Snow volleyball opens new horizons for Germany’s deaf beach volleyball team

 

Photo courtesy of DVV / Conny Kurth

Willingen, Germany, March 10, 2019 - Max Pähler and Marko Sudy looked extremely happy after their two matches at the second German Snow Volleyball National Championship in Willingen. Even though Pähler and Sudy, and their extra partner Peter Nogueira Schmid, had to leave the tournament at the end of the group stage, Germany’s deaf  beach volleyball team clearly had fun in the snow.

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Two games, unfortunately no victory, but the joy was great - Max Pähler and Marko Sudy had just gained their first experience in the snow and they looked thrilled.

“It was really fun to play in the snow. At the beginning, we were still unsure because we had never tried snow volleyball before, but it is really a great event,” said Max Pähler, who has to do without his hearing aid on the court and to rely completely on sign language. His partner Marko Sudy, who can only communicate with sign language, was also overwhelmed: “It was a great experience,” was his conclusion.

Max Pähler had the idea of registering for the second German Snow Volleyball Championships in Willingen. “Peter, whom we know very well, played in the same competition last year. At that time, we did not know how to participate. For this year, it was clear that we wanted to be here in any case. I asked Peter if he would like to join in and we just signed up.”

“You really do slip very fast on the snow and need a firm and calm stand to keep the ball reasonably under control. In addition, here in Willingen there was a strong wind, but it was a very interesting experience,” added Marko Sudy.

Communication is one of the biggest hurdles. “I always play without a hearing aid. Here in the snow we have always looked at Peter’s mouth and read his lips. He really tries and does that very well. However, of course, it sometimes comes to misunderstandings, but that is completely normal. Marko and I talk in sign language and try to stay as calm as possible. You just have to be very attentive. If the communication does not work, it becomes very difficult to play,” said Max Pähler with a smile on his face.

If Max Pähler and Marko Sudy are not teaming up on snow, they are active in the hall and on sand. In beach volleyball, they form the deaf national team and have already taken part in several major events, such as World and European Championships as well as the Deaflympics, the Olympic Games for deaf athletes. “This year the German Championship takes place in Mainz, and we will participate. We played together in the European Championship last year in Ukraine and finished in fourth place. The year before we were at the Deaflympics.”

What does the future bring? Their snow volleyball appearance in Willingen may not have been their last in the sport: “We definitely want to play again. It was just so much fun. We enjoyed this tournament very much and absorbed all the experience,” both agreed.