With Beach Day right around the corner, I thought I'd share the fascinating history of Spike Ball, a game Winston Churchill famously described as "Savage".
Spike Ball owes its roots to an ancient Greek game called Spalaka Bol, which loosely translates into 'Contest of the Palm'.
In hopes of gaining Zues' favour, every summer shepherds would gather in teams of two, to bat a squishy bull's testicle off a hide drawn across a wooden hoop.
Gaining in popularity, by 776 BCE, the shepherd's game was represented at the 2nd Olympiad, and enjoyed by politicians and paupers alike from Sparta to Ithica.
Centuries later in Rome, Spalaka Bol evolved into Spocahzo Bocce, which means 'Marco, stand over there.'
Spocahzo Bocce shares the same basic rules as its predecessor except now they played with a meatball.
In 69 CE, newly crowned Emperor Marcus Otho kicked off 100 Spike Ball tournaments in 100 days, to pacify and distract the masses from his weird haircut (he was trying something new).
2 months into the Emperor's reign, military General Aulus Vitellius, overthrew Marcus Otho and seized the throne.
To distance himself from Marcus and his weird haircut, the new Emperor Vitellius outlawed the game of Spocahzo Bocce.
For over two millennia, the game continued in secret, held underground in remote mountain villages, and later, French monasteries.
By the early 21st century, with the addition of board shorts, Spike Ball became the sport know today.
You should know, that there are many who dispute the Greek origins of Spike Ball.
Some say there are much much older recordings of what is known as the 'savage' game.
In 1978, a German anthropologist discovered ancient cave drawings in the Kunene Region of Namibia.
These drawings, estimated to be 17,000 years old, depict images of grey lanky figures hitting a small ball, at a round trampoline.
Could it be, as ancient astronaut theorists suggest, the game of Spike Ball was gifted to our prehistoric ancestors, by technologically advanced celestial travellers, to teach us agriculture and mathematics?
We may never know.
Sign up for Beach Day Spike Ball Tournament at the gym.
Teams of 2. Each team is guaranteed two games.
Saturday, July 21st @ 130p.