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More than 700 people play in MUDD Volleyball Tournament

July 20, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Swats Team captin Jennifer Swatsworth, left, and Amy Gyurisim both of Hagerstown play in the 2013 MUDD Volleyball Tournament Saturday in Hagerstown benefiting the Community Free Clinic.
By Colleen McGrath / Staff Photographer

The pits are about 1 1/2 feet deep. They are covered in 6 inches of topsoil, then filled with water.

The teams have 12 players. They arrive dressed in T-shirts and shorts. They bump, spike, slide, splash and leave drenched in thick, pasty mud.

This fundraising recipe has been a 14-year jackpot known as the MUDD Volleyball Tournament to benefit the Community Free Clinic of Washington County.

The annual event oozed and splashed around again Saturday behind Citi’s Family Center north of Hagerstown.

More than 700 people played in the daylong tournament, said Robin Roberson, the clinic’s executive director. Based on past years, she expected it to raise around $40,000. The money will go directly to patient care and to help cover medical, prescription and lab services to uninsured and underinsured people in Washington County.

Players came from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as a few far-flung states, Roberson said. They represented nonprofit organizations, businesses and individual teams. Some chose to play recreationally, while others opted for competitive brackets. Registration cost $350 per team.

“I think the reason people follow this event and why it’s so popular is because there is really nothing else like it around, so people tend to play year after year after year,” Roberson said.

To prevent their shoes from being sucked off in the mud, most players used duct tape to attach them to their feet.

Jeremy Shelly, 26, of Chambersburg, Pa., protected his eyes from the splashing mud by cutting off his shirt sleeves and crafting a band with eyeholes to tie around his sunglasses.

“He gets more elaborate every year,” said Jeremy’s brother, Justin Shelly, 31, also of Chambersburg.

Justin said the event falls on his birthday weekend each year.

“This is the best bet in Washington County,” he said. “It’s fun, it’s for charity, it’s amazing.”

Paul Spencer, 38, of Mercersburg, Pa., also said the event was a good time.

“I like volleyball. In the mud is even better,” he said. “I bring my kids along so they can play in the mud and enjoy themselves.”

Barb Leatherman, a receptionist at the clinic, got into the spirit of the games, dressing all in orange as an offbeat cheerleader. Her garb included a headband with feather antennae, beads, a tutu and pompoms.

“On a day like today, when it’s really hot, the mud is, like, awesome,” Leatherman said. “It cools you off and, I don’t know, it’s just fun to get dirty.”

Cody Clopper, 26, of Chambersburg played on the Mud, Sweat and Beers team.

“It’s great. It’s like a water park for adults, just sliding around having a good time,” he said.

Some players opted to rinse off after their games in temporary outdoor showers set up on the grounds.

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