BumpSetDrink Volleyball League History



Where we started

How in the world did we end up with a volleyball league named Bump Set Drink?  It’s quite a story and has been a long and exciting ride.
The Bump Set Drink Volleyball League started life as the IBM Company Volleyball League.  IBM was (and still is) a large employer in Montgomery County, MD.  Back before 1994, IBM had large sites in several Maryland locations – Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Bethesda being the largest – as well as other sites throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area (WMA).  IBM ran many company sports leagues through their Watson Trophy program, including the volleyball league based out of the Corner Kick Pub and Sports Facility in Gaithersburg, MD. 

The policy of the IBM Company leagues was fair play for all – all players played all games on a rotational basis to ensure equal time for all.  Anyone who wanted to play was able to do so, as the league offered all skill levels.  Teams were drafted each season from a draft pool of registered players, starting with the highest leagues and continuing until all players were selected for a team.  The league was available to IBM employees and their spouses (and a few older children).

By the late 1980’s, the league was offering 5 levels of play:  A, B, C, D, and E.  These levels ranged from highly skilled (A) to beginner (E).  In most (if not all) seasons, the league was fully engaged, with 8 teams in each of the 5 divisions (for 40 teams, 320 players).

The league was run by the IBM Club, with a league director named each season to manage the drafts and league details.  Several current members of Bump Set Drink Volleyball did stints as league directors in those days.

The award for winning an IBM company league was called the “Watson Trophy” and was presented at a dinner party known as the Watson Trophy Banquet.  Watson Trophies weren’t trophies – they ranged from jackets to gym bags to blankets and were much coveted by members of the IBM community.

The Venue

How to best describe the Corner Kick?  For the playing field, picture a large Quonset hut with dividing 3-foot walls (with netting from the walls to the ceiling) creating two indoor soccer fields.  Now divide each soccer field into two volleyball courts using a floor to ceiling netting across the middle.  Cover it all with worn out Astroturf laid directly over hard concrete and you are about there!  It was definitely different from anything else you’ve ever seen…and for those of us who spent many hours there, quite the memory!

Looking down on the playing field from the second floor was an English Pub with one wall consisting almost entirely of plexiglass windows, to best afford the view of the fields.  The bar offered beer, wine, wine coolers, and food (who can ever forget the toasties, loaded cheese fries, wings, and Southwestern Ranch Chicken subs?).

The Day It All Changed

In late 1993, IBM announced its plan to sell its Federal Systems Division to the Loral Corporation in early 1994.  This effectively split the IBM Company league down the middle – approximately half the members would remain with IBM, the rest would be sold to Loral.  In anticipation that neither company would continue to support a joint league, two active league members (Dale Kawamura and Andrea Stump, who were going to be with IBM and Loral, respectively) started negotiating with Mid-Atlantic Volleyball (the most active area volleyball association) to sponsor a new, independent league formed from the IBM Company league.  Negotiations were successful and the league continued seamlessly, with Dale as League Director and Andrea as his assistant, under the new label of “IBM/Loral League”.

This continued until early 1996, when Loral made the decision to sell the bulk of its business to the Lockheed Martin Corporation.  By now, the league directors were old hands at this, so the league continued without pause under the title “IBM/LM League”.

The Contest for a New Name

In the late 90’s, the decision was made to drop the IBM and LM references in the league title.  Since the league was not sponsored in any way by either company, it was felt that the league deserved its own name.  A contest was held for a new name – and the winning name combined the volleyball (bump, set) with the social aspects of a league held in a venue with a bar overlooking the courts (drink), melding the concepts well.  Kudos to continuing league member Bill Epstein for winning bragging rights on the league name (as well as some pez and pocket lint!).

Changing of the Guard

During the Fall 1999 season, Dale Kawamura decided to retire as the League Director for BSD Volleyball and focus on coaching his kids.  Andrea Stump took over as league director.  Quickly realizing this was a lot of work for one person, she soon partnered with Dee Weiss to form the team that still runs the league today.  Together with a fantastic set of division commissioners (who have changed some over the years and who have all done great work), the league continues to run smoothly today.

The Corner Kick Closes

The next big change for the BSD league was the sudden closure of the Corner Kick in January 2002.  In 2001, the building housing the Corner Kick was sold to Fitzgerald Auto Mall (whose showroom is located about a mile from the Kick), who started using the back parking lot as a storage area for unsold vehicles.  Many were suspicious that this was the writing on the wall (having new unsold cars in the parking lot of a bar doesn’t sound like the greatest idea), but things continue at the status quo for a while.  Then the ball dropped – during preparations for the Spring 2002 season, the league directors were notified of the immediate closure of the Corner Kick.  It was a sad day for all who called the Corner Kick home many nights of the week.  As one of the league directors played in the last game (soccer, in this case) ever played at the Corner Kick, it hit very close to home.  However, with the flexible spirit of the BSD league, the league directors quickly negotiated with the Discovery Center on the grounds of the Maryland Soccerplex to rent Thursday night court space, so the Spring 2002 season started on schedule.

Just for the record, Fitzgerald Auto Mall still calls the building housing their parts supply warehouse “The Corner Kick”. 

Bump, Set, Drink, Inc. is formed

In late 2006, Mid-Atlantic Volleyball and the league directors of BSD held discussions resulting in the decision to part ways.  MAV had sponsored BSD for more than 10 years, saving the league when the companies split, and for that we are very grateful. 

Long-time members of the BSD league knew that the league was too good to let die, so the decision was made to form a company and run as an independent league.  Thus was formed the Bump, Set, Drink, Inc. corporation, with board members Andrea Stump (President), Dee Weiss (VP, Secretary, Treasurer), John Gillick, Jack Griffith, Steve Truland, and Bob Weiss.  With two seasons under their belts (as of this writing), the league has continued seamlessly and continues to thrive.

In closing, what are we all about?

The prime goal of the Bump Set Drink Volleyball League is to provide a social and enjoyable volleyball experience for players of all skill levels.  We continue to use the draft system established by IBM to ensure league parity and also a new and different experience for players each season.  The league also continues to use the rotational lineup system that allows all players to play every game in an equal and fair manner.  No player is preferred, none is forgotten.

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