On Friday, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m., the Trinity Men’s Club Volleyball Team hosted a tournament on the Sand Courts. The purpose of the event was to help raise money for the team so that they could purchase new equipment, especially undamaged volleyballs they could label as their own. Sign-ups were open to players of all skill levels.
“It’s been a whole lot of fun,” said Aidan Burke, a junior biology major. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t have previous experience. Everybody can come out and learn about the game and compete.”
Prior to the fundraiser, the team had been practicing with balls that were meant to be used by women’s teams. The men decided that they wanted to raise money in order to get different balls that they could practice with as their own. To earn this goal, the players in their tournament were required to pay $5 each to compete.
“Ben [D’Aurizio] and I decided that we wanted to buy new balls for the team. We decided that we needed some way to raise more money than we have saved from collecting dues, so we tossed around some ideas and came up with a sand volleyball tournament for the students and faculty here,” Burke said.
Once the men’s club volleyball team reached their cap of $350, they decided the rest of the proceeds would be donated to Shared Beat, an organization in San Antonio that helps impoverished Guatemalan children improve their health and earn more educational opportunities in their hometown.
“We decided to donate to Shared Beat because we don’t want to take more than we need,” Burke said. “We just need these new balls and thought it would be nice to be philanthropic towards San Antonio.”
Shared Beat also provides outreach and health care for Guatemalan children whose basic needs might not otherwise be met.
“A lot of the guys on the team think that everyone around the world deserves access to some sort of basic healthcare and we wanted to donate local,” Burke said.
Ben D’Aurizio, the team captain, reached out to some of the other volleyball players on campus in order to start getting together players for the tournament.
“Ben reached out to me and told me that I should make a team because I love playing sand volleyball,” said Angela Wilson, a junior studio art major and member of the Trinity women’s club volleyball team. “It ended up being a network between the club volleyball men and women’s teams and friends that enjoy playing volleyball.
The teams that played on Friday consisted of both experienced volleyball players, and others with ranging skill levels who simply wanted to have fun and help out with raising money for the team’s fundraiser. The tournament was set up in a bracket form, and approximately 40 people competed in the tournament.
“It’s a good mixture of people who played a lot before and people who just want to get outside and be active. And it’s just a really fun environment,” Wilson said.
Playing volleyball has given Wilson and other players opportunities to meet new people and build strong relationships both on and off the court.
“The men and women’s teams will help each other out in different ways, which I think is really cool,” Wilson said. “They’ll be scorekeepers for our games and we’ll do the same for them. It’s a good network of people who are interested in volleyball so they can create events that we can all participate in.”
The Trinity women’s club volleyball team will compete in various tournaments in the spring; they’ll be traveling to Baylor University, among other places, for these games.
“Trinity offers a really great outlet in club sports as well. If you don’t want to commit to varsity, you can still play as much volleyball as you want,” Wilson said.
D’Aurizio, a junior English major, used Facebook in order to create an event and see how many attendees would be there. This tool proved to be of good use.
“Ben did a good job making a Facebook page and inviting people. Facebook is such a good tool because you can create your own team and see who else is going,” Wilson said.
Both viewers and participants enjoyed the tournament and thought it was very successful.
“At the end of the tournament, I was exhausted. But what I kept hearing from my position slumped over on one of the benches was that people really enjoyed this tournament. I played in it myself and had a blast and I think that the other teams had a lot of fun too,” D’Aurizio said.
Organizing and participating in these tournaments has not only helped the team raise the funds; members have also strengthened relationships with friends and teammates by playing volleyball.
“When I came to Texas from New York freshman year, I was nervous and scared because I didn’t know anyone and I was 1700 miles from home. Angela was one of my first friends here. She lived next to me and we spent a lot of time together freshman year. She’s an amazing person and a fantastic volleyball player,” D’Aurizio said.
As team captain, part of D’Aurizio’s job is to teach volleyball to some of the newer athletes, who actually make up the majority of the men’s team following the departure of several previous members.
“I’m a new captain and this is still a very new team. We lost a lot of experience to graduations and transfers last year, so part of my job has just been teaching the sport of volleyball. I think we’ll be good, we’ve got a couple amazing athletes and some players that have developed really quickly. We just have to out the work in right now, and that includes me as a captain.” D’Aurizio said.
One of D’Aurizio’s goals is to get the men’s team up to a level at which they can compete in more advanced tournaments in more diverse locations.
“I’d like to get to a point where we can compete at tournaments next semester. I think we can get there; it’ll be a fun process to watch,” D’Aurizio said.
By training to qualify for more tournaments, D’Aurizio also hopes to strengthen the bonds members have for those on both the men and women’s club volleyball teams.
“In terms of other volleyball players, we all get to know each other pretty well throughout the year. We try to scrimmage the girls club team every now and then. They’re a really cool group of girls and have some great captains. We don’t really get to interface that much with the varsity team. We used to do a weekly scrimmage against them last year in the off season but we haven’t been doing that anymore.” D’Aurizio said.
The men’s club volleyball team is thankful for all those who participated in the tournament and helped to raise money for the team and for charity. They appreciated the turnout and look forward to future events to fundraise for their team and various charities established in San Antonio.
To learn about other opportunities to join various intramural or club sports, those interested are encouraged to direct their inquiries to the athletic department.