OaklandNorth: Oakland Mongolians find fellowship on the volleyball court, October 18, 2011


Just after six one Tuesday evening at an aircraft hanger-turned sports complex at the old Alameda Naval Air Station, a single volleyball court swells with Asian immigrants in shorts and athletic shoes: teenagers, middle-aged men, young mothers bouncing infants on their knees. They fill a couple rows of sideline bleachers with purses, jackets and backpacks before the players start stretching and running sprints alongside the net. When some balls are introduced to the mix, the players start to run drills. A few of the men are surprisingly good, jumping high, hitting the balls with just the right timing. The best in this group played in middle and high school in their home country, where volleyball is something of a national pastime, valued in part because it can be played indoors in a place where the weather is fierce.