After 12 years in the biz, Chris McGarity has this beach volleyball thing figured out. Volleyball Virginia, the company he founded with friend Chris Hairston in 2001, headquartered in Virginia Beach, is the largest beach volleyball league and tournament promoter in the region. McGarity also travels the country to help other clubs and companies put on their own tournaments.
“Any weekend you don’t see something on our schedule, we’re out somewhere else in the country running tournaments,” said McGarity.
The MotherLode in Aspen, Colo., is one tournament McGarity has lent his volleyball consulting talents to. The relationship between the Virginia crew and the Colorado tournament organizers began under unique circumstances. A few years ago, McGarity offered to show up and work for free, saying that by working with the MotherLode guys his Virginia crew would learn a lot and run better tournaments when they got back home. Of course, they did learn a lot, but the MotherLode organizers also appreciated the help and began paying for their travel and services.
But as far as local tournaments go, the Neptune Festival (September 27-29) acts as the highlight of the beach volleyball season in Virginia Beach. The festival brings in tourists from around the world for music, wine, art, and sand sculpting events. The volleyball tournament plays off the attraction of the parent event to throw a giant, end-of-summer tournament that brings in lots of players.
Over the years, Volleyball Virginia has developed its own unique set of rules. Games are played to 21, rally scoring until game point when both teams switch to sideout scoring. As one player quoted on the Volleyball Virginia website described it, “You have to earn the last one!”
So if you’re looking for some good volleyball on the East Coast, give Virginia Beach a try. volleyballva.com
Originally published in August 2013