Chair volleyball exploding as seniors’ newest sport

Seniors enjoy a rousing game of chair volleyball at the Seniors Games kickoff.

Chair volleyball exploding as seniors’ newest sport
January 24
11:54 2019

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

Over 125 seniors came out for the Piedmont Plus Senior Games/SilverArts kickoff on Friday, Jan. 18, at Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center, but the biggest draw was the new sport of chair volleyball.

Teams from the Salvation Army Senior Center, Arbor Acres Retirement Community, and Sims Recreation Center demonstrated the difficulty – and fun – of playing volleyball in a chair using a beach ball. The main rule is the four legs of the chair and the player’s two feet must remain on the floor at all times. When the game got spirited and competitive, that rule became difficult to keep as players stretched up or leaned over to toss the ball back over the net. Although it seems like it would be an easy sport, players quickly worked up a sweat as they competed for bragging rights.

Robin Pardelia, community outreach liaison for the Salvation Army, said that Kelly Stallato, senior programs director, learned about chair volleyball and thought it would be a good addition to the programs at their center. The first game at the center, staff had to play to get enough people to fill two teams. But the word quickly spread and now they have two courts set up and they stay packed. “It’s competitive, but everyone encourages each other and they cheer each other on. It’s great fun!”

Chuck Vestal, who coordinates the Senior Games and organized the kickoff, said that Arbor Acres Retirement Community had a similar experience. He asked Suzy Vaile, Fitness Center/Wellness Arts Director, to “just try it,” and the first week eight or ten people showed up. The next week 15 people showed up and it grew from there. Now they have two nets and about 24 people play every week. Vaile said, “This brings people together who are not usually together. I had one resident tell me, ‘I felt good for the rest of the day after playing and laughing.’” Vaile said they have one resident who is 100 years old and plays, so anybody can play this sport.

Vestal said that several other local Senior Games will be including chair volleyball this year, including High Point and Burlington, although it won’t be part of the State Games – yet. It is a cost-effective sport since it only needs a $60 net and a beach ball. Chair volleyball is played on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. at the Salvation Army Center on New Walkertown Road, the 14th Street Rec Center on Wednesdays at 11 a.m., and the William Sims Rec Center on Thursdays at 11 a.m. Everyone is invited to come out and play.

The Senior Games kickoff is an opportunity for those interested in participating in either the sporting competitions or the SilverArts, which includes crafts, photography, painting, and literary competitions, to pick up entry forms, talk with other participants, or learn more if they’re first-timers. Jessie Garrett, a recreation center director, welcomed participant Ronnie Nations back for the fourth year of competing in track and field events. Nations said, “It is really good camaraderie and a really good time. You feel like you’re a part of something.”

Ms. Senior North Carolina, Frann Griffin, greeted attendees at the kickoff as part of her ceremonial duties as queen. Her mother, Sarah Brooks, is a former Ms. Senior North Carolina and participates in Senior Games at the age of 91. They encouraged seniors to get involved and stay active.

Vestal says he is excited to see so much interest in chair volleyball and hopes more people will come out to play. “Not only is it fun, it is introducing new people to Senior Games.” To view the rules for chair volleyball or for more information about Senior Games, visit www.WePlay.WS and click on the Seniors’ link.


There will be a chair volleyball tournament held on Tuesday, Jan. 29, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Salvation Army, 2850 New Walkertown Road. The tournament is open for adults age 50 or better and teams of six players. For more information or to register, contact Chuck Vestal at (336) 727-2325.

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