The sport of scraperball: Broomball south of the bridge

Sam Wallace, Lode Writer

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In these often warm months, while the stifled grass in front of Walker begins to be revealed courtesy of the diligent efforts of IRHC, and our last free glucose spike courtesy of the cocoa shack begins to fade from memory, thoughts of broomball might not take great priority in our busy minds. But while we lament the all too brief Broomball season, we can take comfort in knowing that we played a far superior form here at the Houghton Tech. You see, Broomball is not an exclusively Michigan Tech tradition. From the cornfields of Iowa, to the bagel shops of New York City, and even to the Mel Pearsons of Ann Arbor, a sport they call broomball is played. However, its resemblance to the religion that we know and love might be less than striking.

The first thing that would stand out is the venue. It is played on a full sized hockey rink, which makes it look like a rather overly spacious affair for those of us used to the fifty-one foot long rink we have here that allows for good quick play. There is also a hockey net, which cannot provide the echoing thud that broomball-scorers here are so accustomed to. Tactics are also quite different, with players opting to spend a disproportionate amount of time on their two feet.

But the greatest shortcoming of outsider version of broomball is this: it is not played with a broom. While here, encased in every sports implement under plenty of duct tape is a useful, if mangled, sweeping device. They, on the other hand, play with purpose-built devices with nary a bristle, and more resemblance to a poorly designed ice scraper (which in more temperate climes, may be considered a novelty itself). For this reason, we will refer to this sport by its proper name: scraperball.

Of course there are some similarities between broomball and scraperball. There are around six players on a team, the object the players chase around is a ball, and shoes are the customary footwear. So while appreciating the diversity of ways that people play the game, we should be very grateful that our version is objectively superior.