FOLEY – The City of Foley was honored by USA Volleyball Gulf Coast Region with the Robert L. Lindsay Meritorious Service Award during the Aug. 20 council. The award was presented by Commissioner of …
FOLEY – The City of Foley was honored by USA Volleyball Gulf Coast Region with the Robert L. Lindsay Meritorious Service Award during the Aug. 20 council. The award was presented by Commissioner of the Gulf Coast Region for USA Volleyball Coach Phil Bryant and 1964 U.S. National Volleyball team member and Olympian Barbara Harwerth. Bryant, along with coach Shawn Weaver, have been instrumental partners to Foley Sports Tourism to fill the season schedules, while Harwerth brought before the council the idea of hosting Senior Olympics in the area.
“Coach Bryant and Coach Weaver were the first ones to come when we opened the Event Center and populate our calendar for what we want to do, and volleyball has become the bread and butter of all the things we are doing there,” said Recreation Director David Thompson.
Bryant stated that since it has opened, he has received numerous emails concerning the Event Center from players and parents praising their time visiting and the quality of the center. Since opening in 2017, the Event Center has held numerous tournaments from gymnastics to volleyball, and has many more future events planned.
“The analogy between Foley and R. L. Lindsay that I’d like to draw is that Lindsay said in 1981 that USA volleyball needs a place to practice, not an assembly of talent that practice sporadically,” said Bryant. “He created a training facility out of his own pocket, and in 1984, our men’s Olympic team won a gold medal and our women’s Olympic team won a silver medal. Lindsay set the tempo of our Olympic movement, and we feel that you as a city have provided us with the Event Center, with the wonderful staff in it, what R. L. Lindsay provided for the Olympic movement of USA volleyball.”
In an effort to keep moving Foley forward in sports tourism, Harwerth presented the plans of hosting Senior Olympics in the city, an event she states she has been participating in for years in Nevada.
“You’ve got volleyball, basketball, pickleball, tennis, you have around 50 events that are bringing in approximately 11,000 seniors within two weeks,” said Harwerth. “It’s very successful, the local people are very nice, it’s a lot of fun to go there. It would be nice if you could find a situation where you could bring the seniors in here, maybe with an All South Tournament with your location.”
At the event Harwerth attends, she states there are hosted parties for the teams, along with separate sessions divided by age so that everyone has the chance to win a medal. The event ends with an Olympic-like ceremony where the medals are presented.
The idea has been discussed with the Event Center staff, and Bryant is seeking sponsors to see about making the Senior Olympics come to fruition.
For more information on the Foley Event Center, check Foley’s website at cityoffoley.org.