WIIKWEMKOONG – Grunts of extreme physical effort and the squeaks of sliding running shoes resounded throughout the gymnasium of Wikwemikong High School (WHS) as students participated in a Try Day funded by the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) throughout the week of October 28.
The OFSAA funding allows physical education departments in schools to “try” a new sport by providing the funding for the necessary equipment—in this case spikeball.
There were 12 teams (two students per team) who competed in the weeklong spikeball tournament made possible by the OFSAA funding.
The tournament champions were Kenneth Kagige and Marcus Beaudry, with finalists Kaleb Dokum and Hunter Staruck/Lattrel Peltier (who filled in for a day). Consolation champs were Quinton Corbiere and Bryce Recollet and consolation finalists were Patrick Beaudry and Lyndon Neshkiwe.
The game featured in the tournament began life as roundnet in 1989, but is now more commonly referred to as spikeball. The sport of spikeball features elements from other sports such as volleyball and four-square. First, two teams of two people are formed. Players are positioned at four points around the net, with team partners located across the net from each other. From those positions, one player serves the ball across the net to an opposing team member. The opposing team then has three hits to return the ball to the net. After the serve, there are no boundaries of play. Participants are free to run, set and spike the ball from anywhere around the net. Play continues until a team fails to return the ball or the ball hits a rim piece, at which point the rally ends, and the other team receives one point.
“This game is unique because anyone can learn the fundamentals and become successful in a few short days,” explained WHS physical education teacher Cameryn Beaudry. “Our physical education classes have had previous experience with this game during a two week ‘net games’ unit in September. This tournament gives them the chance to teach the rest of the student body about the game and how it is played. Our students are being exposed to many different facets that reflect physical literacy and it was apparent that spikeball attracts a different group of athletes, both competitive and non-competitive,” he said.
“The tournament played host to fun-filled physical activity, lots of smiles and endless laughs,” continued Mr. Beaudry. “Students will enjoy this game for years to come as it connects wonderfully to the Ontario Physical Education Curriculum and offers endless opportunities for competitive and non-competitive intramural tournaments in the school. The WHS would like to extend a chi-miigwech to OFSAA for supporting the new and exciting implementation of this game.”
Try Day funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Education and OFSAA, the coordinating body for the grant. Both the Ministry of Education and OFSAA “value the importance of fitness and sport for today’s youth and hope, through these Try Day programs, to motivate young people to participate in sport and physical activity during and after their high school days,” notes a ministry template for the event. “This support for 125 schools across the province, enables schools to enhance their physical education programs with new, more inclusive activities, to adapt to the demographic changes in many areas of the province, to provide leadership opportunities for students and to promote the values of fitness and activity among the students.”