“We’re a pretty fun team to play; we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
–Anna Prorock, member of The Volley Lamas beach volleyball team
by Mimi Montgomery
photograph by Travis Long
If you drive past landlocked Jaycee Park this summer, you may catch a glimpse of the beach through its chain-link fence as Anna Prorock, 29, and her many fellow volleyballers duke it out four-on-four across volleyball nets in the sand.
Every Thursday and Sunday, Prorock meets up with beach volleyball teammates Nick Tompkins, 34, Paul Spillers, 32, Ted Ford, 35, and Sarah Velten, 25. Their team – the tongue-in-cheekily named The Volley Lamas – has been spiking and volleying together for four years.
In a league hosted by Tri Sports, which brings together working professionals for recreational sports leagues, the Lamas play beach volleyball throughout spring, summer, and fall; when winter comes, they move their games indoors.
The group has steadily improved with each season. Besides Prorock, who played in high school and for a year at Peace College, and Velten, who also played in high school, none of the other Lamas had previous volleyball experience. What they do have is staying power. Originally comprised of 10 members, the Lamas have dwindled down over the years to the core group of five that plays now. “We’re like the last survivors,” Prorock says. “We have gotten so good … because we’ve been together for so long,” even winning some championship games during indoor seasons.
Victory aside, the main goal is to spend time together and have fun. The Lamas are all longtime friends who work in different industries, so volleyball brings them together after-hours. “We should (practice), but we usually don’t,” Prorock says with a laugh. “We have a lot of fun with it.”
They don’t have a summer league championship notch on their belts yet, but they have high hopes. “We’ve gotten to know the other teams, so there’s some friendly competition,” Prorock says. The championship game day is play-until-you-lose, so it can be a long day if the Lamas make it that far. But they’re ready. “It’s exhausting, but really fun.”
For information on local recreational sports teams: trisportsnc.com