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Volleyball is a sport that I never connected with, probably because of my introduction decades ago in elementary school. Half of the physical education class was stationed on each side of the net and I never was able to touch the ball. So obviously I had no feel for the game. However, after watching girls play volleyball the past few years, I have a new appreciation for the sport.The all-classification Colorado State High School Volleyball Championships will be Nov. 10-11 at the Denver Coliseum and it will provide a chance for fans to watch some remarkable athletes.It appears that more girls are being drawn to volleyball instead of basketball. According to National Federation of State High School Associations national participation figures from 2016-17, there were 444,779 volleyball players compared to 430,368 basketball players.In Colorado, there were 9,446 volleyball participants with 7,082 volleyball athletes. Several area high school coaches offered opinions about the participation spike of girls volleyball, and topping the reasons was the idea that the game is more fun.Also volleyball is less physical than basketball and involves less running. The growth of club teams initiating youngsters to the game has spurred interest. Plus volleyball can be played on three courts hardwood, sand and grass.One thing for sure, there will be plenty of excitement and cheering from players on the court at the state tournament.There will definitely be some taller girls and some shorter, but most have the quickness, vertical leaping ability, agility and mental toughness to play.One warning for those watching matches for the first time. Don’t head to the concession stands during a set that might appear to be lopsided or over. Momentum swings in volleyball happen as fast as one can change the television channel with the remote control. A five-point run by one team can be countered by a seven-point run by the opposition.Everybody enjoys watching the spikes of attackers, the accurate passes of a setter and the acrobatic digs on defense, but serves and serve receiving are two of the most important and sometimes overlooked parts of the game.And there is also strategy involved in volleyball, but I’ll save comments of that for another day after I watch a few more matches and learn more.Winter is hereSeems like it was just yesterday looking over prognoses for the upcoming football, softball, volleyball and boys soccer and tennis seasons, but time never seems to slow down.Now, all winter sports can officially start practice Nov. 10 and the first games/meets can be held Nov. 29.Championship SaturdayIt might be a little premature if fans are following just one team, but for all those who just like to watch high school football, tickets can now be purchased for the CHSAA Championship Saturday, which features the Class 4A and 5A state championship football games at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.Championship Saturday XIII, presented by the CHSAA, Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the Denver Broncos, is set for Dec. 2 with the 4A game starting at 11 a.m. followed at 2:30 p.m. by the 5A title contest.Ticket price is $15 for all attendees and seating is general admission. To avoid long lines on game day, fans are encouraged to purchase tickets at Sports Authority Field at Mile High or by calling TicketMaster at 800-745-3000.Oh yeah, game-day suites are available for $850 and can be reserved by calling 720-258-3333.Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-566-4083.
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