Volleyball players from all over North America competed in this year’s New York Mini (NYMini) nine-man volleyball tournament over the weekend.
Key details: The two-day event, which ran from Saturday to Sunday, was held at four different locations across New York City’s Chinatown.
According to the event’s organizers, 100 teams registered for the tournament. Toronto Connex A won overall in the men’s division, while Toronto Storm X won overall in the women’s division.
The 35th NYMini Volleyball Tournament reportedly served as a tune-up for this year’s North American Chinese Invitational Volleyball Tournament (NACIVT). The event will take place in Baltimore, Maryland, from Sept. 3 to Sept. 4.
A different set of rules: As its name implies, nine-man volleyball consists of nine players on each side of the court. Typical volleyball games consist of six players on each side.
In addition, nine-man volleyball also does not have a rotation system. Each player typically specializes in two to three positions on the court.
Teams interested in participating in the NYMini nine-man volleyball tournament must have at least six players who are of “100 percent” Chinese descent, while the remaining players must be of Asian descent, according to NACIVT rules.
History of the sport: The sport reportedly originated in Taishan, a coastal city in Guangdong province, years after volleyball was introduced to China by American missionaries in the early 20th century. Some of the city residents who would go on to immigrate to the United States brought the new sport with them.
Chinese immigrants in the U.S. purportedly used the sport to blow off steam after work and to form connections with other immigrants.
Sports journalist Ursula Liang, who directed the award-winning 2014 documentary “9-Man,” told Latitude News that Chinese immigrants would use towels wrapped with string as their balls.
By the 1930s, some teams from Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, would reportedly gather in parking lots or their local YMCA during Labor Day to play nine-man volleyball. It was not until 1944 that the groups started their own “national” tournament.