Big Pink Tournament… to be continued
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In an effort to raise awareness and donations for breast cancer research, Rec Sports hosted the Big Pink Volleyball Tournament, utilizing a 4-foot in diameter, hot pink volleyball. The game did not last long, as the ball was popped and unable to be replaced.
The tournament was scheduled for Oct. 27 and only the first game of the tournament was finished. The final score of the first game was 18-17. The team that won the first game was scheduled to compete in a second game soon after but were unable to due to the loss of the most important aspect of the game, the Big Pink volleyball.
Featured at TRAC for public viewing for some time prior to the tournament, the Big Pink ball was used in one game of the tournament and produced volleys of up to 30 seconds and sometimes even longer. An impressive feature of the ball.
The Big Pink tournament began at Western Illinois University and now has “spread to 15 different institutions” according to the Big Pink website, bigpinkvolleyball.weebly.com. The proceeds for these tournaments go towards various cancer research institutions, most notably Susan G. Komen.
Jay Swenson, creator of UIS’ version of Big Pink and assistant director of intramurals and club sports, said, “I thought it would be fun to give it to somewhere local.” When asked about where exactly the proceeds were going, Swenson said a designated institution hasn’t yet been selected.
Swenson said the Big Pink is “a volleyball tournament using the large ball that makes it pretty easy for everyone to play [but] more importantly, it is a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness.”
Three teams signed up to play in the Big Pink tournament but only two teams were able to play on Sunday.
The ball was popped by junior Ryne Kelly. Kelly explained the incident stating “we were having a great volley back and forth at the end of the game for game point, we were down to our last hit and I was pretty far off the net so I punched the ball to try and get it over.”
He added that although it didn’t go over and his team lost “everyone was shaking hands and walking off so that no one actually saw what happened to the ball and after we all sat down, we looked over and the ball was deflating.”
The ball deflated slowly and it was difficult to tell that it had actually popped at first. The Big Pink website gives instructions on how to set up a Big Pink tournament and in these details they include a section on where to get the ball. As a part of that section the website states “The balls are fairly sturdy but it is always nice to have a replacement bladder on hand just in case something happens.”
Rec Sports was prepared and had a second bladder for the ball, a large version of a sturdy balloon, but difficulties inflating the bladder proved those precautions useless. Kelly added, “They then pulled the inside lining of the ball out because it had popped and they wanted to replace it. The new lining however, would not air up.”
While the teams scheduled to play in the next game patiently waited for about a half hour, Rec Sports workers attempted to fix the ball until they exhausted their options. Swenson then told participants and spectators that the tournament must be cancelled and would be rescheduled.
Swenson was a part of the winning team that faced Kelly’s team. Another player for Kelly’s team was senior Kristin Davidson. Davidson stated that she played in this tournament because she was “interested in playing volleyball and getting things going so that other people will get out here and support breast cancer research.”
Davidson added that she liked Big Pink because it is “different from other sports since no one plays sports with a ball this big” and that “anyone that didn’t participate should participate.”