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Best Of Chicago

Chicago Alternative Winter Sports

February 14, 2011 2:00 PM

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Broomball
Look at you. All cooped up, trying to deny your cabin fever. The weather might be frightful, but it’s time to get out and get your blood pumping (or at least to get a head start on those winter pounds). We’ve got some suggestions for sports that might lure you out of your couch hibernation if you need something more organized than a snowball flight, yet a little more exciting than cross-country skiing.

Broomball

www.sportsmonster.net

Hockey is an expensive sport, and a lot of people never quite get the whole “multi-tasking on skates” part down. Skip the blades and play broomball, where your broom (think a real one, minus bristles) and your flat gym shoes are all you need to score on the net. Co-ed is the norm, and Chicago Social and SportsMonster both offer leagues. Bonus: Broomball is descended from Knattleikr, a day-long Viking game usually involving whole villages where players would sometimes end up dead. (Makes the fights in hockey look pretty weak…)

Underwater Hockey

www.chicagouwh.com

Exactly as it sounds, Underwater Hockey is a kinder, non-contact version of hockey. Two co-ed teams of six push a heavy puck across the bottom of the pool, aiming to score in a goalie-less goal. (Of course, the difficulty is still high due to the need for attacking players to pass and surface before they run out of air…) Every Sunday is Rookie Sunday, where vets devote the first hour to just letting new players get the hang of the game. (Sunday games happen at Downers Grove North High School, while Thursdays are at Kennedy King College and Saturdays at Northeastern Illinois University).

Roller Derby

(credit: Jamie DeVecchio Ramsay -windycityrollers.com)

Roller Derby

525 South Racine Avenue
www.windycityrollers.com

The world of Derby has been growing at a rapid clip in the last few years, and now many have taken in a WCR league game at the UIC Pavilion. Gals looking to pick up a wild nickname, skate, jam, and block can work their way up the league through tryouts and the farm league, eventually skating before several hundred spectators here in Chicago (or if they’re really good, with the travel team in other cities). The rest of us can just enjoy the action from the stands for a fraction of the price of a Bulls ticket.

Ice Sailing

(credit: iceboat.org)

Ice Sailing

www.iceboat.org

If regular sailing isn’t extreme enough for you, perhaps winter is the perfect time to enter the world of boating? Boats are raised up on three runners, one on either side, and the back serving as a steering rudder. And if you think that a boat on skates isn’t going to be that exciting, think again – boats can reach speeds of 90 miles per hour.

Chidiatrod

www.chiditarod.org

If you want to do personally do some good for the world, run a marathon, and do it all in funny costumes with your friends, only the Chiditarod will do. Chicago’s annual food drive event consists of themed teams pushing a shopping cart around a set neighborhood course of pubs, picking up food donations to help them win the race – all the while acquiring thousands of pounds of food for the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation.

Dan Morgridge is a writer from Ukrainian Village whose daily commute feels like its own sport.

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