By Tina Comeau
Janell Stewart and Emily Burbidge, both from Yarmouth, were silver medalists at the Parlee Beach Open Beach Volleyball Tournament in late July. The pair is now preparing for upcoming beach volleyball tournaments this month where they are hoping for continued success.
The team’s only loss of the open beach tournament was to a New Brunswick team in the final by scores of 21-17 and 21-18.
The pair is heading back to Parlee Beach in Moncton to compete in the Atlantic Canadian Beach Volleyball Tournament, which is being held Aug. 11 and 12. On Aug. 17 and 18 they will compete at a tournament in Halifax.
The girls started playing beach volleyball together this summer, although in the past they’ve played volleyball together with the local indoor club Southwest Fusion.
This is Stewart’s second summer playing beach volleyball and Burbidge’s first.
“Last summer I played with the Nova Scotia beach volleyball team. I trained out of Halifax, however this summer we are trying to develop the sport in Yarmouth, therefore it made more sense to play with a local partner,” says Stewart. She said Coastal Financial sponsored the purchase of a high-quality beach volleyball net to help develop beach volleyball in Yarmouth and she’d like to see the establishment of a beach volleyball facility locally.
“My favorite part about beach volleyball is that you always receive the maximum amount of playing time. Where your team is made up of only two people you are constantly playing the ball and become a stronger volleyball player,” says Stewart, who says beach volleyball is a very unique sport when it comes to the mental aspect of the game. “It makes you mentally stronger as well, which helps you in everything you do.”
The sport also comes with challenges that you don’t experience when playing volleyball indoors.
“The most difficult part of beach volleyball is constantly playing with natural elements such as sun, wind and rain,” Stewart says. “Beach volleyball only stops in the case of lightning. Adapting your skills to work with the natural elements is always a challenge, but also makes the game fun to play.”
Although Burbidge only started playing beach volleyball this summer, she is adapting quickly to the game and the differences from playing the sport on an indoor court.
“I love how I get to spend the day outside in the sun playing one of my favorite sports,” she says. “It's tough moving in the sand sometimes but it's a lot easier to dive in the sand than diving on a gym floor.”