Volleyball teams receive, provide relief during playoffs

Sports can get pretty intense, and sometimes that brings out the worst in people.

For two and a half weeks though, the panhandle sports community has been at its best, helping each other in a variety of ways after Hurricane Michael.

The playoffs continue on Tuesday night. The only reason two of the region's teams, Blountstown and Mosley, have been able to participate is because of assistance they've received within the sport.

The Tigers play at Liberty Tuesday in the 1A region finals. Their gym was destroyed during the storm, so they've played and practiced in the days since at Altha and Freeport.

The acts of kindness from rivals goes beyond hosting matches.

"Freeport fed us and we got to have hot showers for our girls after the volleyball game the other night. That meant way more than winning," Blountstown athletic director Beau Johnson said. "Yeah, winning the district championship was awesome, but those girls got to take a hot shower because a fellow school cared about us. This thing has restored my faith in humanity."

In 6A, Mosley continues its playoff run Tuesday night as well in the region semifinals at Wakulla. Redfern Gym is out of commission for the near future, so the Dolphins have used facilities at South Walton and Rosenwald.

The return to normalcy is possible thanks not only to those schools, but everyone involved on the Mosley side too.

"Usually I run closed practices, but I've opened them up to my parents because my parents need to get away too," head coach Michelle Mask said. "We've got parents that are first responders, teachers, or you have some that work at Tyndall that don't even have jobs anymore. But yet, for a couple of weeks, they want to finish what we started and they come out here and this is just a way to get away."

The aforementioned matches begin at 7 p.m. local time.