For all the forlorn Spikeball lovers wandering around campus looking for a group to play with, a new club may offer the perfect outlet.
The Roundnet Club, named for the sport more commonly known by the brand name Spikeball, was started last semester by freshman Brian Luong and sophomore Dylan Skonicki as a way to bring people together around their favorite pick-up sport.
The pair, who now serve as president and vice president of the club, respectively, met last semester through the Spikeball app, which connected them to a game of Spikeball on the lawn outside Magnolia Residence Hall.
Now, the two want to create an active community of Roundnet enthusiasts on campus so that students can have a group to regularly play with, rather than having to scatter wherever the Spikeball app winds take them.
For Luong, starting Spikeball clubs has become somewhat second nature. The D.C. native started four clubs before coming to UT and also serves as a brand ambassador and school specialist for the company, two roles which take him to different schools and organizations, where he helps spread the good news of the Roundnet gospel.
Skonicki, on the other hand, only began playing Spikeball about six months ago, but has since come to love the sport and the community it creates.
Together, the two are emblematic of what is perhaps the greatest virtue of and the best pitch for the Roundnet Club. Anyone from any background can play the game and find equal success.
“We have players of all levels,” Luong said. “We have a big range from beginner to pro.”
Indeed, there is a wide diversity of experience and talent in the club of roughly 15 to 20 students, from none at all to some of the best players in the nation. But this should not intimidate beginners, Skonicki says, because the club does not have a competitive edge.
“We have a more casual kind of play style, like where you can come out to a practice or you don’t even have to show up,” Skonicki said. “It’s definitely not all competitive play.”
There are, however, opportunities for competition for those who want it. The club has already traveled to a tournament at UT Chattanooga in October and is planning to attend more tournaments this spring. Luong and Skonicki hope that in the future, UT will be able to host a home tournament in Knoxville.
For now though, the pair’s main goal is to expand the club’s membership. For those interested in getting involved, the easiest way is through the club’s Instagram page. The club meets to play pick-up games a few times a week on the intramural field next to TRECS and is looking for students who want to meet like-minded Spikeball enthusiasts around the eponymous little round net.
Luong and Skonicki’s faces tend to light up when they are asked about the mechanics of roundnet, always ready to explain the number of players needed or the opportunities to compete at the national level.
But though they showed an entrepreneurial streak in starting the club, Luong and Skonicki do not plan on working for or with Spikeball down the road or even continuing with starting their own organizations. For them, the desire to establish the new club all goes back to their love of the game.
“The Spikeball community just rallies together,” Luong said. “It’s just amazing.”