On a quiet Sunday afternoon, unsuspecting MIT community members strolled down Vassar Street by Simmons Hall. As they looked into its dining hall windows, it was not snacking students they saw, but rather a crowd dressed in pastel tutus, feather boas, and propeller hats. They cheered and honked on vuvuzelas as their peers perched on plastic scooters- the kind seen in elementary school gym classes- scuttled after colored hockey pucks.
Welcome to the fifth annual Scootah Hockey World Championship.
On April 8, the students of Simmons Hall cleared away the tables in their dining hall to form SimDin Arena, the playing field for their proud sport. As the set up was completed, participants gathered to sing the Simmons Hall anthem, “O Spongey-Sponge” (sung to the tune of “O Canada”, and referencing the building’s unique architecture). Once the dorm’s praises had been sung, the competition began.
Scootah Hockey is simple. Players sit on plastic scooters and use small paddles to hit a hockey puck into the opposing team’s goal. The most important rule of Scootah Hockey is to stay on one’s scooter, as the referees constantly reiterate by shouting, “On your scooter!”
The championship is organized into brackets, and teams play against each other until the final two are left to compete head-to-head. The prize? A scooter with each year’s winning team memorialized on plaques to be kept until the next championship.
This year’s champs were from C-Tower. Senior Garrison Snyder spoke about the final moments leading up to their win. “It was tied up, overtime, next shot wins it. I saw the puck in my field of vision and I just knew I had to slap it in. It went into the far side of the net and there was the goal, there was the game,” he said. “The championship title for C-Tower. Couldn’t have done it without the team, though.”
Scootah Hockey has been a Simmons Hall tradition for years. It was started in 2014 and has been elaborated on by the residents ever since. In recent years, students have given more structure to the sport. This includes Federation d’International du Scootah Hockey and Sports That Inquire Cool Kids (FISHSTICK), the commissioners of Scootah Hockey, and Every Scootah Hockey Person’s Network (ESHPN), which provides highlights and statistics.
Sophomore Nicolas Arons, FISHSTICK’s current commissioner, was inspired by last year’s commissioner Evan Denmark to bear the responsibility and honor of organizing the game. “He was one of the absolute funniest people I have ever met,” he said. “He would come out wearing women’s spandex in bright neon colors and the shortest shorts you’ve ever seen and he’d just do ridiculous stuff to make people have fun. So that’s something I learned from him: to try to be ridiculous and to let ourselves be kids again.”
Arons said he was immediately drawn into the game’s playful competition during his first year at MIT. “I was pretty involved with Scootah Hockey. That’s sort of why I was chosen to become the next commissioner, because I really liked it and I really enjoyed the atmosphere,” he said. “Everyone is rooting for their section, but they’re all doing it for fun. It’s not super aggressive or competitive, because it’s sort of a ridiculous sport.”
Arons said the best part of Scootah Hockey is the feeling of community the game inspires. “I think it really brings together the whole dorm,” he said. “You have all of these different groups and you get to make friends with people you might not have gotten to know and have fun with them.”
Written by Isabel Stewart, Video by Stephanie Tran
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In January, when MIT’s campus was snowy and students were engaged in their Independent Activities Period, the Undergraduate Association (UA) announced a team-up with MIT leaders to source ideas on making the upcoming spring semester more enjoyable despite the pandemic.