Broomball: More Than Meets the Ice

Written by Elise Glaser

If you ask the general population for their consensus on running on ice, the majority will tell you “don’t do it.” Running on a surface with minimal friction leads to falling, and falling is no fun. However, there exists a sport in which running on ice and falling are the entire point. It’s called ice broomball, and here at Colorado College it is taken very seriously.

Photo by Elizabeth Baker

Broomball is most closely related to hockey, as it is played on an ice rink and involves two teams trying to score goals. However, instead of skates, players wear shoes; instead of pucks, players chase a heavy ball; instead of hockey sticks, players use “brooms”: sticks with triangular rubber heads. The rules are very similar to hockey and include penalties for offsides, icing, and high sticks.

Chris Starr, Director of Recreation at the Fitness Center, explained that broomball at CC has been an intramural sport for over 26 years. Although many students didn’t know what broomball was until coming to the school, it is one of the most popular intramurals. Part of the fun is that “you don’t see as many of the discrepancies in skill that you see in hockey or other sports; pretty much everyone can play at the same kind of level,” Braeden Young, a broomball supervisor, said. The majority of the students who sign up have never played before, therefore most players are starting out with similar skill.

So how does a sport get so much involvement when few have heard of it, and even fewer have played? Young chalked it up to the general attitude of the students: “Everyone likes to be active regardless of their skill, which is awesome,” he said. Students often join sports regardless of experience. A group of first-year winter starts, for example, joined the broomball league under the name “Winterstars.” “Running on ice was a struggle,” said Sarah Pokelwaldt, one of the members. Meanwhile, Madison Wilkinson, another Winterstars member, said that she was “just not coordinated at all.” Regardless of these challenges, both girls spent a lot of the game on the ice and were not crushed when the scoreboard showed an 11-1 defeat. The score was never the motive for playing, rather it was the comradery and fun competition.

Starr believes CC gets a lot of intramural involvement due to the competitive nature: “Our student body by nature is incredibly competitive; it provides an outlet for that competitiveness,” she said. CC students will put maximum effort into whatever they do, whether it be their schoolwork or sports, even sports they’ve never played before. Many students gather for intramurals as it provides an outlet to compete, get physical, and spend time with other students.

Due to our involved, inclusive, competitive nature, CC is ranked #4 in the Princeton Review for best intramural involvement. Perhaps one of the reasons we are ranked so highly is that students don’t just sign up for the sports they know like soccer or basketball, but they also throw themselves into sports like ice broomball or innertube water polo. It’s not only the students that bring about great intramural involvement, but it’s the benefits of intramurals as well. “Recreation allows us to transcend some of those barriers and fences we put around ourselves,” Starr said. “Whatever those things are that make you, you, and me, me, become even on a level playing field like broomball.” Intramurals also help maintain friendships. According to Young, “playing on intramurals, especially as upperclassmen, helps you continue the same team, therefore reconvening with different groups of friends and keeping social ties.”

While many would say no to a sport that involves running on ice, CC students often say yes without hesitation. Whether it’s because we know intramurals will always end up being fun regardless of the score, or because we want to see our friends fall on their faces, we will be there.

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