HICKS COLUMN: Let the games resume on IOP
This afternoon they'll be playing volleyball on the beach at Isle of Palms.
Dozens of teenage girls will get together and spend a couple of hours on the court, spiking the ball, charging the net — you know, having fun. And no one will stop them.
That's a good thing.
Earlier this week, Prentiss Findlay reported that IOP and Sullivan's Island had shut down a girls' volleyball league for operating without a license.
At first glance, it seemed like a lot of regulatory baloney. Have we gotten to the point that not even kids playing games can escape the long arm of the government?
They didn't have a business license. Didn't have liability insurance.
You know, these kids are going to learn about the suffocating ways of the world soon enough. Did this really have to happen?
Well, yeah. The league was sort of operating illegally, and to an extent on private property. The city wasn't really out of line.
But none of that is the fault of these girls.
Luckily, they won't be the ones to suffer. The games will go on today — thanks to the Windjammer and its manager, Bobby Ross.
A place in the sun
Ross has been at the Windjammer a long time, but he doesn't really fool with the volleyball courts — it's sort of first come, first serve. No pun intended. Really.
But not so long ago, Ross's daughter asked him for $50 to play volleyball at the Windjammer. His bar.
Turns out, Charleston Beach Volleyball and Social Club was using Windjammer nets on the beach for its league. That was just its first problem. The club also didn't have a commercial license to have a business on the beach. The city shut it down.
Ross didn't want the girls to miss out, however. So he has reserved Wednesday afternoons for the teens who used to play in the league, or anyone who wants to show up. It won't be organized, and it won't cost anyone a dime — except Ross, who ordered extra nets so the kids don't have to sit around waiting to play.
“The girls are looking forward to it,” Ross says. “I'm just trying to do the right thing. These girls need a place to play.”
Get yer hot dogs
Folks on the islands are ecstatic with the outcome.
The league was popular, but most understand why the city did what it did. You let one business operate without a license on the beach, and pretty soon every yahoo in the Lowcountry is selling hot dogs and boogie boards out of some moveable shanty. Not a pretty sight.
To the parents' mind, the Windjammer is just being a good neighbor.
“Bobby's generous,” says Julia Tucker, whose daughter plays volleyball. “There's no reason for him to do this except the goodness of his heart. He's trying to make it happen, and I think it's going to result in the best possible thing for the girls.”
So problem solved. The games will go on, and the government won't have any reason to stop them, or reach into anyone's pocket.
Good for the kids, and good for everyone else.
Reach Brian Hicks at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.