Sunday, February 12, 2012

Off My Duff: Spreading the Faith

Inspired by our students who wear their jerseys to school on game days as a sign of team unity, all of us teachers on the broomball team wore our shirts to work on Friday. The kids were fascinated! For starters, the shirts are awesome, as readers of previous posts already know:

Also, we all have funky numbers. Mock is 3.14. Blue Liner is 007. I'm 4 over 4, as in the time signature:

But mostly, they were amazed to realize that we have lives beyond the school. I tell my students that I sleep in a bed that descends from a secret compartment in my classroom ceiling. I'm pretty sure at least half of them actually believe me. Even more than with their other teachers, they were shocked that I, the music guy, have any interests beyond my subject.

One class of fifth graders peppered me with questions. Despite living up here in the frozen north, most of them have no idea what broomball is. A few had it confused with curling which is certainly understandable. I laid out the basics: it's hockey with broom-shaped sticks, sneakers rather than skates and a ball instead of a puck. They wanted to know everything...

Q: Do you guys usually win?
A: (laughing) No, we usually lose.

Q: How big is the ball?
A: About the size of a large grapefruit.

Q: Does it hurt when you fall down on the ice?
A: Um, yes. Quite a lot.

Q: Can kids play?
A: Yes, but not in our league.

Q: How much time do you get to practice?
A: Apart from warming up before a game, none.

Q: Can we come watch you?
A: Uh, sure (thinking I must learn to clean up the expletives when the other team scores).

Q: Is the stick blade curved at all?
That one came from a particularly thoughtful student and he was completely serious. I suppose he was thinking of the slight curve in a hockey blade and wondered if the broom blades were the same way. I had to admit that I wasn't sure, but I'd check and tell him later. As it turns out, the answer is no - flat on both sides.

They kept me going for 30 minutes. The Blue Liner joked later that they'd found my weakness for distracting me from the lesson plan. True enough, but I'm willing to invest that kind of time for the kids to get to know me better, potentially see me as human. Besides, I love a good chat. I managed to squeeze in my syncopation intro and a dancing game in the last 15 minutes. It was a fun class - no harm, no foul.

As for Friday night's game, we got killed: 6-0. I played mainly forward again and while I'm getting pretty good at being in the right place at the right time, putting the ball in the net isn't quite as reflexive as I would like it to be. I always seem to smack it right at the goalie. I know, I know, the shot goes where your eyes go. I know...

It was great to have my new helmet, which brings to mind a song I'll save for the end of the post. Shoes are in the mail. As long as they get here before Friday, I shall tread the ice without fear in our next game. The Bobs know what I mean.


  1. Even though we lost, I thought it was one of our better performances, especially the first and third periods. You guys are getting tight.

    And I thought it was only 5-0 (not that it matters)

    And, to be honest, I think I've been watching the ball...NOT the eyes!!! Now I wish we had time to practice....

  2. Okay, now I want to go out and knock around a grapefruit with a broom.

    Great choice of number, by the way (though I'm more partial to 3 4 time). This early on a Monday morning I'm too slow (i.e. ritarded) to come up with an apt musical jersey number for myself, so I guess I'll go binary instead: 101010.

  3. Very funny! I, too, want to go knock a grapefruit with a broom!! ha

  4. Not much broomball down in FL but I loved the 4 over 4!

  5. Broomball. Never heard of it, but it sounds like a blast. I love the unique numbers, especially 4 over 4 and 007. Good luck on your next game!!

  6. I have never heard of broomball, but it sounds fun. And you sound like a fun teacher. :)

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and I hope you will come back to visit again.


  7. Lol, luv the pics. Groovy blog:)

  8. Isn't that funny the way kids view adults (at least the ones who are not their parents)? Out of sight, out of mind, as though they go into hibernation when the kids are not presetn.

  9. Good luck in the game tomorrow! I'm hopeless when it comes to athletic skillz, so you'll get no chiding from me. Very fun that you got to impress the kids with your having of a life. I was a lunch lady for a few years, and it was always funny to run into students at the store or something - their eyes would get so big, like "Wow, they let her out." Or maybe they thought I escaped, who knows?