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Men's volleyball no laughing matter

Nov. 9, 2006

By SARAH VIESCA
Reporter

After suffering a season-ending ankle injury while playing basketball his senior year of high school, Blair Greenwood found another way to get involved with college sports.

Greenwood, a Houston graduate student, has been a member of the men's club volleyball team for five years.

Greenwood said he started playing because he knew some of the guys on the team, and since he wasn't playing basketball, he needed something to keep busy.

"I never played organized volleyball till I got to Baylor," he said.

"You get better and better as you play more."

Joe Luan, a Gilbert, Ariz., junior who has been playing with Greenwood for three years, said Greenwood picked up on the game quickly.

Luan said he was impressed when he first saw Greenwood play.

"For how long he's been playing, the ability he has is really good," Luan said. "He's a big presence in the middle."

While the team's season doesn't kick off until the spring, Greenwood said the team has already begun to practice twice a week.

"It's tough to get the whole team together because everyone has other commitments," Greenwood said.

Brett Stuart, a Chicago junior, said Greenwood has been in charge of running the drills for the team since practices started.

"Being Blair's fifth year on the team, everyone looks up to him because of his experience and knowledge of the game," Stuart said.

Even though volleyball may not be a popular men's sport, Greenwood said it's nothing to joke about.

"If anyone watches college men play volleyball, there's not much to tease," he said.

Since Greenwood is working on his master's degree in education and sports pedagogy, this semester he was given the opportunity to teach four volleyball human performance classes.

"It's a lot of work grading and planning. You don't find out what classes you get till a week before school, so you plan really fast," he said.

While he said there are some challenges to the job, like making sure one class doesn't get ahead of the others, Greenwood said he enjoys teaching.

Aside from his responsibilities at school and with the team, Greenwood also officiates high school volleyball games and is a line judge at Baylor matches.

Greenwood said many universities use local people with volleyball knowledge as line judges because it's difficult to fly out four officials to every volleyball game.

"As long as you talk with the officials before every match on how they want things done and use your knowledge of the game to call a ball in, it's easy to understand," Greenwood said.

While he occasionally gets nervous on a difficult call, Greenwood said, he doesn't worry because he knows coaches are going to fuss since they have their own agenda. He said he's learned to blow off insults.

"I was nervous at the Nebraska game because I was standing a few inches away from the number one team in the nation," Greenwood said.

Although the Lady Bears' season is winding to a close, the men's club season is just beginning.

With Greenwood at the helm, the team will travel Saturday to Texas Christian University to play other men's club volleyball teams from around Texas.

"The students are fun. It's interesting to see the dynamics of the class," Greenwood said. "You have to work around their personalities.