Sartorial Observer: Broomball teams dress to intimidate

Winter Study has once again descended on the Purple Valley. For some, it means exotic trips abroad and for others, long afternoons spent on Jiminy Peak. For first-years, however, it means one thing: broomball. Broomball in itself is solid entertainment; there’s something satisfying about watching one’s entrymates slide around on the ice as if they were filming a “Wipeout” audition tape. But what’s (almost) more entertaining than watching your roommate heartily embarrass themselves is observing what each entry chooses for its broomball “uniform.”

I use the word uniform lightly here; to use the term in earnest would be an insult to policemen, postal workers and Catholic schoolgirls worldwide. True uniforms serve a variety of purposes. They provide equality, identity and solidarity to their wearers. Thus, it’s no surprise that uniforms are a staple of sports teams, both amateur and professional. As the saying goes, the team that wears the same uniform together, stays together … or something like that.

The importance of uniforms in sports is well understood; one would think that dressing the entry for broomball would be at the forefront of every Junior Advisor’s (JA’s) and first-year’s mind. For some entries, it clearly was. A handful of entries, like Dennett 3, displayed clear aim and forethought in their choice of uniforms. The entirety of Dennett 3 was decked out in onesies, which were not only adorable but also functional in the warmth they provided. Unless every member of Dennett 3 came to school with a onesie in tow, which seems unlikely, this endeavor must have taken a good amount of effort. So kudos to you, Dennett 3.

Armstrong 3 strutted on to the ice decked out in all black complete with personalized white headbands. Drawn on the players’ faces were black tear drops, each representing a separate broomball team they had defeated. Their headbands, hand made by some of the entry’s artists, featured the wearer’s name accompanied by a picture or graphic their entrymates felt represented their personality best, adding a cute touch to the otherwise intimidating ensemble. “We wanted to play up our intimidation factor by wearing all black,” Tiffany Chang ’14, JA of Armstrong 3 said of the entry’s uniforms. “Player, owner and coach Antonio [Dominguez ’14], my co [JA], had the idea of the mock tattoos which have since been copied by our opponents, but everyone should know that we were first,” Chang said.

Willy E’s homemade t-shirts displayed each player’s name on the back and their spirit animal on the front. “I spent a long time making my shirt,” said Nicholas Zaza ’16 of his Willy E personalized jersey. “Our entry got really into it.” Zaza walked onto the ice sporting a fancy cartoon peacock, which took around an hour and a half to fully draw. Other members of Willy E were decorated in spirit animals ranging from rainbow fish to giraffes to penguins.

Armstrong 4 had a respectable showing of flannel and looked so similar to lumberjacks that I expected them to take their broomball sticks and start hacking other players to the ground whilst yelling, “Timber!”

Pratt 2 dusted off its tacky sweaters, which were uniform mostly in the fact that they made everyone look adorably ridiculous. “The sweaters were a great idea,” said Ruby Froom ’16 of Pratt 2. “Everybody had one or could borrow one, they were warm and they made sure we didn’t take ourselves too seriously. It made us focus on having a good time.”

I urge entries to step up their broomball uniform game for this last week of matches. Try something timeless, like a Yankee pinstripe, or confusing, like those pants the Norwegian curling team wore in the 2010 Olympics. Whatever you do, make it fun, make it noticeable and make it inclusive. Broomball may not last very long, but it is an opportunity for those of us who aren’t athletes here at the College to feel like part of a team. And, more importantly, it’s an opportunity for each entry to further solidify its friendships and relationships. So make uniforms a priority. Make them a group effort. Make them a memory. Those members of Willy E who made t-shirts will be able to pull them out years from now and laugh at their broomball experience. They probably won’t remember who won each game, but they’ll certainly remember the uniform. Isn’t that something you want for your entry, too?

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