Due to the dedicated efforts of a new team, men’s volleyball is now at Franklin.When one thinks of volleyball at Franklin, they most likely think of the women’s team. However, late last school year, men’s volleyball emerged as a club sport here at Franklin High School.
The movement to start the current men’s volleyball team was spearheaded by Franklin senior Jude Callaway, who said, “Volleyball has been something that I’ve done ever since I was a little kid…so what’s stopping me from starting [a men’s volleyball team] at Franklin?”
It took around five months from start to finish, due to logistical and bureaucratic issues, according to Callaway. Athletes felt that the biggest problem standing in the way was Portland Public Schools (PPS) policy. “[PPS] made it really finicky and we have to technically identify as a club this year,” Callaway stated. He had to make sure they were approved to play the sport.
Since the men’s volleyball team is technically a club sport, they have to find ways to fit in practices. They use the open gym on Fridays, and set up nets in public parks for outdoor practice. They also often practice with the women’s volleyball team. “Practices generally look like warm ups, [some] drills, and sometimes we scrimmage,” explains Callaway. There are typically one to two practices a week.
The Franklin Men’s Volleyball club currently has around 20-30 members, ranging from freshmen to seniors. “I first heard about [the men’s volleyball team] on an Instagram post … I thought, why not? I’m not doing a sport right now,” says Sailor Lombardi, a member of the team. “My favorite part, other than liking the sport, is [that I’ve made] friends,” shares Jay Stone, another member of the team who joined last summer.
The next step the team is trying to achieve is to become a sanctioned, funded Franklin sport. “What we have to go through to actually get a season, because as of now I don’t know if we’re gonna have one,” Stone explained when asked if he could change one thing about being on the team.“We have to jump through a lot more hoops,” Lombardi agrees, saying, “I wish there was a properly set up men’s volleyball team, but with Title IX and getting the right administration approval, it’s difficult.”
Part of the issue with getting a men’s volleyball team off the ground lies in Title IX. Due to the clause that states that there must be equal sports opportunities for all genders, women’s volleyball was added as the counter balance to men’s football. If men’s volleyball was added, the scales would tip again, and there has been little demand for women’s football at Franklin. The only way to get around this is if PPS and the community agree that adding a men’s volleyball team should be allowed, which is something that the members of the team are pushing for.
While the future for the team is uncertain, the men’s volleyball team hopes to continue to grow and eventually secure a spot as a sanctioned sport, so that Franklin Men’s Volleyball will be an option for a new generation of students.