There are a range of ages at the Center of Gravity beach volleyball tournament this weekend.
Many athletes are in their 20s; some are in their early 30s.
And then there is one team significantly younger than the rest.
Tsawwassen twins Megan and Nicole McNamara celebrated their 15th birthday last Wednesday.
But the McNamara sisters are proving that age and skill aren’t directly related when it comes to beach volleyball.
Megan and Nicole won their first match Saturday morning and earned hard-fought points against the No. 2 ranked women’s beach volleyball duo in Canada Saturday afternoon.
According to their father, Sean, the girls have been playing beach volleyball for the past three years.
In that time, they’ve built up a pretty impressive resume.
“They won a pro tournament in Vancouver a few weeks ago, they won the U-16 nationals last year in Toronto, this year they’re competing in the U-18 beach nationals,” said Sean.
“They would like to play for Canada at some point and go to world competitions. . .their ultimate goal would be to play in the Olympics one day.”
It’s a lofty ambition, but the twins are already battling against some of Canada’s best teams. And they have a lot of time to perfect their game.
One advantage that the girls have is a familiarity with each other that other teams can not match. Another benefit is that Megan is right-handed and Nicole swings with her left, which allows both girls to spike from a preferred position on the sand.
Coming into this year’s Center of Gravity beach volleyball tournament, the McNamara sisters’ expectations were realistic.
Last year, the girls won only one of their matches. This year, the goal was to win two or three.
“There are really good teams here,” said Megan.
“We’re close though,” added Nicole.
The McNamara family are used to packing suitcases to ensure Megan and Nicole get to as many tournaments as possible.
“We normally make family vacations out of it as well. We’ve been to Calgary, Toronto many times and we go to Seattle for tournaments—that’s the one thing about volleyball, there is a lot of travel involved,” said Sean.
He added that Center of Gravity is a unique experience because the event is not all about volleyball.
“It’s unique because it’s a big party with a tournament as part of it.
“Because our girls are so young, all we do is partake in the volleyball. . .when they’re in their 20s, I’m sure they’ll want to come here and be with all their friends and make more of a weekend out of it.”
Sean said his daughters couldn’t even go to the players’ meeting because it was held at a bar.
The sisters admitted that Center of Gravity offers distractions; however, they said their age allows them to not worry about partying and focus on volleyball.