Three years ago, I was a wee and naïve freshman at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, trying to experience anything in the new and unfamiliar world we call a commuter college.
It was also at that time, through Wolf Pack and former Michigan Journal Sports Editor Chris Zadorozny, that I was suckered into playing an intramural sport.
But this wasn’t just any intramural sport. I’m talking about broomball.
For those of you who don’t know what broomball is, that fact that it’s a hybrid between hockey, lacrosse and soccer is a good place to start. Did I mention that you play it on ice and without skates, with the lone thing separating an epic wipeout and not making a fool out of yourself being tennis shoes? Yeah, that part is pretty important.
Now you see why I used the word suckered in when originally talking about how I joined broomball. But in fact, I feel nothing like that, at least three years later. Although I’ve been a defenseman and have never received the recognition I would so delightedly crave, it’s a blast and a wonderful part of my college experience as the sands in the hourglass start trickling down.
But last Thursday night against Tau Kappa Epsilon, I had finally received my vindication of why I play broomball and decide to take a bruising at least once per week; I had finally scored my first career goal.
Maybe that’s silly to you. It’s just a goal in an intramural game, why would you care so much? That’s true — technically, it’s just something I do because I want to have a memorable college experience. And there are better memories, like defeating the Phi Sigma Phi last fall for my first win while playing broomball.
But this is scoring a goal. I’m a man of high-powered offense in almost any sport, so for me, this was the cusp of three long years. I honestly don’t know how it happened. Usually, I rarely make the trek down the ice, rather staying put in our own zone to help cushion our goalie (who that night, was the Fieldhouse’s world-famous, Alex Mich). However, the game had already started and our forwards were not there, leaving the dirty work to someone else. So why not the team captain? Of course, eh?
Playing in net for what could’ve been the first time since I were a freshman, Mich gave the dark blue broomball a mighty heave, nearly reaching TKE’s blue line. With the TKE players in our zone, I had a full opportunity to capitalize.
Between myself and the TKE net stood a breakaway, one of my worst enemies. Somehow, I did, managing to not fall on the ball as it cascaded down the worn ice, probably some of the best we’ve experienced in quite some time. Rather, I decided to guide the ball with my right foot, not by choice, but by the fact that I’d pass it with momentum. It bounced off the opposing goalie, leading to a easy backwards dangle into the net, something that wasn’t quite so easy up until earlier that night.
Now, for the celebration, which didn’t really happen. At first, for whatever reason, I didn’t think it was a goal. Could you really blame my disbelief when I’d never tried to do something like that? It simply was out of character. But when the scoreboard flashed 1-0, I knew it was a reality. That, and Wolverines hockey goalie Micah Collier, our usual referee during my time playing broomball, was yelling to me about it counting.
It was a pretty cool feeling having someone like Collier, who we regularly work with for sports pieces, feel emotion over something that I did. At other universities, this probably would never be the case. But here at UM-Dearborn, it’s something I hold special. The personal interactions with players, even through an intramural sport they ref, is priceless.
It’s their ice; their home. Many talented hockey players have netted shots with ease and grace. But twice a week, they let someone like me take to it in order to have construct a memorable college experience. On that night, it just so happened to be my first goal.