Archive for the 'Broomball' Category

Dear Diary, (warning – that’s the kind of post this is)

Posted by Karen in Broomball, Day to Day, Family, Tonsillectomy, Weather.
Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 at 10:22 pm

So I realized I have been kind of hating winter.  Winter is so long here that even for fans like me, the thrill of the cold crisp air and the beauty of ice crystals and snow flakes fades after awhile, and then you need things like broomball and snowshoeing to see you through.  Well we haven’t gotten any good snow for like 2 months, and el tonsillectomy caused me to remove myself from the Grim Sweepers for the season.  Everybody wants to be a Sweeper (duh), and I didn’t want to take up a spot on the team just in the hopes of getting well enough in time to get a few games in. 

However, once I started experiencing serious dread every day at dog-walking time just because I SOOOOO didn’t want to go outside, I realized I was in desperate need of some winter fun.  So I decided to go to broomball practice and see how it went.  I had been working on getting myself back in shape, riding our elliptical, jogging little bits with Bruno, so I felt ready.  I thought, I’ll just play goalie, take it easy, it’ll be fun.  It wasn’t fun.  It was terrible. 

I should have seen it coming when I was flooded with sheer terror just walking from the car to the ice.  But at that point I was already committed.  I let 3 goals in a row go past me, and I felt like I just stood there and wa20080203193325_nate_broomball.jpgtched them.  Tears welled up in my eyes and it was all I could do to not have a total meltdown.  Nate, having knocked in 2 of those goals, came up to me to see how I was doing, saw the tears, heard me say "Idon’tlikethisI’mnothavingfunIwannagohome!" and realized he needed to switch teams.  Smart boy.  I took a moment to breathe and reflect, and realized that if I let 3 goals go in, started crying, and went home, I would be THE BIGGEST LOSER EVER.  So I rallied.  Second half was better, and finally we got to go home.  And then I cried. 

I realized with shock that I was terrified of blood shooting out of my throat.  I logically know that I’m out of that window and no longer at risk of that happening again.  But the illogical part of me can’t stop seeing it and thinking it’s happening.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spit into a sink or on the sidewalk, just to check.  But it wasn’t until that practice that I realized it.  So Nate and I talked about it a bunch, and I did a good bit of thinking on it, because I was pretty freaked out about being that freaked out.

And then Tuesday’s Sweepers game came.  They were going to be short girls, so they had asked a girl from our buddy team, the Skraelings, to play, and Nate had asked a girl from his Walker team.  But that afternoon she told him stuff had come up and she’d rather not play.  Meanwhile, the temperature was dropping, the wind was increasing, and we were heading for a roughly -10 degree, windy night, with windchills at about -35. 

Sierra had been frantically chatting Nate and I throughout the day, saying things like, "They’re totally going to cancel it, right?  I mean this is insane!", and " I don’t understand why I am the only one freaking out about this!!!"  It was suddenly very clear to me.  Either Sierra was going to bail and the Sweepers would be really short on girls, o20080203153816_frozen_cody.jpgr she was going to go and face one of her greatest fears (being outside in subzero weather), and the Sweepers would still be a little short.  Either way, how could I not go? 

Sierra did not bail, and her courage gave me the inspiration I needed to face my own fears.  I had to get out there too.  So we went, we froze, we lost.  My heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest the whole time, but that probably just helped me stay warm!  In spite of letting in a few goals, I felt like I did ok overall, and was absolutely ecstatic at the end of it, because I DID IT.  I felt like myself again. 

I’ve had a few frighteningly realistic nightmares over the last few weeks involving lots of blood in my mouth, most recently Friday night.  So Saturday morning I went to broomball practice again, and made it a point to only spend about half my time in the goal, and the other half running around on the ice.  I needed to drill it into my brain that I am physically fine, not in quite as good of shape as I was pre-tonsillectomy, but fine.  Now I just need my mind to catch up with my body. 

(If you haven’t already, you HAVE to click on that picture of Cody.  It’s amazing!  Everyone looked some version of that by the end of the game, it was pretty crazy.)


Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Well, apparently I only post about broomball when we’re winning, so here’s a post – we won 4-0 tonight!  And I scored the shot I’ve wanted to make forever!  It was a sweet fast break, maybe 3 on 1 or 2 – hard to say, we had several like this that I wasn’t able to make.  I kept shanking it or going over the goal since their goalie was so good he’d be in position as soon as you got the pass.  This one was perfect, right to me, I had great forward momentum and didn’t have to break stride for the swing…  smack!  Screaming along the ice, it hit the goalie’s foot but was strong enough to push through.  YES!!

Everyone else played an amazing game, some great goals including Donnie’s signature pass-to-himself and score…  too pretty.  :)

Man, I love broomball and have fun every game, but I sure do like to win, too.  Hell yeah.

