Rudeen serves up a spikeball club on campus
An interesting new activity has overtaken the Green at 5:55 p.m. every Wednesday evening, as students gather together to play one of Bethel’s lesser-known sports: Spikeball. Though, indeed, this regular Wednesday activity is something new, its chief organizer, Seth Rudeen, senior from Osage City, has always played spikeball on campus. Some might have seen him on the Green last spring, though during colder months he retreats to the library. Maintaining silence in the library while diving around attempting to hit a small ball onto a trampoline is, Rudeen admitted, something of a challenge. However, it is a challenge he is willing to undertake.
“Dude, I love Spike ball,” Rudeen said.
Obviously, this being a serious publication, we pressed Rudeen for more details, namely, how much he loves the sport of spikeball. Rudeen was quick to provide a succinct turn of phrase remark.
“I love Spikeball more than a nice rain in spring, but probably less than my family,” Rudeen said.
When questioned as to whether his love of spikeball was equal to that of his moustache, Rudeen failed to provide a definitive answer. Rudeen responded to and validated recent rumors about an official spikeball club, regarding the weekly Wednesday games.
“A spikeball club will be starting as soon as the student government has appointed its new members,” Rudeen said.
Membership currently rests between eight and twelve students, though Rudeen is eager to attract new players, including those who have never played before. He believes that as many as 32 students could be accommodated on any given Wednesday, as long as they arrive on time. Rudeen explained why the club is scheduled at such an odd time: 5:55.
“If you ask people to turn up for 6:00 p.m. then they won’t show until 6:15, but you can’t schedule it any earlier because that would just be weird,” Rudeen said.
Spikeball is traditionally played with two teams of two players, standing across from each other over a circular net. The sport is comparable to tennis, in that the teams must play until they either foul or fail to return the ball. Seth’s Spikeball partner is Jeff Kaufmann, alum of 2020. Rudeen poked at his partner’s skill.
“[I’m] probably better than him at Spikeball. In his defense, Jeff is practically blind,” Rudeen said.
Their team's name is usually MTC, which stands for “More to Come.” Rudeen elucidated the meaning of his team’s witty acronym.
“When we whoop [other teams], there’s always going to be more to come,” Rudeen said.
It was at this moment that Rudeen launched into a lengthy story about when MTC played a pretty good spikeball team in some tournament, somewhere. He and Jeff (“practically blind”) Kauffman were somehow able to put together a triple-diving play, through which they gained a point against a premier standard player. Rudeen rated the dives Olympic-standard. The truth of this claim may be verified very soon. Rudeen is planning a spikeball tournament for Fall Fest, following the tournament that took place three weeks ago. That competition saw eleven teams enter. Rudeen is hopeful that the October event will see many more.
Regarding the future of Spikeball at Bethel, Rudeen speculated that the College would probably begin recruiting athletes for a program in two years' time. He hypothesized that he would probably be asked to lead the program, and admitted that this was his main motivation for starting the Wednesday club in the first place. He predicted that he would graduate and then come back to build the program.
“[I’m] already scouting talent amongst the students and staff. Mark Jantzen probably has the most potential. I’m planning on sending him a letter of intent in the near future,” said Rudeen.
On a more serious note, there seem to be growing opportunities for those who want to involve themselves in the sport of spikeball.
“[I’m] hoping that the college will sponsor me to go to the inter-collegiate spikeball tournament in Dallas in the Spring,” Rudeen said.
In the here and now, however, Rudeen is simply eager to involve as many people as he can in the sport, asserting that decent eyesight and basic mobility are really the only things anyone needs in order to take part.