Spikeball Makes its Debut — Again!

Whether you are in the upper school or the lower, you have seen these nets popping up all around campus. Especially in the 6th-7th area, students have seen a significant increase in the popularity of the game. These nets are currently known as Spikeball nets, but you may be surprised to know that this was not always the case.

Originally Jeff Knurek invented it and named it Roundnet. The game had a spike in popularity in 1989-1995, but faded because of outdated equipment. Then in 2003, Chris Rider went on a vacation to Hawaii. His brother’s friends pulled out the game and started playing. He soon fell in love with the game and started thinking about revitalizing the game. Rider discovered the patent had expired,paid $800 for it and changed the name from Roundnet to Spikeball. I think that we can all agree that Spikeball is a much better name than Roundnet.

Spikeball can be played almost anywhere, though we prefer grass! (FarmHouse Fraternity at Iowa State University, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

The game is played with two teams made up of two players. The teams start on opposite sides. One team serves the ball to start the game, after the serve, the opposite team tries to return it in three hits or less. This game is very similar to two player volleyball. If one team fails to get the ball back to the net, the other team wins and gets a point. After the serve everyone can go anywhere. One thing that makes this game so unique is that it is a 360 degree game.

One example of Spikeball’s revived popularity is the Spikeball club. Wheeler Schmidt started the club. “Spikeball was really fun for me,” said Wheeler, “and I felt like it would be fun for other people too.” He is definitely right, over 4 million play this game worldwide. Mr. Herrin the sponsor for this new club said, “I think a lot of kids wanted some physical activity instead of just being in another sit down type of environment. So I was happy to be able to [ sponsor the club]. I think that this club will be a unique example for kids to be more active in school.”

I am not sure how much longer spike ball will be popular, but I am sure that spike ball will be an example that new sports all over the world will follow.

Editors Note: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Check out this 2016 Advocate story on Spikeball, and the 2014 story on its homegrown predecessor, Juicio.