It’s Monday at 5:30 p.m. and Max Chamberlin walks into the warm Bronco Gym to escape from the frigid weather outside. He opens the door to the court and enters. The area is quiet and empty, but within minutes, it begins to fill as other students arrive to class. Max walks around, talking to his classmates before his instructor, Hayley Peterson, arrives with volleyballs. She rolls the volleyballs onto the court and the students scramble to grab them.
As the students start to warm up, the gym is filled with laughter and the sound of volleyballs bouncing. Max hits the ball back and forth with his partner Becka as they joke around. Max bumps the ball to Becka. As she sets it back, he spikes it to her. This is the kind of fun jumpstart to class they’re used to. By about 6 p.m., the students gather and attendance is taken.
Hayley instructs the students to practice their serves. Today, they’ll be scrimmaging one another. The students spread out into a line and are separated into teams. Max greets today’s teammates with high-fives. He stretches out while Hayley rounds up the teams to the courts they’ll be playing on. He’s anxious to start playing. The stresses that come with being a senior, and psychology major, disappear when the game starts. Max says, “Exercise relieves stress and increases endorphins.”
The games begin, and music starts playing on the speaker system. The upbeat music seems to put everyone in a good mood as they play. “The class is all about having a good time and encouraging a healthy lifestyle,” says Hayley. The gym is vibrant. Players are leaping into the air, diving onto the floor, and celebrating points scored. It’s something Max missed.
After playing volleyball in high school, Max was looking for a way to reconnect with the sport he once loved so much. In the two years he played in high school, he enjoyed traveling around the school district and attending volleyball tournaments. “The class reconnected me with something I thought I had lost.” He likes the atmosphere and sport so much, in fact, that this is the second semester Max has taken the class, and he feels like not only have all the old feelings come back from when he used to play, but that he continues to improve.
As the ball is served over the net, it’s hit by his teammate. Max follows closely and prepares to set the ball. He stands in an athletic position and traces the ball with his eyes. As it falls toward him, he extends his arms to set the ball. His teammate, just behind him, calls for Max to set the ball in his direction. He does so and they spike it to the opposite side of the court. It’s a point scored for Max’s team. The team comes together to cheer and compliment the well-earned point. Their smiles are evident, even through their masks, and they keep playing for another hour. He leaves the class feeling calm, accomplished, and like he connected with his team, his fellow students. It feels good to be a part of something.
Hayley says, “The class is centered around creating a foundation for people to play as a lifelong sport,” and that is exactly what Max is doing with his experience in volleyball. This semester Max is playing on a team as a part of the intramural sports offered on campus. After college, Max plans to join a volleyball club. For the foreseeable future, he doesn’t want to imagine a future for himself in which volleyball doesn’t have a place.
Outside of feeling like he’s part of a team, keeping healthy, and lowering his stress, Max has met people in class who he now calls friends. It’s an easy way to break the ice and meet people who have similar interests as you. Max wants to encourage other students to join BroncoFit classes like the one he’s in because it also helps create a deeper connection to the university and Boise State community. To him, volleyball has always been more than just a sport; much more than just a game.
If you’re interested in signing up for a class or have questions about BroncoFit, please contact BroncoFit Activities Coordinator, Kevin Blume at email@example.com.