Bay United Elite Volleyball club is a girl’s volleyball club in Panama City. They have been here for only three years, but Hurricane Michael almost changed that.
“We were approaching times for tryouts, and we knew the shape of the gyms around here, and we were just like I don’t know how we are going to do this,“ co-director of the club Karisa Wesley said.
Their 12 teams turned into only four, and they lost 50 percent of their girls. Wesley said they started giving the girls their blessing to go play for other clubs since they really didn’t know if they would have a season.
After finding places to practice and many organizations giving donations, the team was able to make it work.
”It‘s really been cool to see our volleyball community come together to say, ‘hey we know you guys are going through some different circumstances and challenges right now, but we want to do what we can to help you guys out,’” Wesley said.
The players have already shown how resilient they are. The National 17 team is 25-7 right now and had a fifth-place finish in the Sunshine Classic in Orlando a few weeks ago.
“I feel the message is that we are 850 strong,“ Bay United player Sarah Grainger said.
All the players are thankful the club is still here and thriving because this team is a family.
“It’s like a safe haven,“ Bay United player Alli Blais said. “Because I don’t really have a house right now or anything but coming here makes it seem like I have everything together and everything’s normal again.“