SOUP gives Broomball tutorial

Participants scrimmage with Residence Hall Director Nadir Carlson.
Photo by Sebastian Evans.

On Monday, Jan. 27, Student Organized University Programming (SOUP) organized an event to give Lawrence students a chance to familiarize themselves with a long-standing Lawrence tradition. Broomball, a hockey-like sport, has been a wintertime staple sport for Lawrentians for years. 

The crowd at the event was small, but that meant the stakes were low. Erin Buenzli, the director of Wellness and Recreation, asserted that the rules are simple, and everyone is a novice because of the nature of it. On the frozen surface of Ormsby Lake, Buenzli taught the small crowd about broomball. It’s a unique mix between golf, soccer, hockey and… balancing skills. The lineup of players is the same as hockey, with six players total to a team — a goalie, two defenders and three people on offense. The stick (which is called the broom) is used mostly to move the ball around, but players can also stop the ball with their hands or feet. Freshman Ethan Schaner ran around the ice, commenting on how much harder it was to move during a regular game due to the fact that the ice was swept off between plays to make it extra difficult. Buenzli’s tip for moving around faster on the ice was to move around the edges where it was not so slick. 

Beginning in the 1970s or ‘80s, Lawrence had an intramural broomball league that played regularly every winter. Buenzli once played on a faculty and staff team, and when she helped to plan this broomball tournament for the Winter Carnival, she was contacted by many Lawrence alumni who were excited to hear that the tradition had come back. Now, the broomball tournament that happens here every winter runs in conjunction with the Winter Carnival series of events organized by SOUP. 

The event series is generally planned for just before midterm season during Winter Term and aims to provide engaging opportunities for students in the harshest of winter months. Greg Griffin, the director of Warch and Student Activities, wanted to provide opportunities to bring students out of the mid-winter slump that tends to fall over the campus. 

These events began on Monday, Jan. 27, and will continue until Sunday, Feb. 2. The schedule ran as follows: a scavenger hunt and the broomball introduction was on Monday, a ping pong tournament on Tuesday, a ski trip on Wednesday that students signed up to attend and Grocery Bag Bingo on Thursday. Coming up, the final events include the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra (LSO) concert and a basketball game on Friday, Jan. 31, followed by the broomball tournament, a gingerbread house competition an extra showing of the movie “Abominable” in the cinema on Saturday, Feb. 1. The finale, as is tradition and arguably the biggest event of the carnival, is the President’s Ball. The week is rounded out by volunteering events organized by the CCE on Sunday, Feb. 2. 

Buenzli conveyed that what she loves about winter carnival is the way so many groups collaborate to pull it together, but even more so that it is a way for so many to find fun things to do to embrace this season.