First spikeball tournament hosted by IWU intramurals

By Farah Bassyouni Nov 18, 2022

Games like cornhole and kan jam dominate the open space at summer barbecues and get-togethers, but there’s been a spike  in participation of a new game at parks, beaches and college quads in recent years — one with a circular net and a yellow rubber ball. 

Spikeball is a fast, volleyball-esque team game, and the first Spikeball Classic Event on campus was hosted by intramural sports on Monday Nov. 14. 

The game involves teams of two, and the object is to hit a rubber ball onto a small trampoline-like net. Like in volleyball, each team gets three hits to return the ball and a point is given when the ball hits the ground. There are no boundaries in Spikeball, which gives players the freedom to move as much, and as far, as their environment allows.  

“I see a lot of people play it on campus, it’s pretty entertaining to watch and it gets really competitive,” Tyrin Sykes said, one of the organizers of the tournament. Sykes works for intramural sports on campus, and said they wanted to do something different from the conventional sporting events they most often organize, like their basketball, volleyball and dodgeball tournaments. 

Spikeball, also known as Roundball or Roundnet, was created in 1989 and has grown in popularity over the last decade. The company that trademarked the name “spikeball” made an appearance on Shark Tank in 2015, and the game has since transcended from a novelty pastime to a competitive team sport. 

The Spikeball Roundnet Association was formed in 2014 to sanction competitive tournaments with amateur and professional divisions, and the first spikeball world championship took place in Belgium this past September. 

Teams volleyed back and forth Monday night in the center court of Shirk Center from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Players fervently spiked the rubber ball inside the 36-inch rim nets and sprinted to save balls that rebounded high over their heads. 

In the end, sophomores Miles Keeton and Zack Overstreet emerged as the inaugural Spikeball Classic champions. 

“I got some good cardio, I like the athleticism required,” Overstreet said while he caught his breath, just moments after he and Keeton sealed the winning point in the closely-contested championship match. 

Both players said long volleys are one of the most exciting aspects of the game — when teams return the ball multiple times, and each return becomes increasingly difficult to pop back in the air and send back. 

“I like how there’s no out of bounds, no matter where the ball goes you have to keep playing,” Keeton said. 

Keeton played a lot of spikeball with his friends during quarantine since it can be easily set up anywhere with flat, open space. 

The organizers of intramural sports have many other leagues and tournaments planned for the rest of this school year that students can sign up for. Their basketball tournament will start up early next semester, and they hope to host another dodgeball tournament soon. 

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