MISSION: To introduce more people to the sport and to build and nurture the community.
VISION: To build a community around the next great American sport.
#1. Trust. Give it until you shouldn’t. #2. Improve. Always be learning. #3. Drive change and challenge the status quo when necessary. #4. Surprise and Delight. #5. Don’t be a jerk. #6. Have fun, be different & optimistic. #7. Bring people together and build community. #8. Own it.
What’s that? You think you’re a big Gilmore Girls fan? Are you trying to read your way through a list of 300+ books that Rory Gilmore has been seen reading in the show? Didn’t think so. Bridget did. What’s that? You think you’re a master Sodoku player? Bridget has a personal record of 0:55 on expert level on a Sudoku app and is trying to qualify for the US team. You didn’t do that either, did you? When she’s not geeking out on Gilmore Girls, playing Sudoku, or managing her women’s Ultimate team, she’s keeping our retail customers happy. She manages customer service on the retail side making sure all is happy in the land of ‘Stores-That-Carry-Spikeball’. We were lucky enough to pick her up right after she graduated from Northwestern (go Cats!) and she’s been killing it ever since. The line that sealed the deal for us, was when she was talking about her role of managing the Northwestern women’s Ultimate team, she said, “I expanded what the role typically entailed because I just saw a lot more stuff that needed doing, so I did it.” One of our values at Spikeball is ‘own it’. Bridget exemplifies that to a tee.
The Godfather of Summerspike. Need I say more? For those of you living under a rock, Jack, along with some friends, started what has become one of the biggest, best run, and arguably, most fun (post-tournament party), Spikeball tournaments. Hosted the final Saturday of June at Coney Island since 2013, it has drawn players from all over the country as well as some international players. A former NYC public school teacher, Jack takes control and doesn’t let his students, I mean players, question how things are going to go. He has taken complete ownership of our tournament business and is making incredible progress in moving it forward. Jack has Ultimate in his DNA, does a lot of adventure races, used to be in a Phil Collins/Genesis cover band, and is typically the last man standing at the post-tournament parties. He works in NYC and can be found playing in Central Park from time to time. He was the first person at Spikeball to receive and accept a job offer via text message. While he and his wife never signed up to be the official housing spot for Summerspike, their apartment has hosted more Spikeball players per square foot than any other place in the world (disclaimer: The White family in Natick may challenge them for this title).
Self-appointed late night customer service guy on the Spikeball app; Tournament helper; Data tracker; Report Updater; Regular customer service guy; All around helper. These are some of the ‘jobs’ that Kyle at Spikeball before joining us full-time. He rides a motorcycle, owns guitars, has facial hair, wears leather jackets, and is an overall cool, nice guy. Do you like that you can find Spikeball in some of your local, independent retail stores? Be sure to thank Kyle for that. He’s the guy reaching out to them sharing the awesomeness that is Spikeball. It’s pretty magical when we’re in the office and we can tell he’s getting ready to ‘one call close’ an account. It gets very silent and then once he hangs up we erupt into applause. He is the 3rd Belmont University grad to join Spikeball full-time. Belmont has a very strong music program. I’m thinking ‘Spikeball, The Band’ may be coming soon. A native of Charlotte and having just moved to Chicago from Nashville we’re going to see how he does in his first Chicago winter. Wish him luck.
Logan is currently the only person at Spikeball Inc that has starred in a movie. Well, technically, he was in it but it’s not finished and he’s not sure if/when it will be released. We’re splitting hairs here, let’s move on, he’s a movie star! He also had a brief career in high school as a wannabe YouTube star. His channel? “Alone Time With Logan”. While that didn’t quite work out, he did once have a video that had over 100 views. We initially met Logan as the guy from Texas that was hosting tournaments at Texas A&M, challenging other Texas schools to competitions, and just being an awesome Spikeball advocate in that giant state. He never called asking for help with anything, he just did it. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major. Aside from building our Spikeball Collegiate community, Logan is building an incredibly well-organized system to track and ship all of our equipment or tournaments, tradeshows, and other events. He taught himself FileMaker Pro and a month or two later he’s talking to reps from Apple that are considering turning his use of the software into a case study. He’s a 7th generation Texan with a name deserving of royalty. While he’s an incredibly driven guy he does like his naps. I’ll save that story for another time.
Wanting to show Derek a typical day at Spikeball we made sure his first day on the job included a hot air balloon ride over Sonoma and a bike ride to numerous vineyards tasting some of the world’s best wine. Thankfully, after that team outing, back in Chicago, he actually came to the office to begin his regular work. If you like the fact that when you order one of our products or visit a local retailer that has Spikeball in stock, you can thank Derek. The industry term for what he does is ‘Demand Planner’ but we call it “the guy who makes sure we have the right stuff in the right place at the right time.” It’s MUCH easier said than done. And with that said, since he’s been on board, we’ve never been out of stock—anywhere or any time-- he's killing it. He also happens to be the AirBnb King of Chicago (kind of like Abe Froman of Chicago-sausage fame) and is on about 23 various sport & social teams.
