Sunday, October 7, 2007


Ever since I arrived in Iqaluit, I've heard about Broomball. Almost every male I've met in this town plays it. I've never had any contact with this sport until arriving here. Yesterday, I gave it a try. Let me give a primer to those who know nothing about broomball (which was me until a few months ago).

Broomball is played on ice with shoes. If this sounds absurd, wait 'til you see the special shoes developed for this purpose. These shoes first seem pretty brilliant, when you step out onto the ice and it feels as if it's spongy and soft beneath your feet. But when you try to move with any speed, the reality of shoes on ice hits you - ice is slippery, it's impossible to stop on, and is hard when you fall on it. Apparently, new shoes make a big difference. However, I'd say it's hard to avoid the laws of physics.

Broomball doesn't use brooms. Well, they call them brooms, but they're really short sticks with rubber bits at the ends that look best suited to smacking people in the ass. Maybe once broomballers used real brooms, in the early days before the special shoes were developed.

Broomball is played with a ball. They're about the size of a cantaloupe, and look like balls played with by young children. Except that they're smacked around by strange sticks, brandished by fully grown adults trying not to fall down.

Photos will follow. Probably of me flailing around on the ice with my pads falling off, trying to use my "broom" usefully. Thankfully, we wear helmets.

p.s. - in my broomball research, I discovered a broomball team in Illinois called - I'm not making this up - The Blazing Ptarmigans.

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