lorenzo Bernardi, is NOT in the Hall of Fame. But I digress, the induction ceremony for this year was held last week in Holyoke, the home of volleyball. Among the inductees was Aleksander Savin, the Russian who was my favourite player as a kid, and Shelda and Adriana the Brazilian beach volleyballers. The ceremony (and seemingly the dinner) was webcast (see below). At the 50 minute there is a video with a brief overview of the history of volleyball (with some short clips of 1964 style volleyball, and Brazil-USSR game in front of 100,000 spectators). After that is a speech by the FIVB president and the induction itself starts at 1:09. It’s not quite the Brownlow telecast but still…