The Evolution of Volleyball, according to the Oaqui*

Like Livingston and Stanley, like Crosby and Hope, the Oaqui has/ve wandered far and deep amongst the tributaries of forgotten lore in vain search for the fabled headwaters that gave birth to the game of Volleyball and all that is therein implied.

The earliest recorded trickle of conceptual truisms relating to the game of Volleyball turns out to be a game distantly similar, yet clearly predecessing. The game I/we today call “Jollyball.”

Jollyball, as sketchily depicted in the caverns of the collective consciousness, was a game that apparently involved tossing hot things back and forth across a flaming firepit. Everyone seemed to think it was extremely jolly to watch their fur-clad fellows try to keep from burning themselves. Hence the common name.

Amongst the players, however, the game commonly known as Jollyball became known as Follyball. Apparently, after a few too many people caught fire, the name Follyball was officially adopted, and the game never played again.

This historical vacuum was soon filled by the appearance of Gollyball, a game said to have originated in the fabled villages of the fortunate and festive fisherfolk. Known as the perfect game, Gollyball was instrumental in helping the fun-loving fisherfolk keep their fishingnets dry while encouraging them to develop a necessary dexterity in the handling of both decorative and functional glass ball floats.

Gollyball is to all appearances a predecessor of modern Volleyball, involving both tossing a ball and a net over which to toss. Gollyball is reputedly the first truly spectacular spectator sport. Everyone, and especially the player,s so thoroughly enjoyed watching their beautiful glass balls in flight that they frequently forgot that the objective was to keep them from falling to the ground. More of a performance than a game, there weren’t any teams, really, and the only way players got points was by doing something that made people say “golly.”

As Gollyball grew more entertaining and complex, so too grew the Gollyball players. Decade by decade daring innovators introduced more and more golly-producing feats of athletic prowess, increasing the number of balls, and, in fact, the kinds of balls in play
Eventually, it became so de riguer to play Gollyball with so very many balls that one night the game became literally, as they say, transformed overnight, becoming from that time to the next known as Polyball.

For a while, Polyball was just about the only game in town, especially wherever they had towns. People loved playing Polyball so much that they became jolly even thinking about playing it. And soon there was much jollyness - much actual, head-to-toe, golly-worthy jollyness, and vice versa . Jolly players. Jolly spectators. Jolly things to throw in jolly places. Genuine, joysome jolliness, everywhere.

And then it became called volleyball, and played in a completely different way, with only one ball and a high, straight, tight net, where trained athletes spend the whole game trying to make each other miss.