While Adelaide’s queer social scene is small, it’s volleyball club is thriving. Jess Jones caught up with the president of the Adelaide Spikers to chat competitions, diversity, and fitness.

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Adelaide might be a small city, but its LGBTI volleyball club, the Spikers, is world-class.

Over the years they’ve competed in some impressive international games, including the Outgames in Montreal and Copenhagen, as well as the Gay Games in Sydney and Chicago.

The club also hosts an annual tournament sponsored by SAMESH, a South Australian community health organisation providing support and services for sexual health and HIV.

When they’re not competing, the Adelaide Spikers get together in Torrensville on Thursday nights for social games in a fun atmosphere.

“We certainly participate in competitions, but the primary aim is to be a social place,” says club president Sam Hilbink.

The club was established back in 1995. It’s still going strong, despite being in a smaller city without the same LGBTI population of other centres.

Roughly 40 players routinely come along to play volleyball with the club.

“We have a few different challenges to our sister clubs in Sydney and Melbourne—to survive 22 years we think is quite a big achievement, and something we’re very proud of,” says Hilbink.

With Adelaide offering a relatively small queer social scene, including just one gay bar, the handful of local rainbow sports clubs provide a much-needed safe space for people to get together with other LGBTI folks.

“For a lot of people, this might be their only regular social outing in the gay community,” Hilbink says.

Hilbink has been with the club for five years. He played volleyball in high school, only returning to the sport when he joined the Spikers after having spent some time travelling.

“I was looking for a way to get involved in the community again,” he says.

“I really enjoyed it, getting back into some exercise and socialising as well. It’s a really friendly atmosphere, and I felt included from the moment I started.”

Now as club president, Hilbink aims to give all new members the same experience he had of feeling welcomed from their first day.

Given that it’s “not the biggest club”, the Spikers boast a fabulously diverse membership. Players are all ages, from teens to their sixties, and from all kinds of cultural backgrounds from around the world.

The club is even lucky enough to have one member who moonlights as a DJ, and brings along his decks to keep the atmosphere groovy during social games.

Players are also at different places in terms of their fitness level and background with sports. People who might not think of themselves as fit or sporty can definitely play.

“It’s a good sport in that it does improve fitness, but you don’t need to be fit to start with,” explains Hilbink.

The Spikers are always welcoming new members.

If you’re in Adelaide, you can find them on Facebook before heading along to a social game.

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