Phil Cheesebrough, puts on his game face.
Last night was the grand finale to the inaugural season of the, RiverScape Broomball League
, in, Dayton, Ohio. The evening featured two semi-final matches between the top four teams in the twelve team league the, Warren County Whalers, Holten Wellness, So I Thought I was Curling, and, Super Monkey Ruckus United, followed by the, Championship Match between the winners of the the two semi-final games. There was a chill in the air that seemed to deepen as the night progressed, but as the action on the ice grew hotter and hotter the fans in attendance warmed up to the Broomball festivities and a good time was had by all those who braved the elements to come out and witness this historic sporting event.
To the victors go the spoils.
As in so many successful community endeavors it is often the efforts of the people behind the scenes that contribute to the overall success of these of events and many thanks must go out to, Chris and Robin Sassenburg, owners of Dayton, Ohio's, popular restaurant and bar, The Trolley Stop
, for their generous contributions in making the inaugural season of the, RiverScape Broomball League, such a great one. Chris and Robin, provided the finances necessary for the winners cup and donated gift certificates to each member of the championship team. Chris and Robin, are big supporters of both, Dayton, Ohio, and the community that calls this city, Home
. (The next time you're looking to spend your hard earned dollars on an evening's entertainment, I hope you'll consider spending them at an establishment that believes in giving back to the community a generous portion of what they take in from it.)
Holten Wellness goalie, Charles Gelm, proves himself a tough nut to crack.
In the first semi-final match of the evening the, Warren County Whalers, gave the, Holten Wellness, team everything they could ask for in a match and then some. Through two twelve minute halves and one five minute overtime period, the favored, Holten Wellness, team went toe to toe with a determined and feisty group of, Whalers, that simply refused to lose. Equally determined, the, Holten Wellness, team stormed the, Whaler, side of the ice again and again, firing shot after shot upon their goal. It was an epic display of Broomball. When at last the smoke cleared the teams were faced with a shootout to determine a winner. Sudden death, the first team to score would win.
Both teams lined up at center ice and one by one each team would sent a shooter in to face the opponent's goalie. Shot after shot was turned away until it seemed the game would never arrive at a conclusion. In the end it proved to be the iron-will of, Holten Wellness, goalie, Charles Gelm, that made the difference and, the team of, Holten Wellness, clawed their way into the finals with a one to naught victory over the Whalers.
Super monkeys on the move.
The second semi-final match of the evening saw the teams, Super Monkey Ruckus United, and, So I Thought I Was Curling, face off for the last remaining spot in the finals. From the outset of the match the, SMRU, put the, SITWC, on their heels with a dazzling display of pressure offense. It seemed as if the, SITWC, team was continually on defense and despite their best efforts they just couldn't move the ball out of their side of the ice and into the, SMRU, side of the ice. The, Monkeys, scored once in the first half of their match and once again in the second half for a convincing two to naught victory over the, SITWC. The, Championship Game, would now see the teams, Holten Wellness, and, Super Monkey Rukus United, face off in what promised to be one of the best matches of the night.
Ah, dear friends, the Championship Game, did indeed live up to expectations and I only wish my digital camera had been as up to facing the elements as were the players on the ice. Unfortunately, such was not the case and the pictures I thought I was taking simply did not turn out when I got home and tried to download them, but let me tell you, it was a battle royal from start to finish with neither team asking or giving quarter.
The, Holten Wellness, team scored quickly on the, Super Monkey Ruckus United, goalie, Phil Cheesebrough, who up until that point hadn't allowed a single goal during the entire season. You could feel the spirits of the, Holten, team lift and likewise the spirits of the, Super Monkeys, sag just a bit at what both teams knew was an important first drawing of blood. Once the, Holten Wellness, team obtained the early lead they went into a, turtle defense, designed to defend their own goal at all cost. Every time the offense of the, Super Monkeys, moved into scoring range the, Wellness, team would collapse down in protection of their goal and create what appeared to be an impenetrable wall of sticks and bodies. At the end of the first half their defensive tactic proved superior and the, Wellness, team held a one to naught lead.
The second half saw both teams moving back and forth upon the ice in a furious display of, Broomball, at it's best. The, Wellness, team desperately wanted the second goal they believed would win them the coveted, Trolley Stop Cup, but the, Super Monkeys, played with grit and determination, turning away shot after shot by the, Wellness, team and frustrating their every effort to put the game away. Still, it appeared that the defensive scheme of the, Wellness, team would hold, but with time running out the shell of the, turtle defense, was at last broken and the, Super Monkeys, scored the the goal they needed to tie the game up at one goal apiece. When the buzzer sounded the teams were tied, one to one, and headed to a five minute sudden-death overtime period.
In the end it all came down to two players, Kyle Kaminski, one of the leagues leading scorers who choose the pass over the shot and, Neill Mullett, the rookie, who took the shot and scored the winning goal to give the, Super Monkey Ruckus United, the win and the first ever, RiverScape Broomball League, Championship Title. It was one of those grand moments that every player participating in any sport, at any level, lives for and plays for, hoisting a, Championship Trophy, and being named the very best in the league.
Charles Gelm, and, Katie Zimmerman, rivals on the ice and friends off the ice.
This is one of my favorite moments of the night because it represents one of my favorite aspects of the, Riverscape Broomball League. The league is a coed league and teams are comprised of both male and female players. Now, it isn't just the aspect of men and women competing together that I like so much, although that is a pretty cool aspect of the game. It's the idea of men and women learning the characteristics of what makes a successful team, things like trust and depending upon and standing by your teammates, even during the hard times when things aren't going the way you'd hope they would. These are lessons that build successful teams both on the ice and off the ice too. These are lessons that both men and women can apply to any relationship and it's nice to see an endeavor that teaches these important concepts to both men and women at the same time. The, Riverscape Broomball League, has a lot to offer anyone who chooses to participate in it and I can't wait to play a more active role in the league next year.
Neill Mullett, and, Phil Cheesebrough, enjoying the spoils of victory.
This was my first experience with the sport of, Broomball, and I came away from the evening's festivities with a real respect for the sport, the people who participate in it and the fellowship among the folks who come out to enjoy the social aspect of the game. Congratulations to the, Super Monkey Ruckus United, team. Enjoy the cup while you can because I've got a hunch the, Holten Wellness, team is gonna be coming back next year with vengeance in their eyes.