Upon learning that Hadas could still recite nearly 90 bagel recipes from her previous campus employer, we knew we had to meet her. She built up some serious brainpower studying Information Systems Analytics at Miami University (the Ohio one, not the scandalous one you saw on 30 for 30), graduated, and then went home to Cleveland to help run her family's scrap metal business. Since joining us she has quickly learned how things work and has no problem stepping up, taking ownership, and finding a better way. While she seems to be loving her new city of Chicago, her poor, poor car wasn't so lucky and is no longer with us. As the first female employee of Spikeball, Hadas has been showing the male side how things should be done. She is a quiet, powerful force that is not to be messed with. Trying to take advantage of something or somehow skirt around the rules? Not gonna happen with Hadas behind the wheel. You think you can request a bunch of different parts at various times to assemble a full set? Not gonna happen. When you go to bed at night remember, Hadas is watching. Last thing, she has operated a Sennebogen 850. Don't know what that is? I didn't either but I looked it up. It's awesome.
He is our guy that makes the entire machine work. Some use the term “Operations” for what he does. We know him as the guy that builds the behind-the-scenes-systems (inventory, customer service, e-commerce, shipping, etc) that allows all of us to have a blast playing Spikeball. Without him, there would be no fun. Did I mention that he’s 6’7”? Did I mention that at age 29 still has dreams of making it to the Olympics? Did I mention that he likes the color purple and I can’t stand it? Now you know. He heads up the world’s largest Spikeball team, Tiro United, played college football and tried out for the NFL. Yea, thought so—what have you done?
Skyler is our man on stage and the ultimate Spikeball teacher. A recent grad of Cal State Chico, Skyler recently moved from Chico to LA to pursue his dream of making sure every person on the planet is aware of Spikeball. He also makes up half of Chico Spikeball which has been the #1 ranked team as long we’ve had rankings. If you see him on the street, ask him about his previous life as professional Halo player. At age 14, he traveled the country flying to various tournaments chasing the ultimate nerdery title, Global Halo Champ.
I met Joel during his days as an undergrad at Belmont University (Nashville). He reached out saying he wanted to get involved with Spikeball but that he couldn't work days b/c he was going to be in Northern Michigan mushroom hunting for a month. Yea, me neither, I had no idea mushroom hunting was a thing. We couldn't pass that up and have seen nothing short of amazing work from Joel. He graduated a semester early, moved home to PA, and has treated our customers like the fine, beautiful, tasty morel's that they are. If you see Joel, ask him about the stranger that attempted to buy his urine for $5. The deal didn't happen. :(
Scott includes 'mushroom hunter' as part of his resume as well (see Joel's bio for reference). Scott graduated early from Belmont and is the guy that makes sure our retail partners love us. Yes, LOVE us. Not one to waste his relationship building skills, 24 hours before graduation he proposed to his girlfriend and is en route to wedded bliss (fingers crossed the wedding colors are yellow and black). On a recent trip to LA for a tournament Scott had his phone stolen in a public bathroom. The guilty party eventually sold Scott his own phone back to him for $200. He also lost the tournament. Tough trip. Scott and Joel compete as team 'Nashburgh'--- ask them about their insane excel data sheet that most likely includes game play stats on your team.
Wellesley (MA) to Lewisburg (PA...home of Bucknell University) to Madison (WI) to Chicago is the path that brought Michael our way. At first glance, we thought he was running from the law but it turns out he was just chasing his dream of making Spikeball a full time gig. College is a place where a lot of people catch nasty diseases. Bucknell University is where Michael caught one called, “Leave me alone, I’m playing Spikeball to cure my hangover!” The bug didn’t let go and the next thing you know he and his friends are in Chicago competing in a tournament. Thankfully, I (SpikeballChris) was there to knock him out in the first round. Michael is the guy that runs and creates the systems to make sure all shipments go out on time, manages our largest retailers, tracks all of our equipment (tents, sets, TV’s, explosives, etc), and, in general, helps keep this whole machine on the rails. If you run into him, you can ask him about his love for Denzel and how he feels about ice cream on sand dollars.
Do you have an unhealthy, over the top, kinda-creepy, perverted love for the brand Spikeball? Do you tell the boss to hold on a second when you’re reading Spikeball-related emails? Maybe you laughed out loud at a Facebook or Instagram post? You can thank Shaun for all of this. He’s the mastermind behind our social media marketing. On Shaun’s first day of work, we asked for his social security number so we could complete some paperwork. He gave me a blank stare and said he’d have to get back to me. That was fairly concerning until he told me he had perfect attendance until 5th grade. Impressive. Completely irrelevant, but impressive, nonetheless. Since then, he’s been killing it and spreading Spikeball love all over the world. Shaun, a Chico State grad, also makes up half of the dominant National Champion Spikeball Team, ‘Chico Spikeball.’
Chris Ruder: @spikeballchris
I’m the guy that refuses to write in the 3rd person about himself. This whole thing started with some friends and family as a bit of a crapshoot-- but it's working! (knock on wood). I take pride in the fact that we’ve made hundreds of thousands of people cooler and better looking through Spikeball. My team name is Get Off My Lawn, I rode my bike 3,300 miles across the country, visited all 50 states by the time I was 30, and I don’t like the words moist, nook, or cranny. I have the world’s greatest responsibility--- making sure every person on the face of this Earth gets to play Spikeball. None of this would be possible without the support of my lovely, smoking hot wife. For her, I am eternally grateful. Now, GET OFF MY LAWN!!