The laws of evolution also affect sports competitions: they are born, some reproduce and evolve, and others are extinguished. The latter is by no means the case of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) beach volleyball tournament.
The pre-registration for the 19th edition of the PRBB Beach Volleyball Championship opens on March 9, and the championship will take place from March 30 to July 24; a championship born in 2002 – even before the PRBB, which was inaugurated on May 2006 – and that has been evolving since then.
We talk to three people who represent the beginnings, the present, and the future of the championship.
The pre-registration for the 19th edition of the PRBB Beach Volleyball Championship opens on March 9
BEGINNINGS: Jordi Minguillón
Can you give us a quick overview of the championship history?
Magano, from the Genetics Laboratory at the Departament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (DCEXS-UPF), organized the first championship in 2002 and when he left in 2003, the members of the immunology group at UPF took over. In the first edition, very informal, we were only 5 6×6 teams. From 2004 on, we set stricter rules and created a regular league and play-offs, and in the following editions, the number of participants grew until in 2008 we were 32 teams, 4 leagues (6×6 and 4×4 divided each in the “cracks”, “quasi-cracks”, “quasi-que-no” and “disaster”) and 4 play-offs.
At first, we were just people from UPF and the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM), but with the move of the research groups to the PRBB building in 2007, the championship was open to people from all centers in the park. In addition to the quantitative change, I would like to point out the qualitative leap of the championship when we moved to the PRBB. The management of the PRBB decided to give us support, contributing with resources and setting up the well-known final party in the inner square. Without this support, the tournament would not exist as we know it.
What has been your role in the championship during these years?
From 2003 to 2006, I coordinated the championship with the great help of Alberto Moldón (ex-UPF), Mari Carmen Ortells (ex-UPF) and Vanessa Ivory (ex-IMIM). Since 2008, when I read my PhD dissertation and left the PRBB, I am no longer directly involved in the organization. However, I kept playing until 2017, when I did it on three teams (2×2, 4×4 and 6×6) – and I know I am not the only one! I have not been able to play since then due to an injury.
Tell us what this championship means to you.
For me, doing a PhD at the UPF/PRBB could not be understood without the volleyball championship. For those of us who have trained here and who love research and sports, the volleyball tournament has been one of the best things that ever happened to us. Keep in mind that being a PhD student or a post-doc is a very demanding job, so the tournament has been one of the best ways to release stress and keep us motivated!
On the social side, there was no better way to get to know all the people at the PRBB: from technicians to group leaders from the different centers, we all met on the field! I even know several couples that stemmed from their “love to volleyball”! In the end, winning or losing, playing or watching, what remains is a bond between those who are there and with the institution, a feeling that I would elevate to the quality of privilege.
“Being a PhD student or a post-doc is a very demanding job, so the tournament has been one of the best ways to release stress and keep us motivated!”
PRESENT: Anna Almor
When did you get involved in the championship?
In 2009, I started working as a UPF Laboratory Technician in the teaching building (next to the PRBB) and immediately we created a team to play the 2010 edition. By 2014, I was working as a genotyping technician in the UPF Immunology Unit, where there was a lot of passion for volleyball. This is where Jordi Minguillón, Mari Carmen Ortells and Giulia Lunazzi, all of them members of La ORG, did their PhDs. When I joined La ORG it was formed by Romilde Manzoni, Jürgen Mayer, David Piedra, Francesc Leiva and Mariana Lopez or, as I call her, Mariana “Power”. She taught me everything!
What does being in La ORG mean?
We distribute tasks according to our skills. However, 2016 was a tough year: I was pretty much alone. One of my best friends offered to help me… poor him, he did not know where he was getting into! He did a new website and incorporated improvements such as automatic ranking, calendar availability, etc.
What other improvements have you introduced to the championship?
We created a new 2×2 category due to popular demand, thanks to Angela Ramirez and Valerio Di Carlo. Other improvements are: more special awards; a contest on social media organized by Marc Talló; a referee in every final game; the legendary photocall of the party; comprehensive and systematic control of the material; modifications to the regulations … and penalties for the offending teams!
What does the PRBB volleyball tournament mean to you?
The PRBB tournament has given me a lot: it has allowed me to discover a great sport and given the opportunity to meet many people, that I would never have known otherwise, who also love this sport and science.I have also greatly improved my political and organizing skills – it is not easy to organise a tournament with more than 400 games per season, from pre-registrations in February to the final party in July, as well as dealing with the people, the rules, etc.!I leave La ORG with sadness, but happy to know that the people who stay are fabulous. And I will gladly continue to work as an external consultant, as Mariana did when she left!
“The PRBB tournament has allowed me to discover a great sport and to meet many people, as well as greatly improve my political and organizing skills”
FUTURE: Davide Cutuli
You just made your debut in the PRBB and in the tournament.
Exactly! I am Italian, I am 25 years old and I landed at the PRBB in January 2019 to do my masters internship in the group of Francesc Calafell, at IBE, for 6 months. When I arrived, my lab colleagues asked me if I wanted to join their 6×6 team and I accepted immediately. In Italy, I have played volley since I was 14.
What are your impressions after playing the entire tournament?
I think it is an ideal way to socialize and meet people, especially in an environment as mobile as science, where there are constantly new people in the building; it is a great way to become a part of the PRBB community! The atmosphere on the beach is very relaxed and even when the level and tension of the matches rises, the people remain mostly friendly and with a good attitude!
The PRBB beach volleyball championship is an ideal way to socialize and meet people, especially in an environment as mobile as science, where there are constantly new people in the building; it is a great way to become a part of the PRBB community!
Would you like to participate again?
If I ever return to work to Barcelona, which is totally within my plans, I sure will! Right now, I am finishing my masters in Italy and I am still friends with many PRBB people I met while playing on the beach.I think it would be great if the PRBB continues to allocate resources to the championship, especially given the large number of participants it has. It is an incredible tool that helps create team bonds (both sports and work) and contributes a lot to create a positive work environment.