When Jorge Valle was 9 years old, he never thought his only hobby was going to lead him to organizing volleyball games, drawing more than 30 people four days a week at Liberty Park.
Valle started playing volleyball when he was very young, despite been born in a macho country where guys playing the sport are labeled as gay. Jorge didn’t give up; he kept playing with the same passion that still describes him.
Moving to the U.S. represented a big opportunity that Valle didn’t waste.
“Gay life was not only going to the bars or getting wasted,” he said. “I wanted to have a group of friends to play volleyball and socialize.”
Valle, along with his friends Henry, Danny and his partner of many years, Ricardo, decided to begin playing at Liberty Park.
“It all started on a sunny Sunday with only four people,” Valle said with a big smile on his face. “Now, up to 30 people come to play with us in the summer.”
What started as just one fun day at the park, has now become a gathering every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. People from many countries, tongues and sexual orientations come together at the park with just one purpose — to play volleyball and stay active.
But volleyball is not just a summer sport for these guys. Winter cold nor snow present an obstacle to their games.
“If it snows, we will go with our shovels and clear the snow,” Ricardo said.
Participants don’t need to be Olympic athletes to have fun. Many of these guys have played in volleyball leagues, but they also welcome those wanting to learn.
“It’s all about having fun and teaching one another,” said Valle.
Passion for this sport will keep these guys playing even in the rain.
“Rain will not kill you, boredom will,” Ricardo said.
After the game, the players run over to Jorge and Ricardo’s home for Mexican “cafecito” (coffee).