…’course, it’s just not the same without Karen.  Maybe a few more weeks and she can come practice with us.  Stupid tonsils.

I heart winter (again).

Posted by Karen in Broomball, Bruno, Family, Friends, Weather.
Sunday, March 18th, 2007 at 7:10 pm

This is very belated, but still needs to be written about.  I’m a fan of winter.  I’m a big fan of spring, summer, and fall too, but it seems like a lot of people either whine all winter long about the cold and the snow, or just kind of quietly suffer through it.  Not me.  I love it.  There are so many fun things you can only do during winter!  Broomball for example, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowball fights… 

So imagine my surprise when this year I found myself hating winter!  Before we left for Ghana and Scotland it was too warm so there was no ice for us to play broomball on – major bummer.  Then when we got back it was like a million below zero and we had to just jump in to broomball games, no fun practices with our awesome team to get us all excited.  And I had a cold.  So I kind of went to the games and froze my butt off and was miserable and whiny the whole time.  But then we had a great fun weekend session of play-till-you-can-physically-play-no-more broomball, and things started looking up. 

copy-of-pict3159.JPGAnd then it snowed.  Heaps and heaps of snow!  FINALLY!  Nate and I took Bruno snowshoeing at Powderhorn Park and the little buddy got pretty tuckered out.  He had been getting pretty short walks when it was way below zero, so he may not have been in primo shape.  And then it snowed heaps and heaps more just a few days later!  So I got to go snowshoeing two more days that weekend!  And it was the most perfect weather, all sunshine!

pict0029.JPGI took Nicole with me on the first day, her first time snowshoeing, awww.  We went to explore some trails along the Mississippi where I will be spending quite a bit of time this spring and summer.  There’s a small but wonderful oak savanna there that volunteers have worked really hard to restore and maintain, and even in the winter it was a sight to see.  I took this totally ridiculous picture of us.  I’m such a friggin genius that I thought I was wisely blocking the sun from my eyes. 

pict0031.JPGSierra went with me the next day, and we went to Fort Snelling State Park.  We took Bruno with us because I realized from the previous day that the trails would be packed down enough for him.  There are so many people here who love to play in the snow and it’s amazing how fast they get out in it!  It can make it hard to find some nice deep fresh stuff, which is what I prefer to snowshoe in, but it’s so great to know so many people are getting out there, getting exercise, enjoying the snow, the sun, the fresh air.  We went on a long hike around Pike Island, and there were so many people out walking, skiing, snowshoeing, so many dogs, so many deer!  Bruno was completely overstimulated.

pict0005.JPGSo I completely fell in love with winter again, and just in the nick of time.  It’s all melting now, and I would have been worried if I hadn’t enjoyed any of the season.  But now I am getting excited about shedding some layers, digging in the dirt, planting things, and getting to actually do some of the events I’ve been planning at work!

Quick update

Posted by Nate in Broomball, Bruno, Day to Day, Travel, Work.
Friday, February 2nd, 2007 at 12:11 pm

  1. We’re back!  Ghana and Scotland each deserve their own post, but the brief summary is: unbelievably cool.  Really interesting, educational, and fun, great people, great scenery, and delicious food and drink.
  2. Broomball is back!  This week we had games on Tuesday (we won 3-1, I scored by batting one in out of the air and Peter K had two amazing goals), Thursday (we won 2-0, I scored from the edge and Jason worked some serious magic), then have a makeup game scheduled tomorrow!  (plus normal games in the week, plus my team at work is playing Monday)  Holy broomball, Batman!
  3. It’s cold.  Really, really cold.  -9F air temp when I walked Bruno this morning, we only made it two blocks before his little paws got full of ice and he was limping so we hustled back — too fast, it turned out.  He got all excited running home and saw our neighbor and picked up speed and I caught my boot on the sidewalk and wiped out really hard on my bad knee.  Damn.  Probably ok, but man did that dog walk suck.
  4. Yep, cold.  The next three days the high temp is going to be maybe 0F with windchills in the -20 to -30 range.
  5. Karen got a job!!  She can post more, but briefly in her words: "I get to be outside in beautiful places, working with people and ecology, educating and raising awareness about issues that are important to me, and facilitating restoration and land conservation.  I pretty much feel like I just won the lottery.  Like I can’t believe I get to do all this stuff AND get paid for it!"
  6. Her having a steady job is actually a really excited new phase for us – when I arrived in St. Paul she had just quit the nonprofit she’d been with for years and picked up temp work before deciding to go back to school.  It’s been a hectic three years, and I gotta say I’m looking forward to this next step – and super proud of her.  Way to go, kid!

More as we continue to catch up and recoup from our trip – we’re both still fighting colds, her more than me.  Stupid colds.  Peace and stay warm!  Go Bears!

