As the brand new spring roundnet league comes to an end, the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department looks forward to hosting the decades-old All-Comer track and field meets this summer.
“We have an awesome parks department,” said Zach Welsh, a roundnet league member. “They do all kinds of cool events for the community.”
Every Monday evening from April 10 to May 15, the roundnet league met at Civic Stadium to play roundnet, also known as spikeball. Every Monday starting June 19 until August 28, Civic Stadium will hold the All-Comer track and field meets for anyone over 2 years old.
“It's amazing to watch these toddlers run hurdles for the first time, and their smiling faces as they jump over, and hop and kinda crawl over these hurdles,” said Billy Reeves, the recreation coordinator for Bellingham Parks and Recreation. “It's just really entertaining and uplifting.”
Reeves said the meets have been running for 30 years or so.
“I've taken on the opportunity of continuing this legacy of All-Comer,” Reeves said. “It's a longstanding tradition of Bellingham.”
In addition to holding the All-Comer meets, Reeves registered for Bellingham’s roundnet league, joined by his office partner, Patrick Ulinski.
Ulinski is the athletics coordinator for Bellingham Parks & Recreation.
When Ulinski started in February 2022, one of his goals was to bring some new and interesting programs to the city in addition to the sports and athletics that have been running for 20 to 30 years.
He started the brand new league where athletes age 18 and up can compete weekly in roundnet.
Each team had two to four people. This spring, the league had eight teams split into two divisions. Every Monday, they played double-header matches, allowing every team to play a total of 12 games over the six-week season.
Ulinski found that almost exclusively 30-year-olds registered as captains.
Spikeball became popular around the time Ulinski, Reeves and Welsh attended college.
Welsh remembers when he attended Western Washington University, it was around 2014 when spikeball became popular on campus. All the people who would normally play frisbee started playing spikeball on the Old Main lawn.
“It's so much fun,” Welsh said. “It's really easy to make a community with the people who play.”
Welsh said that the roundnet league is a great way for people new to Bellingham to meet people and engage in some competition.
“One day, I put on some Reggae music, and it was particularly competitive with the team we were playing,” Welsh said.
They went all out, according to Welsh. He had a lot of fun going toe to toe with other people who were aiming to get in a good workout.
“I think it was really cool that the city put this together,” Welsh said.
People of all skill levels can join the league and sign up for the All-Comer track and field meets.
“It's worth coming to check out for sure,” Reeves said.
Malia Fraser (she/her) is a sports reporter for The Front. She is studying journalism and environmental studies. In her free time, she loves to run and take care of her many plants. You can reach her at email@example.com.