THANK YOU VOLLEYBALL BATON ROUGE:

Some of you may have heard, but I have retired VBR as a competitive girls club.

It’s time.

Twenty years ago this month, while walking around Vancouver, I brought up the idea to Brenda that I take over what was River City Volleyball of Baton Rouge. Everyone involved thought it was a great idea except Brenda.

She got out-voted.

Soon after I renamed it Volleyball Baton Rouge and we never looked back, starting with 2000 season.

There were many victories, plenty of defeats, some incredible road trips, and, most important, relationships formed that will last a lifetime.
Area high schools got better, state championships were won, girls went on to play in college, and there were so many opportunities created for girls and their families to enjoy our great sport and volleyball community.

The first eight years we fielded teams in 18s down to 10s, often with as many as 150 girls and 35 coaches. Throw in the parents and supporters and were were often a family of more than 500.

But after those first eight years, we pared it back to one team. They started as 11-year-olds and this year finished their college careers. When they were 18 we put together one last team, which played 13s at the time, and they finished as 17s this past season.

More than anything we’ve had great coaches along the way, people who sacrificed time and effort for little play to coach and give of themselves often beyond belief.

I’d have to go back through the yearbooks to list every one of you, so no names, but please know that if you ever coached for VBR you have a special place in my heart and I will never forget your commitment and loyalty.

OK, one name, Rob Smith, who was with us the longest. Rarely did he ever even get to coach his own high school players, but always gave his all, worked hard to get better as a coach, and was a great roommate on the road all these seasons.

We drank a lot of beers, ate some great food, had a blast and laughed too much. I treasure our friendship.

And to Brenda, whose remarkable high-school coaching career has her in four halls of fame, and who was such an integral part of VBR until she retired a few years back, thanks for all the support for these 20 years. I know I speak for any girl you ever coached that you were the best there ever was.

So, after nearly a third of my life, as Brenda said, we had a good run.
We sure did.

VBR will live on a volleyball organization with an eye on charitable ventures and helping those in need in our volleyball community. There will be more on that in this space down the line.

Until then, thanks again.

As the girls have said in every huddle the past decade, “VBR, love love!”

Lee