In honor of Black History Month, VII is featuring a few Black athletes across some of our favorite sports. To kick things off, we interviewed spikeballer Andrew Christmas.
Tell us how you initially got into Spikeball. What drew you to the sport?
I had played Roundnet at summer camps and with friends, but I started playing seriously when I needed a senior project and decided to hold a Spikeball tournament for charity, and realized how big it could get.
Did you admire any other team or player when you first started competing?
When I first started, the player that I really looked up to was PJ Showalter. Since then, PJ has won some more championships and is on the brink of retirement, but PJ if you see this—let's play a tournament before you're gone.
What was your most satisfying win?
My most satisfying win came in September 2021, with that win I got an invitation to join the best club in Texas, Lonestar Roundnet club.
What's it like being a Black Spikeballer? What do you love about it, and what do you wish was different?
It's for sure different. I tend to be the only black player at any tournament I play at and I try not to think about it, but that thought always crosses my mind. I ask myself, why aren't there more of us? One thing I do love is when I see other black players or other POC in general, that's the best feeling in the world. I can't lie, the diversity right now in the roundnet world sucks, and that's why I joined the USA Roundnet Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to see how we can slowly look to move towards a more diverse environment.
Any tips for aspiring players?
Play a lot and play with players better than you. Ask them why they do what they do. And finally, don't be afraid to do things differently, the game is so young there is so much room for growth and experimentation.
Any plans for 2022?
I plan to travel a lot this year for roundnet but no specific plans on where or with whom.
What's your hype song?