Ball Game Manufacturers React To Being Banned At Massachusetts Beaches

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Going to the beach in Massachusetts sometime soon?

If you are, just be careful about what activities you participate in. If it involves a ball, it might not be legal.

On Monday, May 18, the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs addressed a letter to all beach managers across the Commonwealth, telling them what should and should not be allowed at beaches amid the coronavirus pandemic.

One passage states:  “Organized ball games should not be allowed activity including, but not limited to, volleyball, Kan Jam, spikeball, football, soccer, Kadima, and bocce.”

When asked to clarify if wiffle ball was included on the ban list, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs clarified that it is.

“Any organized ball games are not allowed,” a department spokesman told New Boston Post.

When asked for comment, the department referred New Boston Post to a May 22 press release.
Much of it focuses on what the state sees as a need to continue social distancing to prevent coronavirus from spreading, including at properties managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

“We know residents are eager to head to beaches beginning this weekend as the weather warms up. But we cannot stress enough how important it is to remember we’re not back to normal yet,” state Senator Nick Collins (D-South Boston) said in the press release. “The bottom line is that if you are heading to the beaches and parks, it is not business as usual. So it is imperative that everyone be aware of and follow DCR’s guidelines so that everyone who wants to can safely enjoy being outdoors while mitigating unnecessary exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

But what do the manufacturers of some of these games that are banned think of the rules?

Stephen Mullany, one of owners of The Wiffle Ball Inc, of Shelton. Connecticut, told New Boston Post that he is not an expert on the pandemic. A Connecticut resident, he said he would like to think that the people making the decision in Massachusetts likely know more about it than he would.

“You hope they know what’s going on to stop the spread of stuff,” Mullany said in a telephone interview. “We don’t have a choice in the matter. We’ve never been through this, so I don’t really know.”

However, Bob Considine, the founder of, a web site headquartered in Yorktown Heights, New York that sells and manufactures Kadima paddles, does not think the ban makes sense.

“Pro-Kadima is like the original social distancing game!” Considine told New Boston Post in an email message. “Suggested play is starting at 10 feet apart and working back to 20 feet. Under the linked guidelines, a mask should not be required. Other Sports like tennis and Paddle Tennis, & Pickleball are being played with the adjustments of each player serving with their own ball.”

According to Beach and Games To Go, Kadima is played in groups with a small ball and paddles. Typically, teams have two players on them.

“Players of teams stand equal amounts of distance from one another,” the rules say on the web site. “The object is for players to volley the ball between them using paddles. If a team lets the ball hit the sand or water, that team is out of the round. The last team maintaining their volley at the end of the round scores one point. When one team gets to a score of five points, that team is the winner of the game.”

The manufacturer of Spikeball took a different approach. In the spirit of “Every knock a boost,” a company spokesman told New Boston Post the company appreciates the state’s recognition.

“We are honored that we are considered an important enough beach activity to be specifically banned, however, we wish they would have capitalized our name :),” wrote Izzy Parizeau, social media and community manager of Spikeball Inc., of Chicago, Illinois, in an email message to New Boston Post.

Spikeball’s web site explains how the game, also known as roundnet, is played.

“Roundnet is a team sport played by two teams consisting of two players each,” the web site states. “Opposing team members line up across from each other with the Spikeball™ roundnet set in the center. A point begins when the server hits the ball off the net towards the opposing player.”

“After the service, there are no sides or boundaries,” it continues.

“The object of the game is to hit the ball off the net in such a way that the opposing team cannot successfully return it. A team is allowed up to three touches to return the ball onto the net. Once the ball is played off the net, possession switches to the opposing team. The rally continues until a team is unable to legally return the ball. Players may move as they wish during a point, so long as they don’t physically impede the opponent’s play on the ball.”

It is unclear when the state will lift its ban on organized games that use a ball at the beach.