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Bump, set, spike — at night!

John Benson • May 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM

Want to go?

• WHAT: Insomniac Volleyball Tournament

• WHEN: 9 p.m. Jan. 15-10 a.m. Jan. 16

• WHERE: Ernsthausen Rec Center, 100 Republic St., Norwalk

• COST: $120/team (day of); $100/team (pre-register)

• INFO: 419-706-2287

Ladies and gentleman, start your spiking for the all-night Insomniac Volleyball Tournament! The challenge begins January 15 and ends the following morning at the Barnes Gym in the Ernsthausen Rec Center.

Perhaps it’s a sign of just how avid volleyball players can be, or maybe it’s a simple solution to cabin fever. Either way, the unique event has become quite popular.  “It’s been going on for at least 10 years,” said tournament organizer Tim Skinner, who is also the co-head of the Sunday volleyball league at Barnes Gym. “There’s just a love of some people to play volleyball. We have teams coming from Ashland. We usually have teams from Cleveland, and last year we had a team from out of state. By doing it overnight, we can give people many games.”

He added, “Plus, we use the Norwalk Rec Center and a lot of people like playing there because of the way the rec center is designed. They have four courts playing and it’s very clean. So the facility draws people in.”

With an average of 25 amateur volleyball teams from all over the region in attendance, it sounds like the Insomniac Volleyball Tournament makes Norwalk the Ohio capital of volleyball for that day.  “I wouldn’t know, but on that day we attract a lot of teams,” Skinner said.

While the tournament requires a $120 entry fee per team (day of), Skinner suggests that the prestige of the event — a money prize goes to the winner, along with t-shirts — is actually staying up all night, sort of. Some folks do bring chairs or sleeping bags and try to catch some sleep in between matches.

“It’s just regular people who love to play volleyball,” Skinner said. “I think it’s the average Joe. They go to work, work eight hours a day and this is a release. It’s their love of the game. They love to play. We do have a lot of new people coming in and wanting to play, which is great, but right now I don’t see a lot of younger people getting into it. So we’re trying to get more younger people involved, to get more exercise and enjoy the camaraderie between people.”

As for playing volleyball, you better believe Skinner will be on the court come tournament time. And it appears as though he’s on a mission that goes beyond staying awake. “I actually played for the last several years,” Skinner said. “I’m pretty good. I’m a spiker. I’m just pretty much playing to have fun and exercise. But I do like to win as well.”

The Insomniac Volleyball Tournament takes place from 9 p.m. Jan. 15 to 10 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Barnes Gym in the Ernsthausen Rec Center, 100 Republic St., Norwalk. Pre-registration is $100/team and day-of registration is $120/team. Event will begin at 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 15. For more information, call 419-706-2287.

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