CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — William Hatch is yet another member of his family who is pursuing a volleyball career. All four of his older sisters played in high school but Williams won’t be able to do that same, all because he’s a boy.
“Some of them can be very supportive, but some of them are like ‘What are you talking about? That’s a girls sport. You shouldn’t be playing a girls sport’, and they kinda shame me for it but that kinda makes me wanna build up and play more,” Hatch said.
But it doesn’t matter what anyone says, nothing is going to stop Hatch from playing the sports he loves. Except, there isn’t a boys volleyball team at St. Thomas More. In fact, there aren’t any in central Illinois and IHSA rules won’t allow him on a girls team.
“We’ve worked hard to try to get me to play, just having me play back row, or helping me me manage or doing anything really to help out,” Hatch said.
Hatch hell in love with the sport watching his older sisters play, but some of his role models are coaches for the Parkland women’s volleyball team. Ron Hoppe-Hastings and Zach Bush started coaching Hatch at Primetime, a local volleyball club for girls.
“The rule for younger boys is a little less strict than high school boys,” Hoppe-Hastings said. “They can play with the junior high girls, so he was able to play with us for a couple of years.”
Zach and Ron both grew up in areas without boys volleyball, but they’re hoping that won’t be the case for Hatch. The incoming freshman will get to help out with the STM girls team, but Williams will also get the oppotunity at the college level, working with the Parkland team as a manager.
“It’s just really exciting to see someone who I see a lot of myself in being afforded this opportunity at such an early age, and to feel safe, and get to experience his passions,” Bush said.
“We want him to be around, we want to find a place for him so that he can continue to grow with the sport, so that’s if he decides that college volleyball is for him, he has an avenue to pursue that,” Hoppe-Hastings said.
While Hatch might not get to wear and STM jersey, college volleyball is one of his goals, and he’s not letting anyone tell him otherwise.
“Do what you love, don’t hate on other people for doing what they love,” Hatch said. “Volleyball is considered a traditional girl’s sport, but I think that girls should be able to play a traditional guy’s sport, and it should be the other way around”
Boys’ volleyball is an IHSA sanctioned sport, the closest teams are in the Chicagoland area, as well as the metro east. IHSA’s Affirmative Action policies will allow girls on a boys’ team but they say allowing boys to compete on a girls’ team limits opportunities for girls, and gives them a competitive advantage. Hatch is on a mission to find more boys in the area that do have an interest in volleyball.
If you want to get involved with boys’ volleyball please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org