Why Spikeball nets the love of Queen’s students

Breaking down the sport's popularity on campus and in Kingston

Spikeball is best enjoyed near the Gord Edgar Downie Pier with friends.
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In the warm summer months, it’s practically impossible to visit Breakwater Park without spotting a game—or five—of the latest craze to hit the beach: Spikeball. 
 
In recent years, Spikeball’s popularity has skyrocketed and many beach-goers have found themselves falling in love with the game. Kingston’s student population is no exception. With so many identical black-and-yellow nets covering the sand near the Gord Edgar Downie Pier, it’s almost as if the equipment was installed by the City for public use—and if you’re not careful, you might lose your net to a group of confused newcomers.
 
If you’re unfamiliar with the sport, it might seem intimidating at first. But if you’re prepared to dodge a few flailing limbs and eat a little sand, you have what it takes to be a Spikeball champion.
 
Think volleyball, but on a smaller scale. 
 
The game is played in teams of two, and the goal is to hit the ball off the circular net so that it can’t be returned by the opposing team. When returning a serve or shot, a team has three touches to successfully bounce the ball back on the net. Like volleyball, the general strategy is to utilize the three touches to bump, set, and spike.
 
Spikeball is extremely versatile and lends itself to virtually any location and skill level. All you require to play is a flat surface, the net, a ball, and three semi-coordinated friends. The minimal equipment results in an activity that’s both extremely portable and fairly affordable—characteristics which appeal to just about every student.
 
Though it’s often lumped in with lawn darts and Bocce, Spikeball is not just popular as a casual game—it’s a fast-growing competitive sport with many dedicated players. Each year, the Spikeball Roundnet Association hosts dozens of official Spikeball tournaments across the United States, and many other tournaments just like them are held around the world. Branded by Spikeball as “the next great American sport,” Spikeball boasts more than four million players internationally. Take that, lawn darts.
 
Spikeball’s appeal to both casual and competitive athletes makes the sport the perfect summer game. It’s a great way to get active in a friendly, social environment. Whether you’re playing at the beach, the park, or in your backyard, you’re guaranteed to have a blast, regardless of how skilled you are.
 
With September and the fall term fast approaching, it’s time to get out there and try Spikeball for yourself—if you haven’t already. Grab some friends and a net, mentally brace yourself to take a few spills in the name of summer fun, and head down to Breakwater Park for the afternoon. Chances are, you’ll wind up loving the game.
 
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