We knew only two things as we headed to the newly armed field in Surco for the International Footvolley Tournament (March 7-8): that it was going to be a resplendent, warm morning, and that for this particular volley sport, the players would use their feet.
Footvolley is an emerging sport barely known in Peru. As you probably guessed, this sport is a combination of beach volleyball with the rules and ball used in soccer, or football. It originated in Brazil in the 1960s and is very popular in the Atlantic coast of South America and in some European countries.
We were definitely intrigued to witness the sport live, especially with the personal invitation from Giusseppe Mayorga, a top-level Peruvian athlete and founder of Footvolley Peru.
Mayorga is a professional footvolley player. A man in his thirties, with gentle expressions and welcoming approach, who has done everything in his power to build and strengthen footvolley as a sport and discipline in Peru.
We found a very well-established court and boxes that Mayorga achieved to build convincing local businesses to help the league on this International Footvolley Tournament. Neighboring families came together and spent at least half their day watching the competitive matches and applauding the athletes.
Five South American countries participated in the tournament in addition to Peru: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. As Mayorga said, “for them this is fun, passion and sport; but, for the Peruvian team, it’s our first time to face an international experience. This is deeply meaningful to the team. We need this exposure.”
This is true to the point that the Peruvian team showed a very appropriate contentment and admiration for the internationals. It would be wrong to minimize how awesome Argentina and Uruguay played; they surely put up a first-class show.
Colombia brought the fun to the game with their festive attitude until the very end. Even if you are the least athletic person, you could smell the passion, the joy, the amicability and the respect that sports and only sports could generate.
There was a beautiful synergy generated from the interaction of competitors, and it was a pleasant surprise. When a human, regardless of the land of origin, focuses his motivation, works hard and channels his actions, the community benefits and wonderful things happen.
All photos: Maria Alejandra Baraybar
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