Breaking a sweat

Newly formed wallyball club blends fitness with fun

By Kenneth Porter
Staff Writer

Imagine a sport with the speed of racquetball, the teamwork of volleyball and the footwork of basketball. That is the essence of wallyball, the latest hybrid sport growing in popularity and on the Schoolcraft campus.

Photo by Silvia Para de Mccarthy.

Photo by Silvia Para de Mccarthy.

Haven’t heard of or seen wallyball before? Chances are good that will soon change. The sport, which originated in Illinois in 1971, now has a player base of 15 million people worldwide and is constantly growing, according to the American Wallyball Association.

Schoolcraft College has recently christened its very first sanctioned wallyball club, aimed at bringing students and community-members together around this new sport.

Wallyball is simple, taking cues from multiple other activities to make something totally unique. In short, it is a variation of volleyball. It is played on a regulation racquetball court that is divided in two by a volleyball net. Two teams of two, three, or four players tap the ball from one side of the net to other like traditional volleyball, attempting to slam the ball into the opposite team’s floor before they can hit it back across the net.

The main difference is that the walls of the racquetball court are in play, allowing for complex moves such as deflecting the ball off the walls and using the walls to score. There are no out-of-bounds in wallyball, just nearly nonstop action. The added dynamics of the smaller court, the walls and the more intimate setting makes wallyball an intense, high-stakes sport that is exciting to experience or watch.

“[Wallyball] is very fun and is a great cardio workout,” said Joshua Costa, student-founder of Schoolcraft’s wallyball club. “In a regular volleyball game, the ball can easily go out of bounds, but that can’t happen in wallyball. It’s fun using the walls to your advantage.”

Costa’s love for wallyball began during the fall 2013 semester when he was introduced to the sport in an on-campus physical education class. He quickly developed a passion for the speed and intensity of the game and was hooked from the start.

Wallyball hasn’t just helped Costa stay in shape and exercise his body, the game has also made an impact on his life off the court, helping him grow socially and transform his personality into what he wanted it to be.

“I used to be that quiet kid who was afraid to talk to people and had trouble making friends,” said Costa. “Wallyball has helped me come out of my shell and has made it easier for me to talk to others. That’s why I want people to play [the sport]. Maybe it can help someone else the way that it has helped me.”

Since its inception earlier this year, Schoolcraft’s wallyball club has seen consistent growth as athletes of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels take part in this exciting new game.

“It’s a great co-ed sport that anyone can play,” said Costa. “It’s been a little slow recently because of the [Expresso Bike Fall Frenzy Challenge] that the Fitness Center has been doing, but we usually have a ‘full court,’ with five players on each team. It’s fun to watch, but it’s even more fun to play, and it’s a great sport for anyone, no matter how athletic you are. Anyone that shows up is welcome.”

Wallyball is a great activity for those looking to exercise their bodies and meet new friends, and it is easy for newcomers to pick up and play.

“I’ve played basic sports like basketball and softball, but I’ve never played wallyball,” said Peaches Halimon, Schoolcraft student and athlete. “I’d never even heard of [the sport] before, but I like trying new things and would definitely give wallyball a shot.”

Schoolcraft’s wallyball club meets in the Livonia Campus’ Fitness Center on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m., where everyone will get a chance to play. For more information contact the Student Activities Office at 734-462- 4422.