Last week I described my experience riding all-terrain vehicles in Pismo Beach. Once again, I found myself in an extreme sports environment this Saturday. I went broom-balling in Anaheim for a birthday party on Saturday night.
It’s an interesting story about how I ended up playing broom ball last weekend. For those of you who are unfamiliar with broom ball, as I was, it is essentially a simpler version of hockey. You play the game on ice, with the same-sized hockey goals. Except, the players do not wear skates and the sticks look more like shovels with a red, hard plastic attachment at the end to hit the puck with. The puck is merely a mini dodgeball.
Last week, a friend suggested that I join her at her friend’s birthday party. I was hesitant because, firstly, I did not know the birthday girl and, secondly, I felt weird crashing a party where I knew only a few of the attendees. However, my friend Anum mentioned that they would be playing broom ball, which seized my attention. I had heard of broom ball but didn’t know anything about it. Naturally, I was intrigued.
I decided to make the social sacrifice, and attended the birthday party. We’ve all done it. It is just awkward coming into that type of situation because you do not know if the other guests will perceive you as a “tag-a-long,” and you dread the introduction with the unfamiliar birthday girl.
Fortunately for me, the birthday girl, Atikah, was one of the nicest persons I have ever met, and I happened to know a good number of the guests, as well. Being a sheer force at broom ball wasn’t a bad perk either, as I say with the utmost humility.
Broom ball, at least how we played, is not nearly as formal as hockey. We had over 40 players on the ice at the same time, and often times saw bumblebee-soccer-type play, where a group of people hover around the ball at one point replicating the chaotic atmosphere of a beehive. Eventually, people realized that the key to the game was opening up and passing, as it was difficult to run on the ice, and it hurt very much to get whacked in the bumblebee concentrations.
Broom ball was especially fun because I had some previous experience with hockey. In middle school, my brothers and I were infatuated with the NHL 2002 video game for Playstation 2, and as a result, grew a passion for the Los Angeles Kings. However, we lost interest in the sport after the 2004 lockout, which saw the whole league shut down over disagreements concerning the economic aspects of the game.
The hockey knowledge I obtained from my adolescence translated into skillful play. My childhood friend Muhibb, someone who shared my childhood hockey experience, and I combined for five goals and six assists. I know it’s sad to keep track of one’s own statistics in a 40-person broom ball game, where almost everyone has no interest in hockey, but success in any sport always brings pride.
What makes broom ball fun, however, is that you get to enjoy hockey without knowing or abiding by the strict rules.
We had 20-person teams, slid across the ice on our own shoes, with no padding, and our only object was to get the ball into the net any way we could.
Not to mention the joy of trash talking to our friends on the other side, and occasionally throwing a check, or hit, at them when they looked away.
Broom ball does not require much athleticism and is easy to pick up. Considering the appeal of hockey in Southern California, if you play with a group of friends, only one or two will be somewhat broom ball-coordinated.
It is a timeless game, and one that everyone should give a shot. All you need is to convince at least 20 people, the more the merrier and cheaper. Head over to KHS Ice in Anaheim and rent out the rink.
You will not regret it.