HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WZDX) - These days, it isn't unusual to hear of young girls playing on boys teams, but you don't always hear of boys joining a girls team. However, that isn't stopping nine-year-old Tate Colebaugh. Tate plays on the 12 and under girls team of the Rocket City Volleyball Club.
Tate was born to play volleyball. His father has played for 25 years and his older sister plays as well.
"I went out in the back yard with my sister and I started practicing with it and she helped me learn how to do it," says Tate.
Eventually, Tate wanted to play on a team. However, there was one problem; there weren't any boys volleyball teams for Tate to join. So, he decided to play with the girls.
Tate is the only boy playing club volleyball in the Tennessee Valley. His coach Korohen Jones says it hasn't been easy.
"Almost every tournament we went to I had to have verification that yes, he really can play," says Jones.
Olympic silver medalist and Rocket City Volleyball Club owner Rose Magers-Powell adds, "even if he plays with the girls he can't play in a qualifying tournament with the girls."
That means if his team wants to go to a national tournament, it will have to be without Tate. And that's not all. According to the rule book, Tate can only play on a girls team until he is 12. After that, he must join a boys team and there simply aren't any for him to join. Tate, however, is on a mission to change that
"I think it's really cool that I'm the first boy and I can encourage other boys to play," he says.
Tate's father, James Colebaugh, says he loves knowing his son has the chance to make an impact on Tennessee Valley sports. "We're trying to get more boys involved that would share his passion for the sport to really continue to grow boys volleyball in Huntsville," he says.
Tate Colebaugh is paving the way for tons of young athletes. He wants to start the first boys volleyball team in the Tennessee Valley. For more information on how to join Tate in his mission, log onto Rocket City Volleyball Club's website at RCVC.net. They can also be reached at 256-457-9268