After nearly 60 years in broomball, Eric Young is thinking about putting his broom away for good after this season.
Young, 75, started playing the sport when he was just 16.
Since then, he has joined the Corner Brook Molson Men’s Broomball League year after year after year, participated in countless local, provincial, and national tournaments and even one international tournament. Young has done fundraising and has assumed many roles over the years with the league, including president, vice-president and statistician.
Initially a center-forward, in more recent years Young has played defence for his squad.
But the wear and tear on the body can take its toll at his age – he’s currently nursing a quad injury that he hopes won’t keep him from missing the next game – and he’s starting to think it might be time to call it quits.
“I’m pretty well settled with that now,” he told the West Coast Wire. “I’m 75 now. The last few years, there’s been minor things – pulled muscles, torn ligaments, and this kind of thing – and I think it’s time to say this is the last year. I’ve had a good run anyway.”
He says the season will probably run until February.
The league has been down to four teams for a number of years and Young confesses he worries about the future of the game locally.
Young feels it’s become harder to attract younger players and as more older players like him age out in the coming years, there may no longer be enough to keep all four teams.
It’s a far cry from the high times of the 70s, 80s and, 90s.
“Broomball was flying, it was fantastic,” he recalled. “There (were) three leagues in Corner Brook – the men’s league, the rec league, and the ladies’ league – and broomball was well on the map around Corner Brook and the west coast.”
Young hopes it can climb back to somewhere even approaching those heights.
Along with the competition, the thing that Young has enjoyed the most about broomball has been the social aspect of playing sports.
“We played hard on the ice but when it was all over, that was it,” he said. “You shook hands and there were no hard feelings. You’d get a few chops here and there, but it was all part of the game.”
Young recently participated in SaltWire Network’s question and answer session:
Q. What is your full name?
Q. Where and when were you born?
Corner Brook, April 1945
Q. Where do you live today?
Q. What is your favourite place in the world?
Q. What’s your greatest indulgence?
Sports, in general. It doesn’t matter if it’s watching hockey, playing broomball, I love to bowl.
Q. What is your favourite movie or book?
My favourite movie is Shane. A western movie that Alan Ladd acted in. That was a fantastic movie, that was even taught in schools years later.
Q. How do you like to relax?
We got an electric recliner here – I just like to sit in it, push the button, put my feet up and watch a good old western movie, along with my wife. She got the same kind of chair and we just sit back and watch TV together.
Q. What are reading or watching right now?
Earl Pilgrim’s book Drifting Into Doom. It’s a great book about fishermen going out and getting lost at sea. They get separated from their ship and it’s a really great story.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
All the awards and trophies I’ve won over the years in sports.
Q. What trait are you most grateful to a parent for?
Just being able to adapt to being able to play a lot of different sports. I played baseball, softball, bowling, broomball, curling – it seems like I just had that knack to be able to adapt to just about any sport and to be able to play it fairly well. I would say I got that from my father.
Q. What three people would you invite for your dream dinner party?
My three friends - Lorne, Don and Mike. I played broomball with them for many, many years.
Q. What is your best quality, and what is your worst quality?
I’m considerate and loving according to Peggy, my wife. And the worst would be, whatever sport I’m at, I like to win and sometimes, when I lose, I take it too personal. I can lose an important game and I’ll probably be days getting over it because I’m going back over it so many times. I don’t blame somebody else for it; I always blame myself.
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