"Three years ago, Eric Zishka was wandering the campus of Washington University in St. Louis when he came upon four people, a yellow ball and what looked like a miniature trampoline.
It was "weird," what he saw, like a combination of four square and volleyball: The foursome, split into teams of two, was batting the ball up between them and off the trampoline at their feet. Their goal was to keep the yellow orb, about the size of an orange, moving on defense and smack it earthbound on offense. This group was really getting into it, he noticed. Looked like fun.
"So I figured: 'Hey, maybe I should try that one day,' " the Washington resident, 24, recalled recently. The next time he saw the game, Zishka learned it was called Spikeball. He started playing, founded a burgeoning school club and graduated. Then he kept playing, wherever he went, and kept others doing the same.
His rise as a Spikeball star — from a Division III tennis player in college who didn't know the sport existed to a member of a top-five team in its national rankings — mirrors the sport's own ascent, but it is the evangelism with which he and the sport's other devotees have helped grow the game that explains the scene expected this weekend at Patterson Park..."
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