ASHBURN — The Washington Redskins concluded their offseason work with intense competition on the field. It wasn’t a football field, though.
The Redskins players have become hooked on Spikeball this offseason, a game invented in 1989 that resembles volleyball being played on a trampoline.
“This was my first time playing it,” linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said. “I’d never heard of it.”
Punter Tress Way brought the game in a few years ago during the cold offseason months.
“I don’t like running, so I wanted to do something else for cardio,” he explained.
The game caught on, and this year, Redskins strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart set up a handful of nets for players to use during Thursday conditioning sessions.
That led to a teamwide tournament during this year’s OTAs. Spikeball values speed and lateral quickness to chase down the ball as it travels in different directions.
“It favors the little dudes, definitely,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “The little DBs win a lot, but we’ve had some good runs with the linebackers.”
This year’s inaugural title match pitted receiver Trey Quinn and quarterback Case Keenum against specialists Way and Nick Sundberg.
Way and Sundberg were gracious in victory.
“Those dudes were freaking good,” Way said. “The level of effort Trey puts out cannot be matched, and Case can spike it with both hands. We scrambled and got away with one.”
As he was recounting the title match, though, controversy reared its head.
Offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, overhearing Way’s account, interrupted to point out that he is the true “Spikeball champ.”
Doesn’t the game favor smaller athletes, though?
“Well, he’s just a freak athlete,” Way said. “The laws of physics don’t really apply to him. He did well initially, but we did the tournament at the same time the big guys were on sleds.”
There was no shortage of Redskins players willing to stake their claim to the throne.
Cornerback Fabian Moreau sang the praises of the game, then added, “Me and Cromartie are the champs. Let everybody know that.”
The snag? Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wasn’t in town when the title matches were being conducted.
All agreed that it was a good way to break up the monotony of spring workouts.
“Normally the games last about 30 minutes,” said receiver Darvin Kidsy, who paired with fellow Texan Josh Doctson. “It gets super competitive.”
For now, though, they’re all chasing Way and Sundberg.
“Nick is the best passer on the team, and I pride myself on getting a little creative and crafty with shots,” Way said.
Kidsy offered a competing perspective.
“Well, they’ve got a lot of time to practice,” he said of the specialists.