In Fall 2009, John Chen was invited by a group of sports-loving friends to attend a Cal Bears NCAA Women's Volleyball Match at UC Berkeley. John himself was an avid athlete and collegiate sports fan as an alumni of UCLA. At the match, John met Adam, who previously played volleyball at the University of Minnesota and had previously been part of recreational bear volleyball team in Minneapolis called the "Volleybears." The two talked about how much fun it would be to start up a "bear" volleyball team in San Francisco, but they had no idea if they would be able to get enough guys that were interested and serious about playing.
In July 2010, John asked Adam about setting up a volleyball net at the very first Bears in the Park Picnic in San Francisco. They set up the net and people loved it! They were able to recruit a few guys who were interested in playing on a regular basis. Shortly after the picnic, John met Tonio at a birthday party, who also expressed interest in forming a group. In August 2010, John, Adam, and Tonio got a few other guys to join them in Moscone Park, where they set up a net and had their first official practice. The Balls of Furry was officially formed! Our first goal was to compete in a NAGVA (North American Gay Volleyball Association) tournament, the Nor Cal Classic in San Jose, in February 2011. That first team consisted of: Adam, Tonio, Cory, Joe, Matt, Patrick, and Phillip, with John as Coach.
More and more volleyball playing bears, friends, and fans continued to join, expanding our team into an entire volleyball group. We continued to have a presence at the Bears in the Park Picnics, as well as other events in the Bay Area, including hosting a fun grass tournament at Lazy Bear Weekend. Over the years, we have hosted clinics at our practices to help both beginners and advanced players improve their skills. We mainly cater to those who want to be competitive and play in NAGVA (and other) tournaments on one of our many teams, but we also strive to encourage new and beginning players to play with us--whether they want to learn to play at the competitive level, or just play for fun. Sine that first tournament in 2011, Balls of Furry has competed in NAGVA Tournaments in 18 different cities, and our members plan and host annual tournaments in San Jose, Honolulu, and our own San Francisco Red, White & Blue Ball every 4th of July weekend.
Outside of playing, the Balls of Furry Volleyball Group has become a wonderful social outlet. We've held several successful fundraisers, which have allowed us to raise thousands of dollars to help us with tournament costs and event expenses. Fans look forward to our famous Jell-O shots at our fundraisers, our great photos on our Facebook group page, and our End of Season Party. Many members and fans have become close friends and have a great time together, whether it is playing volleyball or not. We hope that you will consider playing with the Balls of Furry!