Thursday, 23 May 2024

Rocky Mountain Region Returns to the Court

The Rocky Mountain Region is making a triumphant return to the court with the start of the Power League tournaments on October 17-18. While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new protocols, the region is determined to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for players. Keith Murlless, the new RMR Executive Director, has been instrumental in implementing strict guidelines to mitigate the risk of infection. The decision to hold the fall league was driven by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), as high school volleyball in the state has been moved to the spring.

Adapting to Challenges

The fall league presents its own set of challenges, including limited access to public school gyms due to closures. As a result, private facilities are being utilized for the Power Series, and the playing population has been split based on age. Older athletes will compete in the fall to accommodate their school season, while younger athletes will have their opportunity in the spring. Additionally, facility capacity is carefully managed according to occupancy limits and COVID-19 restrictions in each county.

Team Colorado Leads the Way

Team Colorado, one of the participating teams in the RMR, showcased the region’s protocols in action during their first-ever power tournament at The Farm in Colorado Springs on October 17. Tournament director Chrissy Elder ensured that safety measures such as mask-wearing, hand-washing, and ball sanitizing were strictly enforced. However, due to attendance limitations, parents were unable to witness the matches in person. Nevertheless, the region’s partnership with streaming service BallerTV has allowed parents to stay connected and watch the games remotely.

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Establishing a New Culture

RMR has set stringent guidelines for the pace of play, with a zero-tolerance policy for exceptions to mask-wearing on the court. This approach aims to minimize exposure while still allowing players to compete. The region encourages players to communicate with referees by politely raising their hands if they need a moment to catch their breath. This deliberate pause enables players to recover and maintain their oxygen levels, given the challenges posed by mask-wearing.

Supporting Site Directors and Officials

Recognizing the increased responsibilities faced by site directors, RMR has provided additional support by hiring extra personnel for the second weekend of play. These individuals act as assistant site directors, assisting with tasks such as mask compliance, temperature checks, and BallerTV operations. Referees have also been empowered to enforce uniform noncompliance penalties, including yellow and red cards if necessary. However, thanks to the growing familiarity and cooperation of players and coaches, the need for disciplinary action has been minimal.

A Note of Appreciation

Keith Murlless expresses his gratitude for the referees and officials who have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of all participants. Their dedication and willingness to adapt to new standards have been invaluable during these challenging times. The RMR is committed to creating an environment where the joy of the game can thrive while prioritizing the well-being of everyone involved.

FAQs

Q: How has the Rocky Mountain Region adapted to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

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A: The Rocky Mountain Region has implemented strict guidelines and protocols to mitigate the risk of infection. Private facilities are being used for the Power Series due to limited access to public school gyms. Additionally, the playing population has been split based on age, with older athletes competing in the fall and younger athletes in the spring.

Q: How does the region ensure the safety of players and spectators during tournaments?

A: Safety measures such as mask-wearing, hand-washing, and ball sanitizing are strictly enforced during tournaments. Attendance is limited, and the region has partnered with streaming service BallerTV to allow parents and spectators to watch the matches remotely.

Summary

The Rocky Mountain Region is making a successful return to the court, with the Power League tournaments bringing the joy of volleyball back to the region. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the region has implemented strict protocols to ensure the safety of all participants. Private facilities are being used, and the playing population has been split based on age. Team Colorado has led the way by showcasing these protocols during their first-ever power tournament. The region has also established guidelines for the pace of play, encouraging players to communicate their needs to referees. With the support of site directors and officials, the Rocky Mountain Region is determined to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all involved in the sport.