Contusions, Triple Toe Loops, and Zombies

Posted by Karen in Broomball.
Sunday, February 26th, 2006 at 9:29 pm

This weekend Coach Kastler and sidekick Mad-dog organized a little Grim Sweepers retreat at his family’s cabin near Webster, WI. Nate and I weren’t able to make it up there until late Saturday night, but when we finally arrived at almost midnight, we found the majority of the Sweepers – where else? Out on the ice of course! Peter had cleared snow from the ice on the lake to make a nice sized rink for us to play on, and they were out there with tiki torches, playing a modified game of broomball they were calling "Swarm", which sounded like it basically amounted to "everyone attack the guy with the ball". Nate and I joined in the action, and I gave Nate this: Well, actually only the top one. Wendy was responsible for the bottom one.

After one of the worst nights of sleep in my life because of a certain overstimulated puppy, and a hearty breakfast cooked by Chef Pedro, Nate and I headed out to the ice on our skates for our version of the Winter Olympics: ice dancing and pairs skating. It was truly inspiring. While we were perfecting triple toe loops, spin sequences, and lifts, some others cross country skied, snowshoed, and hiked. Our little dog-friend/canine-devil did very well with his first off-leash experience. He played with the other dogs, accompanied friends on trips around and across the lake, and overall got completely tuckered out. He’s been passed out for like the past 5 hours.

And then of course, there was more broomball. We finished with Peter’s new version of broomball, Zombie, where one person walks around like a zombie, and touches other people to turn them into zombies, who then do the same. They can be turned back either by a teammate hitting them with the ball, or by a goal being scored. It was awwwwwesome.

And so another Grim Sweepers season draws to a close, and what a wonderful way to go out. And now we’re sad. It is such a joy to spend time with each and every one of our teammates, and yet some of them we barely see during the rest of the year. Broomball is the glue that maintains those friendships. It’s also our reason for being insanely excited about freezing temperatures, and our means of fending off seasonal depression. Granted, there are a few things I won’t exactly miss:

And I did just this week get quite the urge to trade in the SmartWool socks for some flip flops. But I once again feel like the season went by way too fast, and I can’t help but wish we had more games, more practices, and more times like these:

Grrrrrrim Sweepers

Posted by Karen in Broomball.
Tuesday, February 7th, 2006 at 3:37 pm

So I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seat all day, dying to know how the Grim Sweepers fared in the first game of the broomball tournament last night. Well, let me give you a little re-cap.

Other team: Crying and whining about how we were playing too rough, only to turn around and tackle our players multiple times.

Ref: Gives one of our players who was going for the ball a 2-minute penalty for tripping, gives their team no penalties.

Me: "Get out of the crease please." (2 minutes later, to the same girl) "Get out of the crease please."
Other girl:
(Ok that last part is really just what I wanted to do)

One of our girls has a collision with one of their guys and tries to make a friendly joke. Guy then freaks out something about her being a girl, a tirade he then continues for the rest of the game. Basically, the guy has some deep-seeded issues with women athletes and should really go play in a mens-only league. Not to mention that he was playing with an illegal stick.

Our team: Scores two gorgeous goals.

Their team: Scores one very pretty goal.

Their team: Scores a super lame goal that bounced in off of one of our own players.

Our team: Scores another beautiful goal.

Our team: Scores a goal that bounces around in the net and a member of the other team even acknowledges it went in.

Ref: Calls no goal and says it didn’t go in. It’s now 3-2, Sweepers.

Their team: Big whiner guy wants to fight Peter because he thinks Peter was too rough, whine, whine. Nate gets in between them and tries to calm the guy down. Guy then wants to fight Nate. Nate wants to destroy him. Much shirt grabbing.

Ref: Somehow doesn’t see fit to stop play, even though there is shirt grabbing and near-fighting and everyone has stopped playing and is watching the about-to-be fight. (Somehow he didn’t seem to think it was his job to get the game under control. )

Other team: Takes a cheap shot while no one is looking and scores. It counts.

It’s now 3-3. We then had a variety of awesome opportunities but our shots were just off the mark or blocked. Our team is playing tentatively because they are simultaneously trying to kill us and whining about us playing too rough. I still can’t make sense out of that.

Game ends. Since it’s a tournament we go into overtime. 2 minutes, 4 on 4, 2 girls and 2 guys, no goalies. Dumb. All I can say about this is that we were completely thrown off. It was just too weird. I don’t even know what the score was, but we lost.

It wasn’t so much the losing that sucked. But to lose to such shady, slimy, whiny jerks, people that you can tell even off the ice you would hate because they’re just crappy people, that sucks. And what’s more, to lose when YOU ACTUALLY WOULD HAVE WON if you had had a decent ref!

