More than 500 people gathered in south Charlotte on Sunday to get dirty playing mud volleyball. It’s an annual fundraiser hosted by Habitat Young Professionals for Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte.
Eight years ago, Tim Murphy was turning 30 and he was looking for a fun way to celebrate his birthday. So he hosted a mud volleyball tournament/fundraiser.
"The first time we did this: fourteen teams," Murphy says. "And we figured – ah this is fun. And then, people started asking, 'So, when's the date for next year?' And I was like, 'Next year? Oh well, yeah, sure. I think we could do next year.' And it started rolling."
This year, 75 teams competed in nine mud pits filled with water about a feet deep.
Ian Elliott, playing with his coworkers for team Captech, fell several times during a second round game.
"When you see people out there, you think it might be a solid surface under your feet," Elliott says. "But it's so uneven. Like you pretty much have to pick a location to stand and just hope you're in a good place when the ball comes to you. So yeah, you can't really move around a lot in there."
Each team pays a $200 entry fee and the teams are divided into two categories: Recreational – that's called the Porky Pig - or Competitive – the Boss Hog.
Stephanie Murphy, Director of Youth and Young Adult Engagement with Habitat Charlotte, says it’s not easy.
"It's really funny, because people who are really good volleyball players, they come out and they think they're going to be really good at mud volleyball too," Stephanie Murphy says. "And they realize they can't do their spiking, they can't quite jump like they did because if they do jump, they're probably going down and it's usually a huge splash in the mud. But everybody is just completely filthy at the end of it and usually really happy too."
The event raised $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity's Charlotte chapter.