Last week the 2023 Veteran Volleyball Tournament in Iceland brought together participants from all over the country to the towns of Akureyri and Husavik, which are close to the northernmost circle of latitude that marks the Arctic circle, renowned for its midnight sun. With 153 volleyball teams participating. It was necessary to split this year’s tournament between the town of Húsavik and the northern capital Akureyri, making it a joint endeavour for the rival clubs in Iceland’s north, KA Akureyri and Völsungur from Húsavík, that regularly compete at Iceland’s premier division level. No surprise, given the competition required 18 courts, 4 sports halls and hundreds of matches to complete this three-day event between April 27th through 30th and a Gala evening at the end of it.
This tournament is part of an ongoing adventure for many participants, and volleyball is one of the everyday aspects that generate passion and teamwork among towns, clubs, and hundreds of volunteers who keep ahead of the game to prepare for a big economic activity yearly. For M.D. Fridrik Vagn Jónsson, who has been an active player in the past and participant in this tournament since 1979 now at the age of 73 years, there is no end to the drive to play among friends. It’s a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that keeps the energy continuing after regular division volleyball or newcomers at later ages. Volleyball is undoubtedly a way of life for many individuals. It is a serious business as teams play in divisions and they move up and down according to results, and everyone wants to play among the best and that means training through the winter for this unique Veteran Championship.
Aside from that, the tournament generates significant revenue for the up-and-coming volleyball players and the organizing clubs that invest it back into the sport, and the veteran movement contributes to the BLI – National Volleyball Federations’ operations through donations to a special fund that has one single goal. To assist the young national players who are dispersed around Iceland’s big island. It serves as an example of how the sport may evolve organically via its own initiatives.