11,820 Ponytails

It’s not easy being a great girl volleyball player. Wake up, apply acne-preventing face wash, dance with your friends to generic bubblegum pop music, catch a rerun of The Wizards of Waverly Place, chant to your Jonas Brothers poster for a few minutes, txt ur buds, and then gather up your kneepads of destiny and scrunchies of doom. It’s sort of like Bloodsport if you replace the blood with glitter. CHONG LI! It’s the 2009 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior Olympic Championship at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Don’t be mistaken by the ages of the girls on the 788 teams. The young ladies in the 12-and-under division will make you cry for your Teddy Ruxpin, and the setters of the 18-and-under teams are so intense their fingertips could be weapons. And this is no small-time deal. Championships in the Open, American, and National divisions are on the line. So grab your lip gloss, US Weekly, and defibrillator — someone is going to choke on a spike with a glitter comet trail. Tuesday’s games are at noon, 2, 4, and 6 p.m. The competition runs through July 5. Tickets cost $12 a day or $45 for a tournament pass.
June 26-July 5, 2009
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Dave Landsberger