Spikeball sweeps the 5Cs

Eric Oregel CM ’21 leads his friends in a game of spikeball at the OTL Website Launch Party on Friday, March 8. (Amy Best • The Student Life)

On a sunny Saturday in Claremont, you don’t have to walk far to see a familiar sight — four people gathered around a miniature trampoline-like net, attempting to ricochet a small inflated ball onto their opponents’ sides.

First popularized in the mid-2000s, spikeball has taken ahold of college campuses across the country — the 5Cs included. This year, for the first time in history, there is an intramural spikeball league at the 5Cs.

Formalizing spikeball through the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps intramural league was only a matter of time, as the sport has picked up in popularity in recent years. Julia Brock SC ’22 is playing it this season after noticing it when visiting campus.

“When I visited the 5Cs, I saw people playing spikeball and I thought it looked really interesting,” Brock said.

Brock decided to form a team with friend Alejandra Butcher SC ’22, even though neither of them had played before. For many players, spikeball is just about having fun.

“People aren’t going to be too competitive, people are going to be friendly about it, but you’re still going to have a good time,” Myles Anderson CM ’21 said.

Looking at team names, the levity of the game becomes apparent –– Anderson’s team is named “Jeremahu & the Thotianos,” and Brock’s is “NO GAME SCHEDULED,” which she and Butcher chose with the hope that they could confuse opponents and win by forfeit.

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Although it is primarily played recreationally, for some, spikeball can become competitive. Gait Nairn CM ’22 travels to schools regionally to compete in spikeball tournaments.

“I’ve been to tournaments in Santa Monica, Riverside, up north in the Bay as well,” Nairn said. “There’s different skill groups — there’s beginner, intermediate, advanced and premier. I usually play intermediate, sometimes advanced.”

To qualify for a premier league, a team has to win a certain number of tournaments, Nairn said. He said the tournaments aren’t solely comprised of current college students, and many competitors are recent graduates who still play.

While competitive spikeball is more about winning, the fun isn’t lost.

“A lot of my friends go to schools in LA, so we all come together to play,” Nairn said, describing the community the game fosters.

Nairn is also playing in the 5C intramural league. His team, with teammate Ashkon Aghassi CM ’22, is called “Practice Safe Sets.”

“It’s just a really fun thing to go blow some steam off,” Nairn said. “We had our first game last Sunday –– we whooped ’em.”

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