The smell of sweat and the sound of laughter radiated through the air as the ball hit a low net on the ground. This two versus two game brought a sense of familiarity to friends on campus.
The game is spikeball, where two sets of partners play against each other and try to hit a ball into a net near the ground without the ball touching the floor. If the ball does touch the ground, the other team scores a point. UT students Aidan Wilhite and Vincent Viering decided to bring the club to campus after playing together throughout high school.
“Now we play with our roommates and have such a great time,” finance sophomore Viering said. “We really wanted to bring that to UT. It’s very simple — there’s a few technicalities, but nothing you can’t figure out in two minutes.”
The simplicity of the game allows for more accessibility among players, making the game more fun to play, said Wilhite, a radio-television-film sophomore.
“If you’re trying to play baseball, everyone’s doing a different job, has a different role, has to know different skills,” Wilhite said. “Spikeball only requires four people, and you all do the same thing.”
Viering said spikeball is unique due to the intimacy of the game, which allows people to work closely together in small teams.
“You’re working with just one other person against two other people,” Viering said. “You really get to know the person you’re playing with, and I think that’s what makes this sport special.”
Zachary Zurita, a human dimensions of organizations sophomore, was recruited to the team by his friends.
Zurita said he was attracted to the sport due to its low-intensity but highly amusing nature. With the game being played in such small groups, it allows players to get to know each other and form friendships.
“It’s just a really casual game,” Zurita said. “(It’s) something that you can take to the park and just hit around, you can really do it anywhere. It’s really fun, and it’s something that you can do to bond with somebody.”
Having just founded the organization this semester, Wilhite said he is excited for it to grow and expose spikeball to UT.
“I really look forward to creating (a community) and sharing my passion with other people and (getting) to know them better,” Wilhite said. “Hopefully, they’ll meet new people and make new friends.”
Viering said he’s excited to share a sport he loves with his peers at UT.
“I think it’ll bring the community a sense of home,” Viering said. “I played it back in high school and playing it here just brought back memories. I think Aidan (Wilhite) and I are really excited to share that with UT’s campus.”
Spikeball is about more than just playing the game, Wilhite said.
“It’s more than just getting together and someone wins and someone loses,” Wilhite said. “It’s about making new relationships.”