Porter Park is a recreational hub for students and locals who enjoy playing sports like frisbee, soccer and even an increasingly popular round-net sport called Spikeball. On Oct. 2, Rexburg locals Kody Price and Peter Barton won the high school National Spikeball Championships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“It was a pretty crazy moment… I just couldn’t stop smiling and I looked over at Kody and he was standing there, and I was like ‘Kody, you’ve got to smile! We’re the national champs!’” Barton recalled.
The game is played with a small trampoline-like net at the center of two opposing teams. Each two-man team serves a soft-shelled yellow ball by bouncing it from any angle onto the net. Similar to volleyball, the teams have three plays or hits to serve the ball back to the opposing team.
Barton described serving as the most challenging aspect of Spikeball because you have to be six feet away from the net. There are no "sides" to the Spikeball net, so teammates have to play the ball from whatever angle it is served. This makes for a 360-degree challenge.
As players with the American Youth Spikers League, Price and Barton began attending lower-division competitions. Throughout their time playing spikeball competitively, Barton and Price have not always been successful. Price described how they’ve worked hard to use every loss as a learning experience.
“We actually did a tournament in the contender division and we kind of got smoked, but from that we were able to learn the level of play that we need to be at and so I think that really helped us for the nationals,” Price said.
Though most people start playing Spikeball casually with friends, there are many local opportunities to become involved in competitions. Barton gave the following advice to those who may be interested in competitive Spikeball.
“I’d tell them to go for it. It’s one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. I’ve played a lot of other sports in my life and this one is definitely my favorite, hands down,” Barton said.