Roundnet Club looking to spark Spikeball interest at university


Photo courtesy of Jack Bushart

Kellen Voss, Print Associate Editor

With intramural sports kicking off safely this fall, dozens of Grand Valley State students will be taking part in what has been dubbed as the fastest growing sport in the world.

Jack Bushart, President of the GV Roundnet Club, says that the popular backyard game played with a round net and a small plastic has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years, largely because the pool of people looking to play the game has expanded to ex-college athletes.

“I think it has the potential to be a really good college game, like how Ultimate Frisbee is,” Bushart said. “One of their slogans is that they’re the fastest growing sport in the world. It’s a thing that they always say, but it’s actually true at this point. Even at the top level, most of them are ex-college sports players, so they’re actually good athletes. Once their sport-playing time is over, they still want to compete, so they hop into a game.”

Founding the club in Winter 2020, Bushart didn’t really know what to expect when it came to leading a new student organization on campus, but was happy to do it in Allendale with so many resources to help him get the ball rolling.

“I would describe it as educational,” Bushart said. “When you try to start something up, there’s a lot of asking questions and being redirected to someone else, but overall, this is a pretty good university to start a club at since they’re so organized. It was fun and interesting, and I learned a lot.”

Last semester, the club had a few dozen members, gaining members by holding what Bushart called “pick-ups.” Similar to the pickup basketball games that were rampant at the GV Rec & Wellness center pre-pandemic, students could walk onto one of the back courts in the gym and join into a game with a few roundnet enthusiasts.

“We held (the pick-ups) as more of a social club, as a way to get people to interact with each other and meet people just via pick-up sports, as opposed to making it like a club sport and being really competitive about it,” said Bushart.

Towards the beginning of the Winter Semester, Bushart was in talks with Rec & Wellness Associate Director Mike Przydzial to help coordinate organized matches with other schools, but the COVID-19 pandemic put all of that on hold.

The club went on to compete in a few tournaments, including a large one hosted by Notre Dame University as part of a Spikeball college tour stop. Before the pandemic hit, Bushart and a small team was competing in these tournaments against more than 30 other schools.

Playing the sport with Spikeball equipment since he was 16, Bushart is excited to see how the club continues to grow, despite not being around to see it himself. Bushart will graduate with a degree in exercise science come May.

“It would be super cool, to have it be passed down and actually grow into a legitimate club sport,” Bushart said. “That was the plan before COVID. Our winter semester was a trial semester to get data to see how popular it would be and how much people would invest in it. We have younger people in our e-board who, if they are interested in it, could continue to grow the club.”

Be on the lookout for a few Spikeball nets on campus, as the club is looking to add more players through holding pick-up games on campus, since the Stay In Place order expired at the beginning of the month.

Those looking to join the GV roundnet club can direct message their Instagram page or search the club’s name on LakerLink. Make sure to search for the term ’roundnet’ and not ‘Spikeball,’ as due to licensing rules, GVSU clubs can not be named after brands or products.