Participants get dirty in MUDD Volleyball Tournament for a good cause
Sheila Noll of Waynesboro just misses the volley for team Betcha during the MUDD volleyball fundraiser event for the Community Free Clinic on Saturday in Hagerstown. (By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer / July 21, 2012)
Participants come to the MUDD Volleyball Tournament each year expecting to play dirty.
But this time around, the spectators got in on the act, too.
A steady rain that started the night before and continued throughout Saturday’s event turned the field outside of Citi Family Center into a swamp, sometimes making it difficult to distinguish those in the pits and those on the sidelines.
Most people were streaked with goo. Most were dripping wet. But everyone seemed to enjoy being part of a benefit that oozed with fun.
About 700 people and 58 teams spent the day splashing, slipping and diving in the mud for a good cause.
The tournament is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Community Free Clinic of Washington County, Executive Director Robin Roberson said.
Last year’s event raised about $36,000 — a total organizers were hoping to surpass Saturday.
Proceeds will go directly to patient care and will help cover medical, prescription and lab services to uninsured and underinsured local residents, Roberson said.
The tournament has been held for a dozen years, but continues to generate a great deal of enthusiasm, she noted.
“There are teams here today who have played all 12 years and can’t wait to come out again next year,” she said.
According to Roberson, participants this year came from across the Tri-State area, “but we also had a team register from Nevada. There actually are people who follow mud volleyball.”
Eric Holtzman, tournament co-director, said the teams played on 10 pits in both recreational and competitive brackets.
Participants competed for plaques and prizes.
“But most people play for pride,” he said. “It’s also about raising money for a great cause.”
Holtzman said the rain didn’t deter people from attending the event.
“If anything, it enhanced it,” he added. “It’s part of the fun.”
Among the tournament players was Renee Levin, who was a member of the team “Health Nuts.”
“This is my first year participating in the event and I’m having a lot of fun. At least they tell me I’m having fun,” she joked.
Splattered with mud, Levin said she only had fallen twice during her first turn in the pit and ”I think that’s pretty good.”
This also was Michelle George’s first year at the tournament, but after a day playing for team “Like a Boss,” she didn’t expect it to be her last.
“I’d definitely do this again,” the Shippensburg, Pa. resident said. “I’m muddy and I didn’t know it would be raining so hard. But I really don’t mind. I’m with friends and we’re having a good time.”
Andrea Moore of Hagerstown was wet and dirty, but said she wasn’t a player, just a supporter.
“I slipped on a muddy surface on my way to the food tent and ended up looking like I’d been in one of the pits all day,” she said. “Do you get a prize for the best belly flop as a spectator?”