Twice a week students walking by the lawn between The Randall and Sadie Baskin Center and freshman dorms are treated to the sight of people, in groups of four, huddled around a mini trampoline to play a game called Spikeball.
But what’s Spikeball?
It’s a 2 vs. 2 game that combines the rules of volleyball and four square as players use a mini trampoline or net to bat a kid-sized volleyball back and forth.
The players on the lawn are part of Belmont’s Spikeball Club, which is part of the larger organization of Nashville Spikeball League.
More experienced players of the group are preparing for the 2013 Spike-A-Palooza tournament hosted by Nashville Spikeball League. The tournament will take place downtown at Elmington Park this Saturday, starting at 11 a.m.
“Tournaments are a neat opportunity to experience the competition outside your normal sphere of play,” said Joel Graham, a junior and resident assistant in Pembroke Hall. “It’s always nice to see some different styles of play and to get to know more people in the Spikeball community.”
This particular tournament is a national one and teams are coming from all over the U.S. to play.
“There’s already 45 teams registered. People are coming from California and Chicago and Texas to come and play together,” said junior Scott Wilson, another Pembroke RA. “It’s probably going to be the most competitive tournament there has been, and it’s awesome that it’s happening right here in Nashville.”
Spikeball’s rules are simple. Just like volleyball, you have three chances, or hits, to get the ball on the trampoline. If the ball hits the ground, then it’s dead and the team who did not have possession gets the point and the next serve.
Players can also move wherever they want during the game since there are no set boundaries.
The first team to reach 21 points wins the set, according to Graham and Wilson. Match winners are determined by the best-of-three sets.
Both Graham and Wilson have been playing Spikeball since freshman year.
“My RA had a Spikeball set and we were just messing around with it, passing the ball around,” Wilson said. “I was hooked right away. It just seems to reel people in like that.”
For Graham, the ever-changing gameplay is what keeps him interested.
“I enjoy the unique nature of each play,” Graham said. “A lot of sports have a tendency to get old, but each point, each rally is very unique in Spikeball. And while it is extremely competitive, I still see opponents cheering and clapping for a good play, even if the point is scored on them, just because it was a neat score.”
Graham and Wilson are also ambassadors for Spikeball Inc., a company which manufactures and sells the game Spikeball. Their responsibilities as ambassadors includes regularly playing and promoting the game.
“The whole goal is creating awareness and getting people involved in the game. We try to have as much marketing as possible,” Wilson said. “A lot of that is guerilla marketing and word-of-mouth. All of the tasks and goals are oriented towards having a presence.”
– Sam Cowan