The Crop Circle: How did you first start playing Spikeball?
Seth Richmond: I was playing Volleyball in Denver's Wash Park in 2010 and a buddy took me aside to show me the game. I thought is was strange, but I knew right away that it was magical. After playing for a while I fell in love. I also liked that I was finally better than him at something!
CC: What drew you to the game?
SR: I loved how new and different it was. It also gave me a place to use all that hand-eye coordination I'd built up playing Counterstrike in college.
CC: Walk us through your tournament experience. How did you go from being a regular player who had just learned about the game to competing (and beating) some of the best teams in the country at Nationals?
SR: I introduced Jeff (Danger Zone) to the game in Hawaii a few years back and he came back to beat my partner and a year later. Little did I know he'd be my teammate a couple years later. We barely played together before the three tourneys we played last year. We did great in Denver (Chico took us out) and then got smashed at Regionals (Classy Vacuums). Walking into Nationals we rebranded to Danger Zone, made some cutoff Jeans and aviators, and said "let's just have fun bro". When we'd lose a point we'd do the Top Gun high five. At one point we were down against Ball Blasters and we were "holding on too tight" so I started singing "you've lost, that loving feeling" and we came back from one game down to win the set. Fun, it was all about having fun.
CC: How would you recommend someone get ready for taking leap from backyard play to tournament play?
SR: Play. We played 2/3 times a week all summer. Not because we were training, but because we loved it. I had no idea it would lead to this level of success, but I can finally justify my time in the circle to my friends. They all thought I was obsessed. Especially my girlfriend.
CC: We hear you’ve completed some triathlons?
SR: Yeah, I completed my first IronMan a month after Regionals last year. It was something I’d always wanted to do.
CC: Does that sort of activity help you train for Spikeball?
SR: Totally. The endurance that Regionals took was huge. I was so glad to have so much endurance behind me. To beat the teams we faced, we had to have stamina and most importantly, mental toughness.
CC: You are quite the journeyman. Where have your travels taken you (and your Spikeball set)?
SR: I left my tech job in fall of 2013. I planned to travel the world and I found a way to put my Spikeball set into my 35 liter backpack. I hauled it on a motorcycle through Vietnam and Cambodia, Thailand, then Nepal, India, Australia, and eventually to New Zealand. I was lucky to find a group of Aussies that played handball on my way up to Everest base camp. They loved the game and would find me and ask to play everyday after hiking for hours. I couldn't believe they still wanted to play even with the risk of altitude sickness. Sometimes we'd get a play in and we'd all bend over huffing and puffing. We got so dirty, and the ball was flat from the altitude change, but it was unforgettable. Playing in the desert in India on a camel safari was also pretty rad.
CC: What do you think the biggest weaknesses are in your game? How are you working to improve on them?
SR: Age. They call me the Godfather in Denver because I've been playing so long. I'm 31 and I'm in great shape, but I realize my limitations when I play against competitors like Troy Mauk of Chubby Bunnies. That man will dive for anything. My body can only take so much and some nights after a huge day I'll wake up with a throbbing shoulder or elbow. Just means I have to train harder and play smarter.
CC: What is it like living in Denver? What is the identity of a Denver Spikeballer?
SR: I've traveled and spiked around the world. Denver is my promised land. We play on grass, but we own it. Snowboard, mountain bike, rock climb, spike. You want to do it all in one day, you can, and we do.
CC: What’s your biggest fear?
SR: Injury. I want to play and i never want to stop. As the sun is going down in Denver we always say to each other "can't stop, won't stop."
CC: Who is your professional athlete equivalent as far as style for your Spikeball game?
SR: I'm a huge passer. I can spike, and I will, but I'm most proud of my assists. Jeff does incredible things when I set him up right. He's fantastic at waiting for the last second to fool the other players. So... Larry Bird?
CC: If you could make one wish to the Spikeball gods what would it be?
SR: More high level players! We have a great base in Denver thanks to Tommy Adesso of Spikeball Denver, but we always need more players. We know we'll never beat Chico unless we have a solid crew to practice with.
CC: What is the future of Spikeball in your eyes?
SR: Olympics!!!! Did you know Tug of War was once an Olympic Sport!?