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Volleyball mosh helps free clinic

July 20, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN - It was easy to tell the veterans from the rookies.

The veterans didn't mind belly-flopping into a pit of slimy mud.

The rookies wanted to stay upright - a difficult challenge, considering the muddy water was 6 inches deep with zero traction.

Under these conditions, there would be few feats of dexterity.

But Saturday's 2008 Citi MUDD Volleyball Tournament was more about fun than athleticism.

It also was for a good cause. The annual event is a fundraiser for the Community Free Clinic in Hagerstown.

More than 600 people participated in this year's tournament - a record number of players, said Robin Roberson, the clinic's executive director.

The games were played on Hagerstown Regional Airport property behind Citi's day-care center.

The tournament, now in its ninth year, is the clinic's largest fundraiser, Roberson said. Last year, the event raised $30,000 - an amount that organizers were hoping to surpass Saturday.

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Money from the tournament will go directly to patient care, and will help cover prescription medications, lab testing and medical office visits that the clinic provides to uninsured and underinsured residents in Washington County, Roberson said.

Roberson said about 12 businesses sponsored the fundraiser, including Citi, which was the title sponsor.

"We're very grateful for all of their support," she said. "Without sponsors, it would be very difficult to hold this tournament."

Roberson said the event has come a long way from the first year it was held. That year, eight teams participated. This year, 46 teams played on eight mud-filled courts.

"It's an important day for us," Roberson said. "But it's also a day to have a lot of fun."

Heather Baker, 20, of Hagerstown, who played for the Silver Bullet team, said this was her first year participating in the volleyball tournament. Covered in mud from head to toe, Baker said she was glad to help a good cause - "but I didn't realize just how dirty I would get. Still, I'm having a good time.'

This also was Brandi Hovermale's first year as a tournament player. A Citi employee, the Berkeley Springs, W.Va., resident said the day was an experience she never would forget.

"I took a few nosedives, but that's part of the game," she said.

Hovermale said she traveled more than an hour to get to the tournament, "and it was worth it. This is for a very good cause. And being involved in community fundraisers is a big thing at Citi. This was a chance to do something good for others, but also have some fun."

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