One might ask how a ball and a net bring the kids of Rowland Hall together. The answer is simple: everyone loves competition, and better yet, everyone loves to win. Spikeball, a game that is essentially two-person volleyball, but you hit the ball on a circular net instead of over a rectangular one, brings all walks of Rowland Hall life together: from freshmen to seniors and seniors to faculty, spikeball is a prominent activity right here at school that evokes fire in the most unsuspecting people. Whether you love to play the game or just love to watch the intensity of four focused people surrounding a three-foot-wide net, spikeball is welcoming to all.
Spikeball first originated in 1989 and was made by Jeff Knurek, a prominent toymaker. Spikeball even became a professional sport in 2008, and pro-spikeball still lives on today. Although it has been around for over thirty years, it hasn’t shown up at Rowland Hall until earlier this year. As more and more people started playing and the spikeball community started growing, Student Council recognized the popularity and even made it a Battle of the Classes competition in mid-October. The love for spikeball grew.
If you walk outside to the front of Rowland Hall during lunch, consultation, or any time in between classes, you are bound to see bright yellow or green nets surrounded by smiling high schoolers. At Rowland Hall, or any high school, it is sometimes hard to have bonds and friendships between upper- and lowerclassmen. It is hard to find common ground between seniors and sophomores as they don’t usually spend their time in the same circumstances. Spikeball helps bridge that gap, as it is a fun and easy icebreaker between any two people. “Through spikeball, it is easier to connect to people who you don’t really hang out with,” said sophomore Elena Owens. Spikeball has the ability to bring people together because it evokes laughs and friendly competition, and it allows high schoolers who are cooped up all day staring at their computers to go outside. “You can really just play with all different grades, and it’s not awkward because you are always laughing or playing,” said Rowland Hall sophomore Bea Martin. Spikeball does all this without any awkward conversations arising or any silences longing to be filled; it is an active game where there is always something happening.
Not only do the students love it, but teachers like Mr. Pinto enjoy playing the exciting game too. “I think it’s beneficial for both myself and students to see me outside the classroom doing something other than math,” said Mr. Pinto, a math teacher at Rowland Hall. Teachers like him find spikeball a great way to build connections with students: “We collaborate in the classroom academically, but to be able to collaborate athletically creates a great sense of community… Most of all, spikeball is just fun and it's nice to see all the students not just having their heads buried in books,” Mr. Pinto said. Mr. Pinto shares how it's great to get out and have fun with the students in a setting away from academics and he gets very competitive while playing.
All in all, spikeball is the icebreaker game that you never knew you needed, and if you haven't played, I strongly encourage you to pick up a spikeball, go outside, and let the fire spark within you.