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Screenshot: YouTube

Spikeball evangelists — from its top-ranked players to the company at the epicenter of its growth — have aspirations beyond it being merely a toy or a lawn game for frat bros, culminating this weekend at the Spikeball Nationals in Richmond, Va.

The big picture: Fighting against that "fratty" image has been a challenge, but Spikeball has slowly but surely entered the mainstream and earned the label of "sport."

  • Media: ESPN televised 2 marquee tournaments last year, one in Lancaster, Pa. and the other on New York's Coney Island.
  • Sponsors: Spikeball has an official apparel partner in Savage Ultimate and an official beer sponsor in Landshark Lager.
  • Season format: The 2019 Tour Series consisted of 3 Tour Stops and a Grand Slam in each region (Chicago, Lancaster, Santa Monica, Nashville). The Richmond stop is the end of the line.

How to play: Spikeball is played 2 vs. 2. To start a point, the serving team hits the ball down onto the net so that it ricochets up at their opponents.

  • 3 touches: The returning team has up to 3 alternating hits (think bump, set, spike) to return the ball back onto the net. If a team fails to return the ball, the rally ends and the other team gets a point.
  • No boundaries: After the serve, players can move anywhere around the net to play the ball. If a defender impedes or collides with an offender, the infracted player can demand a replay of the point.
  • Scoring: Points are scored when the ball hits the rim, the ground, or bounces more than once on the net. Games are typically played to 11, 15 or 21 and must be won by 2 points.

Go deeper: How Spikeball was founded

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.