Seniors find joy, exercise in weekly chair volleyball

Sep 6, 2022

Chirps of laughter, heavy grunts and jesting calls of, “too much power, John!” echoed off the walls of the Council on Aging on Aug. 30, as seniors took part in a growing weekly tradition.

Eighteen seniors settled in their chairs on Tuesday morning for a rousing game of “chair volleyball,” pitting nine against nine in a jovial match-up.

Chair volleyball came to the Council on Aging after senior Joe Salerno brought the idea back from Florida about five years ago, he said.

“It’s good exercise,” Salerno said, adding that people who use wheelchairs can also participate, “which is great.”

The game is akin to regular volleyball, albeit with relaxed rules and a large beach ball as opposed to the tough leather of a volleyball. Players on one side can hit the ball as many times as they need, and there’s no rule on how you can hit the ball.

The biggest rule: Players must sit tight in their chairs the whole time — except when chasing after errant balls that go out of bounds.

“It’s upper-body exercise,” Salerno said. “It’s easy to play.”

Plus, at the Council on Aging, the game is about more than just winning. Between points, seniors laughed over the extreme saves players made or how far the ball traveled out of bounds.

After several points, one player moved from sitting in the front row of chairs to the back, giving him more space to make his powerful hits.

“There’s no sorry in chair volleyball,” player Janet Wilson joked about wild hits before the game. “Only oops.”

“There’s a lot of laughter out of it,” Salerno said, adding that “anybody in town” is welcome to play.

Games begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday at the Council on Aging, 48 Marion Rd. A 9 a.m. coffee hour usually precedes the match.