BERKELEY, Calif. — Failing to relive the glory afforded to him in high school by being a mid-tier varsity water polo player, Cal freshman Dominic Hughes has poured his heart and soul into a new favorite pastime.

“My fragile, fragile ego’s been in, like, freefall ever since I arrived here last month,” explained Hughes while slamming a tiny ball into a tiny net on the Glade. “But ever since I discovered Spikeball, it’s been propped up by a precarious, Jenga-like support system, which is, like, a total relief. Once I saw five consecutive games being played exclusively by other dudes in the 5’10” to 6’2”, moderately athletic range, I knew I was home.”

Hughes, having missed a rebound by his opponent, went chasing the ball half-hunched-over as it accelerated gently down the hill.

“Can’t let that happen again,” Hughes wheezed through a thousand-yard stare upon fetching the ball. “The bros will never take me back if I can’t keep up. Without the hometown glory of being good at throwing a ball into a net, my options for forming a new personality are pretty limited. It’s either get good at this, get really into rock climbing, or form really strong opinions about films starring Timothee Chalamet. I need this more than words can say.”

Hughes’ playing partner, Cal junior Junior Oldman Jr., had a different perspective on the sport.

“Spikeball is really just a way to release tension for me. Classwork piling up? BOOM, pass to Dominic. Unsure if the friendships I make over short-lived hobbies will withstand the test of time? POW, crush the opponent. Angry because I don’t know why it’s called Spikeball when the ball is pretty smooth to the touch and not spikey at all? BAM, hit the rebound.”

At press time, the number of Spikeball games on the Glade was seen superseding the Glade’s area, leading to an invasion of Doe Library.

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