Roundnet on the rise: USC’s unofficial spikeball team is part of a growing movement

first_imgUnlike many college sports in which players strictly compete against other colleges, members of SC Spikeball Roundnet Club compete both against and alongside players from other schools, creating a tight-knit community of players that extends beyond campus boundaries. Passersby don’t tend to equate it with Saturday night football at the Coliseum, but the Spikeball nets set up on the Great Lawn at USC Village each Friday are not simply part of some big party game. Although the Spikeball product was initially marketed as a toy when it was introduced in 1989, roundnet has become a serious sport with a large competitive scene that has struggled to gain exposure. Spikeball creator Chris Ruder severed ties with “Shark Tank” investor Daymond John because John wanted to partner with Marvel to create a Spiderman-branded set, which Ruder believed would undermine roundnet’s status as a sport. While the opportunity to compete is certainly enticing to players, the gameplay itself isn’t what keeps players coming back for more. “It doesn’t matter if you’re super good, super bad, if you’ve never played before, whatever,” Judkins said. “Everyone just goes and plays.” “I think that roundnet could end up in the Olympics, legitimately,” Judkins said. “I think that’s a goal that a lot of people in the roundnet community have. I’m not really sure if there’s a better end goal for a sport than reaching the Olympics, so that’s what I would hope for.” Tucker Judkins, co-founder of the SC Spikeball Roundnet Club, spikes a ball into the net at a Cal Poly tournament in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Sept. 28. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Argue) “I was on a road trip with some friends … and [my friend’s] mom bought him a Spikeball set, and so we just took it with us,” Judkins said. “We didn’t know the rules, we didn’t know what we were doing and we didn’t have enough people to play. And so we were just hitting this ball on the net and just trying to keep it going, and we just thought it was so much fun.” “If I was playing baseball … and I fielded a ground ball wrong, if my opponent sees I did that, they’re going to laugh because they’re not trying to help me get better. They want to beat me,” Judkins said. “In Spikeball, in order for the sport itself to actually grow, everybody collectively has to get better so that we can get more exposure as people become better athletes … Everybody just picks each other up and teaches each other on the go.” Roundnet — better known as Spikeball, after the company that manufactures the signature nets and balls — has taken off in the last few years, garnering $6.9 million in 2015 alone. The competitive scene has also skyrocketed to include over 4 million players worldwide. Many players — Judkins included — were first introduced to roundnet as a game rather than a competitive sport. In the national team competition, squads composed of the top five men’s and top three women’s teams in each country will compete, and the winner will be determined based on the squad’s overall performance. As roundnet continues to pick up speed both nationally and internationally, the future of the sport is unclear — raising the question of whether it could become a Division I sport or even an Olympic sport at some point. Judkins will apply to compete in Belgium within the next few months. Anthony Winney, a freshman majoring in mathematics, is also looking to compete and may apply to play alongside Judkins. Although the international tournament setting is new, players have been competing in roundnet at the national level for years. Judkins has traveled as far as Dallas and Salt Lake City for tournaments. “Roundnet seems to attract people who [are] extremely genuine individuals and people who are really willing to make themselves vulnerable, and they’re down to earth,” Judkins said. “I’ve found a lot of people like that in the roundnet community, and that’s one of the things I really love about roundnet.” Unlike in most sports, roundnet teams do not have formal coaches. As one of USC’s more experienced players, Judkins takes on that coaching role, teaching others the correct form and technique. The individual team competition consists of teams of two players representing the same country and will include divisions for different levels of player — advanced, intermediate, beginner and women’s divisions. Spikeball Roundnet Club meets Friday afternoons from 2 to 6 p.m., although Judkins said those interested in playing competitively stay as late as 11 p.m. and show up to the Great Lawn Tuesdays and Saturdays as well. SC Spikeball Roundnet Club has developed both a social and competitive roundnet scene at USC where first-time players can compete against the University’s best. Roundnet is expanding not just across college campuses but around the world. In September 2020, Belgium will host the Spikeball Roundnet World Championship, an international tournament that will include both an individual team and a national team championship. “We run drills first for half an hour to 45 minutes, and then we play two hours of games,” Judkins said of the competitive practices. “And then there’s a bunch of tournaments throughout the two semesters as well.” The sport borrows elements from volleyball, four square and handball. Two teams of two volley the ball to their partners and spike the ball onto the net, attempting to keep opponents from returning it. Because roundnet’s competitive scene is still relatively small, Judkins said opposing teams constantly tell each other how to get better in order to improve the entire playing field.  Tucker Judkins and Tavis Cote, juniors majoring in journalism and political science with a progressive degree in communication management, respectively, started the club in 2017 to bring together USC students with an interest in roundnet.last_img read more

