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Here are the Rules to Spikeball, Because You were Definitely Curious


Photo by 3dman_eu / CC 2.0

During your college visits in the bright-eyed and bushy tailed days of your youth, you probably imagined some carefree Frisbee throwing in a field with lush grass. You arrived at Penn, and quickly realized people would rather attend food-less brunches on sunny days than throw around a piece of plastic.

Shutting down the possibility of that pleasant mental picture, you may have seen a few students on High Rise Field playing an obscure sport with a small trampoline and a ball - otherwise known as "Spikeball." There are two types of people at Penn: those who know how to play Spikeball and those who don’t know how to play Spikeball. If you self-identify with the latter, look no further. UTB - previously the latter, now a part of the former - is here to educate you.

Start with eight players. Do the “Human Knot” game you found online after frantically searching for ice breakers during your short lived career as a camp counselor. After tying yourselves undone, reach a consensus as to which four people had the sweatiest hands. They become the referee, cheerleader, goalie, and mom-with-snacks. Mom-with-snacks goes to Fro Gro to get orange slices, Rice Krispie Treats, and Capri Suns.

The lucky remaining four are the valiant Spikeball participants. Whoever is in the highest amount of clubs gets to go first. Seniority rules! While jumping on the trampoline, the first player must recite a quote from Benjamin Franklin followed by sharing their views on the gentrification of West Philadelphia.

They then head-butt the ball to the person who they think is most likely to ruin the curve. The curve-ruiner slams the ball on the trampoline while yelling their best guess at Amy Gutmann’s middle name. The person who receives this pass must scream their biggest wish for University City retail before touching the ball. If they say Starbucks, they are immediately disqualified and must drop at least one course from next semester’s schedule. If they pass the ball, each person takes turns hitting the ball and guessing what their tuition money is funding. If the ball touches the ground, the game starts from the beginning.

When everyone gets bored, the winner is the player who waved to the most passing by acquaintances on Locust Walk. Bonus points if you became Facebook friends the summer going into freshman year, had a few forgettable encounters in September, and haven’t hung out since!

Now that you finally understand that tricky game everyone’s playing, get out there and join them! It’s more productive than studying on College Green.