USA volleyball superfan focus of Olympic Channel story


Lausanne, Switzerland, May 12, 2017 - For Matt Garthoff, volleyball is a passion. Especially when it involves American teams.

The Long Beach, California resident may be the most recognizable fan at matches in the United States. With his “George Washington” costume of a colonial-style jacket and three-pointed hat, he’s easy to spot, whether at matches involving the USA’s indoor national teams or at major beach events such as the World Series of Beach Volleyball. His passion is infectious, as fans around him can’t help but to cheer louder for the USA as he becomes the team’s biggest cheerleader. It’s also a major change from the quiet, humorous family man in Garthoff’s “regular life”.

The Olympic Channel followed Garthoff as he got ready for the 2016 Vol-B-Que as part of their “Groupies” series on passionate sports fans, co-produced with Vice. A crew was with him at home, with the USA women’s national team players, in the stands for the USA’s World Grand Prix match with Japan and on the court as he got to show off his dance moves.

Watch the video as Garthoff gets the Vol-B-Que going, talks with national team players, and then changes into the Patriot, America’s most passionate volleyball fan!

Garthoff’s volleyball passion goes beyond just being a fan. His love of the sport, and the wanting to promote volleyball to a wider audience, led him to create the yearly Vol-B-Que, which takes place before big national team matches. It has become one of the biggest events on the USA volleyball calendar.

What is a Vol-B-Que? It’s a part of the American sports tradition of tailgating, where fans show up hours before a game to eat, play games and hang out with other fans who share their passions. Tailgating can happen in a stadium parking lot or in a large grassy area, much like the setting in Long Beach.

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Garthoff is the driving force behind the Vol-B-Que, which has been held for the last five years. Recently, it has coincided with USA national team matches at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, and in 2016, for the first time, the Vol-B-Que preceded an FIVB World Grand Prix match day. It has become a fun part of the American volleyball calendar, practically a tradition. He, his family and a large group of volunteers work to make sure of its success, and big names like USA women’s national team coach Karch Kiraly will stop by to talk with fans and hang out for a bit.


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