Too many people were unaware, but Shreveport-Bossier hosted two world-class sporting events last week. Unfortunately, local coverage of both events was sparse (there were stories every day on both in The Journal).
When the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team played on U.S. soil for the first time since winning its first gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, that soil just happened to be under the Brookshire Grocery Arena in Bossier City. The 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) preliminary round was held last week in just two sites in the world – Ankara, Turkey, and Bossier City.
Two sites in the whole wide world.
And how many people came out to support this event – that included a rematch of the USA-Brazil gold medal game on Saturday night? I’ll tell you exactly how many (and the world ranking of each team):
No. 11 Germany vs. No. 2 Brazil: attendance 250
No. 1 USA vs. No. 7 Dominican Republic: 394
No. 12 Poland vs. No. No. 18 Canada: 111
No. 14 Korea vs. No. 9 Japan: 201
No. 2 Brazil vs. No. 12 Poland: 105
No. 11 Germany vs. No. 9 Japan: 206
No. 18 Canada vs. No. 7 Dominican Republic: 235
No. 11 Germany vs. No. 14 Korea: 311
No. 7 Dominican Republic vs. No. 2 Brazil: 625
No. 1 USA vs. No. 18 Canada: 1,002
No. 14 Korea vs. No. 12 Poland: 625
No. 7 Dominican Republic vs. No. 9 Japan: 985
No. 1 USA vs. No. 2 Brazil: 1,545
No. 12 Poland vs. No. 11 Germany: 355
No. 1 USA vs. No. 9 Japan: 702
No. 14 Korea vs. No. 18 Canada: 680
If you do the math, that’s 8,332 spectators at 16 games, which averages to 521 fans per game.
That’s how many people showed up to see the world’s best women volleyball players (excluding the ones competing in Ankara at the same time). And the U.S. Women’s team is coached by the best to ever play men’s volleyball: Karch Kiraly.
“This place brings back great memories,” Kiraly said following the Americans’ first match Tuesday night. “There are so many nice people here. We got great support here before (in 2019) and we enjoy playing in front of the people in Shreveport and Bossier.”
That’s right – this is the second time the FIVB VNL has held its preliminary tournament in Bossier City.
If USA Volleyball decides to host this event in our area again, two things must happen: more people need to come out to support the tournament, and local media has to do a better job of covering it.
Although tournament officials were encouraged by the number of people who came out to Querbes Park Golf Course to watch the American Junior Golf Association’s Shreveport Open Tournament, there should have been many more spectators at the event on what is considered the premier tour for the top junior golfers in the world.
“This (the AJGA) is the PGA Tour for junior golf,” said Querbes pro Nathan Barrow. “To have this tournament here is a testament to this area.”
Golfers between the ages of 12-19 are eligible to play on the junior tour, which “is dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive golf.”
Members from around the United States and nearly 70 world countries compete on the tour that is considered by many in the golf industry to be the premier junior golf association in the world.
In addition to winning multiple NCAA championships, AJGA alumni have also found success on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Just a few of those include Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, David Toms, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Morgan Pressel, Jessica Korda, Cristie Kerr, and Lorena Ochoa.
This week’s event, which marked the seventh year the AJGA has held its tournament in Shreveport, included 78 players representing two countries and 13 states. If you got out to watch last week’s competition, you probably saw some juniors whose names will be included with those in the previous paragraph. If you didn’t, you missed out.