Water warriors: Montesa volleyball group plays despite cold weather

Montesa at Gold Canyon residents playing water volleyball on a chilly morning Nov. 16 are: front row from left, Betty Williams (with volleyball), Roger Hagermann, J.R. Ruggles and Duane Earll (with dark cap); second row from left: Dave Keis (with dark cap), Sherry Keis (with white visor), Sue Genenbacher and Carolyn Howard (with white cap); and back row from left: Robin Shimabuku (with multi-colored cap), Marv Cole, Glenn Shimabuku, Jim Brian (with volleyball), Dan Doig (with light-colored cap) and Bruce Wilde. (Independent Newspapers)

Montesa at Gold Canyon residents playing water volleyball on a chilly morning Nov. 16 are: front row from left, Betty Williams (with volleyball), Roger Hagermann, J.R. Ruggles and Duane Earll (with dark cap); second row from left: Dave Keis (with dark cap), Sherry Keis (with white visor), Sue Genenbacher and Carolyn Howard (with white cap); and back row from left: Robin Shimabuku (with multi-colored cap), Marv Cole, Glenn Shimabuku, Jim Brian (with volleyball), Dan Doig (with light-colored cap) and Bruce Wilde. (Independent Newspapers)

 
Shortly before 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16, the sky over Gold Canyon was overcast. The cold air nipped at one’s skin. Undaunted by the weather, a group of residents at Montesa at Gold Canyon, an age 55-plus community at 7373 E. Highway 60, cheerfully donned swimsuits and plunged into their community pool to have a blast playing water volleyball.

“Sometimes we make so much noise laughing and yelling that our neighbors near the entrance (to the community) say they can hear us,” Montesa resident Sue Genenbacher said during an interview. “It’s all good fun, and that’s what it’s meant to be.”

No one is quite sure when the original water volleyball group was formed at Montesa but Ms. Genenbacher believes it started about a year before she moved to the community 13 years ago. The group meets three times a week — 10 a.m.-noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — year-round at the Montesa pool to play competitive yet casual and informal games.

The players like the informal nature of the group, Ms. Genenbacher said. It has no officers and does not compete against other communities, she said.

“If people are in town they show up and play. If they’re not here, they’re usually out of town,” she said.

 

Residents at Montesa at Gold Canyon play water volleyball three days a week at the community swimming pool. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

Residents at Montesa at Gold Canyon play water volleyball three days a week at the community swimming pool. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

 

Ms. Genenbacher said to have a good game requires five players on each team; six is ideal, she said. And typically, 10 to 20 people total show up on any given play day, she said.

The group, whose members range in ages from 60 to mid-80s, plays in warm and cold weather, she said.

“The pool is heated but the air when you get out of the water is cold. So in the winter, we throw on our towels when we get out of the pool and get into the hot tub to stay warm,” Ms. Genenbacher said.

Jim Brian has lived at Montesa for a little over 10 years. He got involved with the water volleyball group about nine years ago when he saw them playing. It looked like a lot of fun and laughs, he said, so he joined in and has played regularly ever since.

Mr. Brian, who will turn 69 in December, said he enjoys the camaraderie that is created among the players. He said he and his wife, Laura, who prefers beading over water volleyball, have become good friends with Ms. Genenbacher and her husband, Dale.

Mr. Brian said he also enjoys the physical workout he gets and being competitive.

“Sometimes too much. Sometimes they call me a ball hog because I can be very aggressive,” he said, grinning. “But we also laugh a lot, and laughter is good therapy. You laugh your head off and get good exercise.”

Both Mr. Brian and Ms. Genenbacher have had knee replacements. The water exercise provides them with a good workout, Mr. Brian said.

The activity is self-funded and maintained by its players, she said. They purchase the volleyballs, volleyball net and other supplies and repair and maintain the equipment, Ms. Genenbacher said.

Mr. Brian helps set up and tear down the net each session and everybody helps round up the balls that go flying outside the pool, she said.

One way the members help finance their play is by conducting craft fairs such as the one scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, Ms. Genenbacher said. The 14th Annual Art and Craft Fair will take place 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Montesa Hall. Admission is free and it is open to the public.

Money raised from the fair will be split between a donation to a local charity and the water volleyball activities, Ms. Genenbacher said.

For more information about the water volleyball group or the art and craft fair, call Ms. Genenbacher at 480-474-0222.

Reach staff writer Wendy Miller at wmiller@newszap.com

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