Volley Ball - A Sport for the Physical Fitness Program circa 1943
By Josephine Burke
Originally printed in The Official United States Volley Ball Association Volley Ball Guide, 1943
Volley ball is a very suitable game for keeping women physically fit during this world crisis, when women are expected to play an important part and vital part in defense. The game offers enjoyable moments for mental relaxation and for relief from emotional strain.
Volley ball is a sport that can be mildly recreational or keenly competitive. It is not necessarily strenuous; hence it fits in with the women’s program, giving enough exercise to stimulate muscular activity and at the same time not straining the individual beyond physical limits. The greater the skill of the player, the harder she will play and therefore the more she will benefit from the activity. Likewise, if an individual is not too skilled, she will try her best but she need not exhaust herself to keep up with the better players. The game can be enjoyed even with mixed playing ability.
| Adults playing volleyball in Los Angeles, 1944.
Volley ball calls into play all the muscles of the body because it stresses jumping, stretching, bending, shifting from side to side, etc. Therefore, it helps in the all-round muscular development of the individual. Good playing requires perfect timing, and co-ordination of body-movement in the air, and quick actions and good judgement; all of which are essential elements in building of physical fitness.
Since in volley ball the opponent is on the other side of the net, there is little chance of bodily contacts. Thus, the chance for injury is less than in most major team sports. This is an important factor in women’s athletics and especially in war time when all measures to prevent unnecessary illness are foremost in our minds.
Volley ball teaches the use of strategy, teaches team members to work in co-operation with one another, and teaches players to win and lose fairly. These qualities are important in a democracy and they are the qualities that we Americans are fighting to preserve.
Volley ball is a game for all – young and old, weak and strong, experienced or inexperienced. It doesn’t take long to learn to play with some success. Each player is constantly aware of the game as each one has a good chance of participation. Through the method of rotation each player has an opportunity to play each position. Volley ball is an inexpensive game as the initial outlay of material is not much and the upkeep of the court and equipment is very little. In war time we must conserve all our properties and use only that which is necessary to keep the American people happy and contented.
Volley ball is a sport which can be used to build up morale, and to keep people physically fit.
Volley ball should play an important role in our recreational program. Do your part to keep women fit and include volley ball in your program.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN 1943…
| Volleyball game at an Army basic training center, 1944.
- Volleyball was two words
- Franklin D. Roosevelt is president, in his third term
- Average cost for a house $8,000
- Average household income $2,500
- Minimum wage $0.30 cents /hour
- Postage stamp $0.03 cents
- Average car cost $1,100
- Gasoline $0.19 cents/gallon
- The Pentagon office building was just completed, the biggest office building in the country
- Rationing due to WWII included canned food, meat, cheese, butter and cooking oils
- Due to shortages in copper, the penny is struck in steel
- Frank Sinatra made his debut on the radio
- The play Oklahoma! is debuted on Broadway
- Actor Christopher Walken is born
- Rutgers University creates the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis
- 225 of 1942’s 400 major leaguer athletes enlist into the military