Gambling.com adds BBC Sport’s Manish Bhasin as football contributor

first_img Related Articles Submit Strong Q1 opening sees Gambling.com push US agenda May 22, 2019 Share Share Strong Q3 US trading sees Gambling.com edge ahead November 21, 2019 Gambling.com appoints Gerry Ahern as US content lead June 14, 2019 Leading betting news and information portal Gambling.com has confirmed BBC Sports’ anchor Manish Bhasin as a contributor, strengthening its football and sports editorial.Bhasin, who hosts BBC Sport’s flagship programmes Match of the Day 2, The Football League Show and Football Focus, will write an exclusive column for Gambling.com detailing his insider’s take on the Premier League and wider football content.The BBC anchor has penned his first Gambling.com feature reflecting on the abhorrent scenes witnessed in Sofia on Monday night, Bhasin said: “It’s great to be on board with my first column for Gambling.com, but I’m not so elated having to reflect on Monday night’s shocking scenes in Sofia as racism quite literally reared its ugly head to overshadow England’s fine 6-0 win over Bulgaria.”Furthermore, Bhasin assesses Gareth Southgate’s midfield dilemma and looks towards the weekend by highlighting three Premier League Managers who could be under fire if events don’t go their way.Gambling.com Content Marketing Manager, Dean Ryan said: “Manish is a highly respected broadcaster and journalist who will provide intelligent and considered insight on all the latest footballing news.“We’re delighted to have such an internationally renowned contributor to our team of writers and can’t wait to follow Manish’s views throughout this football season.” StumbleUponlast_img read more

Holdup Ends in One Death, Anger in New Kru Town

first_imgA 21 year old Sierra Leonean man was reportedly stabbed to death by a robber only identified as Red in a holdup attempt that went wrong Wednesday night in Nyuanpanton, near New Kru Town, Monrovia.An eye-witness told the Daily Observer that the victim was ordered by Red to empty his pockets. When Red approached the young Sierra Leonean to demand what was in his wallet and he refused, Red called out to three other friends who joined him in the attack.“He called out to his friends by the nicknames One Million, Pretty Jean and Blank Check who joined him in forcing the victim to turn his money over to them,” a neighbor said.When Red stabbed the victim, and found out that he had only LD200 on him, they realized what they had done was wrong, according to neighbors.They narrated that the victim had been struggling to make ends meet doing “a little selling business” and his death was unfortunate.“The young man was only about 21 years,” another neighbor said, adding that “his death makes it five the number of young people in the community who have been killed by knife wielding robbers since the beginning of 2016.” When the victim’s fellow Sierra Leoneans heard about his death, a group of them, armed with anything they could use as weapons, rushed to Nyuanpanton to search for anyone connected to the young man’s death, residents told the Daily Observer.“His friends came to our community in search of those involved in the boy’s death and when they located Red and his friends’ zinc house they began to break it down.“Later the police were informed sent out several officers, including PSU who came to calm the situation down,” an eyewitness said. Meanwhile, Police officers have arrested one of the four attackers named One Million and detained him at the New Kru Town Depot, while investigations continued yesterday.The body of the victim was deposited at the Redemption Hospital morgue.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more