By Adam Bednar

Photography by Matt Roth

Illustrations by Sam Peet

Rites of Spring

Beach Volleyball Makes Rash Field One of the City's Busiest Public Spaces

Thanks to Baltimore Beach Volleyball, the Inner Harbor courts host between 1,000 and 1,500 people weekly during the spring, summer, and fall.

By Adam Bednar

Good Vibrations

There is fun in the sun at Rash Field.


y April, Rash Field’s beach volleyball courts are already teeming with serves, sets, spikes, and digs out of the sand. By the start of June, when the fireflies appear in the summer night sky, the Inner Harbor’s beach courts rank among the city’s busiest public spaces, thanks in large part to Baltimore Beach Volleyball (BBV).

The 23-year-old organization runs three eight-week sessions of league play—one session each season—during the spring, summer, and fall. Typically, there are matches being played six evenings a week, or every night but Saturday. (On weekends, anyone can go to the courts and play for free through the last weekend in April.)

Baltimore Beach Volleyball founder Todd Webster notes that the league offers free play until May. After that, if someone wants to join as a “drop-in” player, excluding league play games, it costs just $5 to play the entire day.

“I like to tell people I’m like a drug dealer,” Webster says with a laugh. “I’m going to give away the product until I get you hooked.”

Webster estimates Baltimore Beach Volleyball hosts between 1,000 and 1,500 people weekly at Rash Field. The numbers fluctuate depending on the weather, events, and tournaments scheduled.

Among the biggest draws on the court’s 200 tons of sand is BBV’s traditional Fourth of July “Hat Draw” Tournament, with participants encouraged to bring a chair or blanket and stay for the Inner Harbor fireworks. Organizers of the S3 Beach Festival, slated for June 15 and 16 this year, also expect to draw large crowds.

There is a chance that construction of a second phase of improvements at Rash Field could require play to be temporarily displaced later this year or early next year. But so far so good. The Waterfront Partnership, leading the park overhaul with the city, previously said they expect construction on phase two improvements this fall. Webster says he anticipates operating for an entire season and that Baltimore Beach Volleyball holds permits allowing play through October.

“No one has told me anything different from that for this season,” he says.

In other words, game on.


Founded in 2010, Volo Sports has become part of the city's sporting fabric.

By Ron Cassie

olo Sports, which takes its name from the Italian word meaning “to fly,” began as a 16-person bocce league in 2010. Founder Giovanni Marcantoni, who grew up playing the game in Baltimore with his Italian-American family, started the league as a way to have a little fun and make some new friends. Volo has since grown to more than 350,000 participating members in 10 cities.

Marcantoni’s idea and the organization’s purpose has remained pretty simple from the outset. It’s guided by two basic principles: We can’t play sports by ourselves, and by interacting on the field, court, diamond, and pitch, we live a little more fully and develop new friends and a greater sense of community. To that end, the organization launched its Volo Kids Foundation in 2015 as a response to Freddie Gray’s arrest and death from injuries suffered while in police custody. The Volo kids’ leagues are free, with fees from the adult leagues providing coaching, equipment, shirts, and meals for youth participants.


From its humble beginnings, Volo Sports now offers more than a dozen sports in Baltimore—everything from soccer, softball, and flag football to field hockey, kickball, volleyball, and pickleball. There are a ton of men’s, women’s, and coed leagues to choose from on different days of the week—all with various beginner, intermediate, and competitive skill levels. The branded, all-caps VOLO team T-shirts—as any Baltimorean who makes their way around the city’s parks and nearby bars has witnessed—have become ubiquitous in the spring, summer, and fall.

Last fall, Volo Sports announced the opening of Volo Beach at the 235-acre mixed-use Baltimore Peninsula development, the South Baltimore waterfront area formerly known as Port Covington. With 40 acres of park and greenspace and 2.5 miles of recovered waterside property, Volo hopes to attract and serve more players—both adults and kids. Their goal is to increase the city youth enrollment to 10,000 this year, with a focus on kids in neighboring Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mt. Winans, and Westport.

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