Spikeball begins at the UI with strong interest and growing potential.
By Katelyn Weisbrod
Four people dance around a small net on the ground,
jumping and diving to keep a ball in the air and slam it on the net. Sometimes they crash, sometimes they fall on their face to the grass.
This is spikeball, the University of Iowa’s newest intramural sport.
Spikeball is a cross between volleyball and four-square and involves a net resembling a mini trampoline in the center of four people, two teams of two. One player serves the ball to the opposing team, and the team gets three hits to pass it to the other team. What makes it unique from volleyball and four-square is players can move freely around the net once the ball is served.
To some, the rules and logistics of the game may be confusing; however, those who have played say the game is easy to pick up.
“I didn’t think it was difficult so much as just fun,” UI graduate student Kaci Turpin said. “There’s not really pressure when you’re playing. It’s an inviting culture, and if you mess up, you’re not getting yelled at. It’s just fun.”
Intramural spikeball will take place as a one-day tournament on Sept. 16 at the Hawkeye Recreation Fields in a single-elimination bracket. Each round will be played to 21 points, and the best two out of three wins the round to advance in the bracket. The champion men’s and women’s teams will win intramural-champion T-shirts.
UI Recreational Services began promoting the new sport last spring. Most of the promoting is done via social media and by playing it around campus.
“We had a couple demo days where we went and played on the Quad courtyard,” said Tommy Schorer, the assistant director of intramural sports. “We talked to people going by and told them about the game because a lot of people aren’t familiar with it, so we just wanted people to see it and ask questions.”
Several pairs have signed up to play in the tournament. The event is free and registration is open until Sept. 9. Schorer said he is optimistic that there will be many more pairs signing up as the deadline approaches.
Schorer said many are interested because the tournament is free and only a one-day event.
“My buddy and I just got together and saw it was a free intramural,” UI freshman Seth Livingston said. “We thought it looked pretty fun and decided to sign up.”
The UI picked up Spikeball because it is a relatively cheap sport to start. Schorer said it cost around $50 per set.
“We purchased four spikeball sets, and that was our cost,” Schorer said. “It was pretty cheap, and it’s a one-time startup cost for the equipment that will last us for years.”
The event coordinators are optimistic about the sport’s future success.
“We’d like it to grow into something that has a regular season, I think it has the potential for that,” said Turpin. “It is free for anyone who wants to play, so that’s definitely an appeal.”