Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Volleyball in El Salvador

This post was written by my student, Conchita. She is the smile in my classroom. I'm not sure if anything ever gets her down. As you can guess, she is also an enthusiastic volleyball player.

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. However, its size does not limit its passion for sports. The most popular sports in this country are basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

Volleyball is included in most private school programs. Interscholastic volleyball is separated between boys and girls in the following categories: under 12 years old, under 14 years old, under 16 years of age, and under 18. After 18 years of age, students are not allowed to participate in intercollegiate games. There is a main interscholastic championship which includes all local qualifying private schools, called “Colegiales.” This championship is usually held from the beginning of May to early July, because the local school system doesn’t have summer vacation during this time. The winning team gets an all expenses paid trip to Puerto Rico to play against other qualified teams. The funds come from the National Volleyball Federation.

But volleyball isn’t limited by age or educational level. The Volleyball Federation also sponsors an open championship for all ages. The categories in this championship are based on skill: category I being the best and category III being the “newbies.” You choose what category to start in, but if you finish last place twice in the same category, you are moved down to the category below. However, if you win first place in your category, you are moved to the category above. The winning team in category I wins a trophy and a cash prize.

The rules in El Salvador are the international rules plus a little extra strictness. The net height for women is still 2.24 meters, and 2.43 meters for men. However, in El Salvador, players MUST wear long socks (no crew socks), and tuck their shirts in. For local tournaments, players can only have jerseys with numbers one through eighteen. If a team member fails to abide by the dress code, they either can’t play or must pay a five dollar fine (depending on the importance of the game).

Even though El Salvador is a small country, passion is everywhere. There is even passion for volleyball. You can spot single mothers who work all day, using their vacation time to participate on the open championship. These women have no worried expression; they are doing something they love.


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