Displaced volleyball center nearly ready for new digs

PLAYING AROUND

Howard At Play

January 20, 2002

JODY KRUG wants to play volleyball again so badly, she showed up at the very first chance, a couple weeks ago, to help with the dirty work of setting up the new Volleyball House. She was one of about 50 players - and several moms with new babes in arms - who volunteered to put down flooring or do whatever else necessary to rebuild a place some regard as a second home.

But really, next Sunday is The Day.

That's when Volleyball House, which closed early last summer after 11 years in a Columbia warehouse, reopens for league play in old Elkridge with, many hope, the same familiar feel.

Its main backers say the new place at 5635 Furnace Ave., a couple quick turns eastward off U.S. 1 on the Howard County side of the Patapsco River, will have the same quality floors and indirect lighting that's much better than the naked ceiling bulbs in the old place.

It won't have indoor soccer, alas, but it again will have six volleyball courts. Teams can still register, and individuals can still drop in during open play - specifics are on the Web at vbhouse.com or by phone at 410-579-1007.

Krug said she took daughter Emerson, born in September, to Elkridge because Volleyball House primary investors Judith DeJong and husband Paul Mahaffy "celebrate each one of our successes - it's like a big ol' family."

She bonded with the original center, she said, because "it gave me a place to meet women who were healthy and active" when her Northwest Airlines job meant working in Baltimore, not Minneapolis. She knew no one, hadn't played the sport, but went with a team from work - and has been hooked since.

So when the Extreme, Krug's team of 20- to 40-year-old women for the past five or six years, takes the court again, well, that'll be the best. The team will compete in a Monday night women's league - "chick night," as Krug puts it.

DeJong said the Extreme will be one of about 120 teams expected to register in the next week or so - the same number that used the Columbia facility when a lawsuit settlement with a landlord required its closing, but with owners optimistic about opening a new center.

"We've been very pleasantly surprised," said DeJong, about inquiries and registrations by teams, including some that left for a promised county rec-department league that never materialized because of a lack of facilities.

Next month, a Fort Meade league with more than 60 teams will return to Volleyball House.

About indoor soccer, which has no Howard County facility these days, DeJong said she and her partners have looked at a couple of possibilities as replacements for the one field they operated so successfully in Columbia.

But for now, she said, they are devoting their energy to reopening Volleyball House in Elkridge.

"We'd be happy to work with someone else on indoor soccer," she said, "but it doesn't look like we will be able to build something just on our own."

Special Olympics

Howard County's Special Olympics program, which boosted its number of athletes and volunteers last year, has been given the state Special Olympics' top award, worth $1,000, for the second straight year.

Columbia's Beth Greenberg, who coordinates volunteers and gave 1,050 hours to the county group, was named Outstanding Area Volunteer, and Ellicott City's George Guthrie was Outstanding State Volunteer. County police Sgt. John Noonan was recognized for continuing volunteer service.

The Elkridge family of Bob and Peggy Baker was named Outstanding Family. Bob has directed the county program for 2 1/2 years, his wife has helped in cross-country skiing and aquatics programs.

Their daughter Kim, 13, with her summer swim team in Columbia's Phelps Luck neighborhood, has raised nearly $10,000 for the county group in three years.

Another Baker daughter, Stephanie, 17, competes in five Special Olympics events and helps Long Reach High School students produce a newsletter.

Call the writer at 410-332-6525 or address e-mail to lowell.sunderland@baltsun.com.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.