A new game in town

Hantis is a unique hybrid of ping-pong, tennis, volleyball and sometimes dodge ball. Instead of using paddles to hit the ball, the selected method is using your body. It is also a non-contact sport.

Four lengthy tables are lined up to make a square and they are set three to five feet apart. Once the tables are in place, the teams must figure out if they are going to make it a tournament. In this case, you can either play one, three, five or seven game matches. Whichever team reaches 21 points first and is ahead by two wins the game.

In order to choose a server, the two teams line up against each other and do Rock-Paper-Scissors. Once a team has had five serves per server, the serve moves to the other team.

However, when a player is serving, the opponent is not allowed to bat the ball away. In this sense, the rules are like basketball.

Even though Hantis is a hodge-podge of hand sports, it is still a unique way to have fun.

“It’s for people that want to mix sports together and get the exciting experience of all these different elements,” Ben Fatherree said. “That’s where sports are going.”

Fatherree is president of the Hantis Club at Northern Kentucky University. Not only is he the president, Fatherree invented the game in 2005 as a junior at Scott County High School in Georgetown, Ky.

It all started with a group of 20 students in a media technology class.

“We had tables, like banquet tables, and one of my friends wanted to play hand ping-pong,” Fatherree said. He and his friend started bouncing a tennis ball from one table to the other.

“The rules kind of came up on their own and evolved,” Fatherree said. “We didn’t sit down and write them out. Whenever something weird happened with the ball, we would say ‘OK, hold on, the ball can’t hit you three times’ or something.”

In Hantis, the ball can only be hit twice in a row by the same person; three times is a penalty. Also, no cupping is allowed. You more or less smack the ball.

The made-up activity spread throughout Scott County High School in a matter of weeks — in the cafeteria, the media lab and even the woodshop.

“We had people lined up outside the classroom during class time (to watch),” Fatherree said.

After high school, Fatherree and his friends wanted to keep the sport going.

“We would hold ‘underground tournaments’ because they were in people’s basements,” he said. “Then we would charge an entry fee to watch.”

Since then, Fatherree has been an advocate for making Hantis a known sport. The Hantis Club has held six tournaments at NKU.

“We do not have a tournament to promote right now due to (inadequate) space,” Fatherree said.

However, if you are a first-year student, you may have remembered a Hantis tournament going on at freshman orientation where 20-30 people were lined up at each table to watch.
In addition to the freshman orientation, Fatherree is proposing the game to physical education teachers at elementary and high school.

“It’s a non-contact sport,” Fatherree said, “So you can have boys and girls playing each other. This is a sport a ten-year-old could play.”

Fatherree is trying to spread Hantis throughout the region in order to have regional tournaments. Since it is spreading, Fatherree and the other Hantis founders drew out a rule book which is in the process of being patented.

“We just want to get it out there,” Fatherree said. “My ultimate goal is to make it an Olympic sport.”

For more information about Hantis and a more in-depth look at the rules and set-up, go to http://www.hantis.net/.

Story by Jennifer Parker