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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Broomball

Walking out of my house, heading to South Suburban Ice Arena, with a broom in one hand and duct tape in the other, I felt a little ridiculous. In my head, I pictured my debut as me surging over the ice towards my team, complete with a hokey stop spraying ice into the air. But broomball is a game, where even though played on the ice, participants wear street shoes, so the hockey stop would have to wait for another day.
The only prop needed for this game, which originated in Canada, is a broom with a duct taped bristles. Lucky for us, there was a veteran broom ball player who supplied actual broom ball sticks, which are aluminum shafts with a rubber triangle at the bottom. There are two types of balls to play with. One is larger and looks like a volleyball, the other is smaller and looks like a basketball you would find in an arcade game.
Game time. After the draw was taken we were all slip sliding to the ball and slapping it across the courts. This was a pick up game with players ranging from 7 to 47 years old, and the sole purpose was for fun. We didn’t have pennies, which made it hard to identify who was on our team.
But it didn’t take long for us to start recognizing “the enemy”, start talking and start passing. The ball was beginning to be controlled and suddenly I felt like I was back on the lacrosse field. Especially, when a seven year old kid set up a pick and I landed right in the middle of it. Wipe out number one. Little Rascal.
All Right strategy time, I started thinking back to the high school and college lacrosse days. We set someone up behind the goal and tried to make cuts toward it to shoot, but the other team’s goalie was fearless, stopping every shot. The best shots on goal occurred when a powerhouse player used all their might to slap that ball all the way to the corner of the net. Swoosh.
The best luck I had at scoring was when a second ball was added into the mix. This one was larger, the volleyball sized one, and it was much easier to control. When we had both balls on our side and the goalie was focused on saving one ball, I shot the other in, with all my might. But the seven year old jumped in the air and slapped it right down to the ground. The cheering of my team stopped. Thanks a lot kid.
To switch it up, I moved over to the defensive end by the goalie, trying to keep the ball from making any rides in. There was the seven year old, he sure plays tight defense. He took a shot with the small ball and I backed up the goalie and swept it out. After it was cleared I heard victory cheers. I whipped around to see our goalie sliding through the ice on his stomach, and the ball had landed in the right corner pocket over his head. AH! The young tot should have been hoisted into the air. He took our strategy of distracting with one ball and scoring with the other. We should have copyrighted that move!
After a few more shots on goal, wipeouts and taking more beatings from a seven year old the lights started to flicker. The rec center was closing but I knew I would be going home to brush up on strategy and even game film to take that seven year old down.
But all ridiculousness aside, broomball is a game that most anyone can play and most anyone should.

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