From the JVA Office: Our Volleyball Community

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Merriam-Webster defines a community as: "a unified body of individuals; people with common interests; a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society."

There are many of us, myself included, that refer to our group as "the volleyball community." There is the general volleyball community, the club volleyball community, the college volleyball community, and the high school volleyball community, not to mention many more. There are also message board communities on websites like and VolleyTalk. Our sport is comprised of so many different communities.

I spent this past weekend in greater Chicago at the Sports Performance President's Day Challenge. It is one of my favorite weekends of the year; by now clubs have had a couple months of practice under their belts, my college coaching friends are out on the recruiting grind, and there are multiple, high-level events around the country to compete in. It is a weekend the club and college volleyball communities show up in full-force.

However, this weekend I looked at this community, this group with the common interest of volleyball, a bit differently.

On the night of Thursday, February 11th, less than a week ago, Ole Miss volleyball and track standout Ty Laporte, from Magnum Volleyball Club, lost her life after a tragic traffic accident. She was only 23.

It is times like these when we question "why"? When we realize that none of us are invincible. When we really have to check ourselves, the manner in which we live our lives, as we never know when God may need another angel.

It is also times like these, times of pain, questions, and heartache, that our volleyball community comes together to show an overwhelming amount of love and support.

When the news broke this past Friday of Ty's passing, it was remarkable seeing the amount of loving words on social media, seeing so many support the Ty Laporte Memorial Fund to cover funeral expenses, and watching our volleyball community come together, once again.

After catching up on Sunday with Florida Volleyball Head Coach Mary Wise, we chatted about this very topic. And as I walked away from that conversation, I took a couple minutes to take it all in. I looked over the courts in the Rosemont Dome, saw kids having fun, smiling, competing in the sport they love, coaches catching up with other coaches... In that moment I realized, there may be multiple communities within our sport, but in the end, I think volleyball is one big family.

Our family has a new angel. Her name is Ty.

About the Author

Zach Colston is the Director of Events for the Junior Volleyball Association.


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