It didn't matter that Sheila Knill couldn't ice-skate. If she could swing a broom and bat around a hollow ball, she could hold her own in the Greater Cleveland Broomball League. "I'd never heard of it either," admits Knill, now the league's president, 11 years after she joined the club. "I said, 'I can't play hockey.' [My friends] told me, 'Don't worry. You don't even need to know how to skate.'"
Originating in Canada about 100 years ago, the hockey-like game is played on an icy surface. Wearing foam-padded tennis shoes, gloves, and elbow pads, six-player teams shoot a ball into opposing nets with broomsticks during three 16-minute periods. The sport has gained enough popularity that the four-team local league's Warriors competed at the world championships in Minnesota. "It's a lot of running and falling on your butt," Knill explains. "Either you love it or hate it, but you definitely get a good workout."
Especially when you want to take out your frustrations. "If you have a stressful job, it's great to whack that ball around," says Knill. "You'll feel really good." Broomball action happens from 10:45 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. Friday and 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Sunday at the Winterhurst Ice Rink, 14740 Lakewood Heights Boulevard in Lakewood. It's free to watch, $30 to play; call 216-529-4400. -- Cris Glaser
Birds of the Weather
The Metroparks help those who aren't going south.
Pam Kehoe can turn your backyard feeder into the Mickey D's of the bird world. At Bedford Beats, the Cleveland Metroparks naturalist will show birdwatchers how to keep our feathered friends fed during the cold months ahead. "For instance, finches need really, really tiny food, like thistle," she says. For nosy squirrels that weren't invited to dinner, throw dried cob corn on the ground, advises Kehoe. "The birds will try to peck at it, but the squirrels will hang out with that." Kehoe shares more tips from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday at Bedford Reservation's Egbert Picnic Area (near the Egbert Road entrance in Walton Hills). Admission is free; call 216-341-3152. -- Cris Glaser
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