Needless to say, we were all angry little balls of rage after the game. What to do? Drink beer! We headed to the Chatterbox, our friendly neighborhood pub, and after a pint (or 2) and some quality time with the teammates I so adore, the greatest teammates you could ever ask for and some of the greatest people I have ever known, I was feeling like no matter what we still always come out on top, we always win. Because even now that we’ve gotten good and the game has gotten more intense because we’re actually competitive, we still have the most fun and we still enjoy each other’s company more than any other team, guaranteed. Oh how I love my Grim Sweepers.

So as to not go out on that ugly note, we are going to keep on playing on our own and throwing scrimmages together for as long as the ice will hold. I already can’t wait to get out there and put last night’s game out of my mind forever. And I also think my lengthy message of complaint that I left today for the director of the broomball league about the world’s worst ref was a good step towards releasing a little more rage.

Broomball Ninja

Posted by Karen in Broomball.
Friday, January 27th, 2006 at 3:46 pm

I just realized that we left out one amaaaaazing thing from our game. By far my favorite play ever. Someone popped the ball up, and Scott unexpectedly jumped up and did the most wonderful soccer header, perfectly centering the ball to Peter L., who then smacked it in for a goal. Definitely the first assist of its kind for the Grim Sweepers. I’m glad this guy’s on our team. For anyone who doesn’t know Scott, he’s the ninja-looking fellow in this picture, duh, like he could be anyone else.

Hard fought

Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Friday, January 27th, 2006 at 10:12 am

That’s about what we looked like during Wednesday’s broomball game: in the zone. We played our toughest opponent yet, and every goal, every defensive clear, every scuffle on the boards was life or death. They were a really talented team – very fast, good passing, good shooting, and good positioning. I think we won in the end simply because we wanted it more. Captain Peter was running himself ragged every shift on the ice, I thought he was going to die. Karen made some great saves – as usual – and Peter L. knocked in two sweet goals with his patented from-the-knees-stick-drag. Awesome.

And even though I left Karen plenty of time to post this entry and save me from having to brag, she didn’t. So now you get to hear about the Best. Shot. Ever. Seriously. We’re talking a nice crossing pass from their team to the left boards (our left). Peter K. and I both take off to get there, trying to beat one of their Fasty McFasterson players, and I realize we’re going to be way out of position if we miss it. So I call Peter off, tell him to stay center to either cut off the pass or be ready for my pass if I get it. After a big collision and some aggresive stickwork, I pop out with the ball, drifting away from the boards. We’re in their half of the ice, but barely, and everyone down-ice is calling for it: "Center!", "Boards!". I quickly surveyed the scene while settling the ball, and one thing stood out: The whole game, they’d plugged up the lane to the goal, pushing us to the boards in their zone – but now the lane was open. A single out-of-place defender was all that stood between me and the goalie…

I couldn’t resist. I wound up – keep in mind we’re almost at center ice – and let go the exact shot I wanted. Great speed, nice loft, a bit of drift… The defender reached for it and missed. The goalie moved into position and dropped to field it on the bounce… and it bounced / rolled right over his leg!! Goal!! Goal!!!!!!!!

It was the nail in the coffin for the other team. They’d come back strong and narrowed our lead to 4-3, but with that shot and only minutes left, we finally had them where we wanted them.

Go Sweepers!!!

Sweeping Grimly

Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Thursday, January 19th, 2006 at 8:26 pm

Sweepers win! After a hard-earned 2-1 lead at halftime, there was some nervousness on the Sweeper side: they’d come out playing really hard in the first half. This was an older, bigger team with good passing skills, but in the end their age was their downfall. In the second half we managed to knock in 3 more goals, including one by yours truly – my first goal as a Grim Sweeper! They were unable to convert on some good chances, and we walked away with our second victory…

Overall a really fun game. Two highlights: Scott got a hat trick(!), and Sierra played like she was born wearing broomball shoes. :) Karen was solid in goal as usual, but after the game confessed she actually liked it better last year when she was taking more shots! Our middle line and defenders have gotten much better lately at keeping it on the boards, poor Karen has been standing around a lot and getting cold! I have a hard time feeling bad about it, though, since it means the rest of us are just doing our job better… Go Sweepers!

Grim Sweepers Rule!

Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Thursday, January 12th, 2006 at 12:16 pm

We had our first broomball game last night – the season was supposed to start last week but our freaky heat wave has been wreaking havoc on the ice – and we totally kicked ass! I think we scored more goals last night in one game than we scored in our whole last season. Everyone was passing well and having fun, our two new recruits were amazing on the ice (even the rookie who had only been on the ice once before for practice!!). I felt a little bad for the other team, since the schooling was so brutal, but then I realized we used to be them. We used to be the ones out there unable to pass, run, turn, shoot, or even get moving on the ice – we’ve served our time as that team, and now we get to start scoring.

… of course, saying that probably jinxes us and we’ll never score again this season, but seriously if everyone stays healthy and positive, I think we’re going to rock! And if not, we’re still the most fun-having-ist team on the ice!