Photos: Staff Teams Serve Up Success in Wallyball Championship

Bussin’ Bonta Ballers supporters pose in the multi-purpose room in the Dow, with Baller’s player Corey Grazul ‘09, the director of recruitment for Admissions. The Ballers remained undefeated the entire season, earning them the championship on Wednesday (Photo by Bella Bakeman).

Is it Volleyball? Is it Racquetball? Neither; it’s Wallyball! 

According to the American Wallyball Association (AWA), the game was born in Illinois in 1971,  earning its own association in 1989. But what exactly is Wallyball? And why does it have a worldwide fan base of over 15 million in over 85,300 facilities?

According to the AWA rules, Wallyball is a fast-paced sport that combines elements of volleyball and racquetball, played on a racquetball court with a net. Players can use the walls, net and ceiling to bounce the ball off that otherwise would be out of bounds in racquetball and volleyball. Similar to the scoring of volleyball, the first team to reach 25 points wins, however, players must avoid common fouls such as “touching the net or carrying the ball.”

At Albion College, Wallyball has gained traction as a wellness activity for faculty and staff.

In 2019, Director of Conference Services and Summer Camps Nancy Chapman started the initiative to bring staff the opportunity to play Wallyball. Being the co-chair of Albion College’s staff council as well as on the subcommittee for wellness and engagement, Chapman said she wanted to start Wallyball to “encourage wellness among staff.”

Despite the success of the gameplay, Chapman said the pandemic “derailed” plans of playing Wallyball. However, last year, Chapman brought it back, and said they are now “two years strong.”

“The best thing about it is that it gives (staff) an opportunity to de-stress, meet new colleagues and have fun,” Chapman said. “We laugh at ourselves, but also get to laugh with our teams.”

Robbie Miller, associate director of The Gerald R. Ford Institute, could attest to this. 

“Two weeks ago, I fractured my hand playing Wallyball,” Miller said. “It hurt, but we got to see what happens when you superman-punch the ball.”

Robbie, along with the teams, has been playing since the beginning of the spring semester with the championship games concluding this week. 

Nancy Chapman, director of conference services and summer camps, hits the Wallyball toward the opposing team. Chapman’s team, Serves You Right, went 1-3 during this season while their opponents, TBD, went 0-4 (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).

The teams that entered the semifinals were Serves You Right, WalleyBrits, The Purple Squirrels and the undefeated Bussin’ Bonta Ballers, with TBD on the sidelines after their 0-4 record. 

On Monday, court one featured the No.1 seed, Bussin’ Bonta Ballers, who took on the No. 4 seed, Serves You Right. Game one went into overtime, but in the end The Ballers came out on top, continuing their winning streak, and beat Serves You Right in game two, solidifying their spot in the championship.

Court two saw the No. 2 seed WalleyBrits take on the No. 3 seed, The Purple Squirrels. The WalleyBrits swept both games, with the first score being 25-16 and the second being 25-12. 

On Wednesday, the championship concluded with the undefeated Bussin’ Bonta Ballers sweeping the Walleybrits in both games. 

Student Athletic Trainer and WalleyBrits coach, Savannah Roberts, said she had hope despite her team’s loss. 

“I could not be prouder of my team,” Roberts said. “I think we really worked well and we’ll get them next year.”

Assistant Director of Campus Experiences and Bussin’ Bonta Ballers team captain Jordan Marmul led her team to victory and said that “going undefeated is hard work, taking dedication and amazing teammates.”

Marmul’s final words to her teammates showed promise for their return next year. 

“The work’s never done,” Marmul said. “We’ll see everyone next season but for now, the Bussin’ Bonta Ballers are out.”

Bella Bakeman also contributed reporting to this story.

Robbie Miller, assistant director of the Ford Institute, bumps the ball over the net towards Kathleen Boshears, director of philanthropy and outreach initiatives. During a game of Wallyball, players can use the walls and ceiling for advancement (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
TBD and Serves You Right pose with Wallyball equipment (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
Grazul goes up for the Wallyball as both teams prepare to defend in the championship game (Photo by Bella Bakeman).

About Katherine Simpkins 26 Articles
Katherine Simpkins, aka "Kat", is a senior from Adrian, MI. She is majoring in Sociology and minoring in Educational Studies. Her passion for journalism started at an early age when she picked up her camera and started seeing life from a different perspective. In her free time, you can find Kat snuggled up next to her cat, Phoebe; named after the best "Friends" character. You can contact her at KCS11@albion.edu.

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