22 hours. That’s how far a group of friends drove to compete in the Santa Monica Spikeball tournament this past Saturday. While there, I saw fathers kiss their newborns and hear their wives say, “Good luck!” as they walked out to compete. I met some recent graduate Spikeballers that are moving in with each other and becoming roommates. The level of ball-busting I heard could easily make you think those involved have known each other for years, even though they’d known each other a mere matter of hours. I heard fraternity brothers use grandiose terms such as “Spikeball is a way of life” and “Spikeball is a movement”.
When we launched in 2008, I hoped you’d like the product enough to buy it. You would give us the money, I ship you the box and that's it. It would be a transaction and that would be it. Thankfully, I was very wrong.
The stories that I’m hearing aren’t just from tournaments. A quick search online will yield photos of people playing at elementary and college graduation parties, a bachelor playing minutes before he walks down the aisle in an attempt to calm his nerves, a guy playing at basecamp of Mt Everest, and more. We receive emails from complete strangers telling me how Spikeball restored a strained relationship with a brother, a heartbroken father who lost a Spikeball-loving teenage son in a car accident, a soldier in Afghanistan telling me how it helped with morale, Moms thanking us for getting their kids outside and active again… These are powerful stories and Spikeballers are anxious to have theirs heard.
We seem to be going through a strange evolution from ‘product company’ to ‘community company’. The product is simply a tool that helps build the community. This is partially manifesting itself in the form of USASpikeball.com, (the online home of the Spikeball community) but more so, it’s happening in real life.
In response to this, we’re working on modifying our logo to include the words, “Join The Movement”. To hear more stories, I’m personally reaching out to customers to learn about them. Why do they play? Where are they from? What other sports do they play? How do they want to see Spikeball evolve? What makes them tick? I want the community to drive the future of the company. If you have ideas or just want to share your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting to know you, hear your stories, and watch friendships form has been incredibly gratifying. I’m not exactly sure where this evolution will take us, but I’m psyched to be a participant.
Join the movement.