Steven Rome’s column “The Case for Broomball,” describes the challenges and peculiarities of Yale College’s newest intramural sporat. I, too, carefully made my way over the ice of a frozen-over Cross Campus so I could make it on time to sprint on the ice of Ingalls Rink in an attempt to score a goal for Berkeley.
I wasn’t even fighting for the ball when I fell and fractured my finger. I was literally standing still.
As I sat in Yale Health, I found out that IM broomball had sent at least one other hapless undergrad to the clinic that night. The doctor who saw me was baffled as to why I would willingly run on ice in tennis shoes, and I started to wonder the same. It turns out there are such things as broomball shoes with specialized, high-traction soles that minimize slippage, and that are required by several boards of school safety in Canada. Although other US recreational and college broomball leagues do not require broomball shoes, they have stricter regulations regarding the permitted footwear on the ice. I contacted the Yale Club Sports office, which oversees IMs, to voice my concerns. Their answer: while it’s unfortunate I broke my finger and will have physical therapy for a month, if we were to ban a sport every time someone got injured, we wouldn’t have any left. Slipping — and falling, I take it — is part of the fun.
I have no grudge against broomball—play on! The university, however, cannot sanction a sport without properly managing its risks. There isn’t a simile I can easily draw on—this isn’t like playing soccer without shin guards. You’re playing on and against the ice at every moment, and if we’re not going to wear any protective gear besides a helmet, then we should try to minimize how often we fall. Slipping is “fun,” but it is foremost a risk to student safety, one that is easy to address. I can only speculate how many more incidents will have to take place before that becomes obvious.
Héctor Hérnandez is a senior in Berkeley College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .