The special Simmons sport
A short biography of scootah hockey
March Madness is over. The Super Bowl is a distant memory. Make way for the next big sporting event of the year: the Scootah Hockey World Championships! In Simmons Hall, there are few events more talked-about than Scootah Hockey. Each Spring, residents host a tournament to determine who will be crowned the World Champions of Scootah Hockey for that year. The tournament consists of four days of round-robin play, followed by one day of bracket play that determines the winner. This year, the round-robin took place from April 2 to April 5, with the playoffs on Sunday, April 8.
What actually is Scootah Hockey, you ask? It is a competitive 3-on-3 game in which players scoot around on plastic scooters (think elementary school gym class) and use plastic sticks to try to hit a puck into a net. Players must stay on their scooters at all times. The game is played in the Simmons dining hall: after it closes for the night, it transforms into SimDin Arena, the most prestigious Scootah Hockey arena in the world. The entire Scootah Hockey tournament is overseen by FISHSTICK, or the Federation D’Internationale du Scootah Hockey and Sports That Inquire Cool Kids.
As a bit of background, Scootah Hockey was developed in Simmons in 2014 by two men who were both named Tim — one a resident, one a GRT. In 2015, FISHSTICK was formed as a way to ensure that Scootah Hockey would continue to live on in Simmons. Traditionally, FISHSTICK consists of one or two student commissioners and a GRT commissioner, along with several student volunteers who help with set up, clean up, and refereeing. The commissioners try to involve as many freshmen and other young players as possible in order to keep the traditions of Scootah Hockey alive.
In 2017, FISHSTICK acquired ESHPN, or Every Scootah Hockey Person’s Network, to provide nightly highlights and statistics. ESHPN sends out an email after every night of round-robin play, recapping the final score of each game as well as any notable plays or highlights. The nightly emails also include a section called Next Gen Stats. Next Gen Stats have included metrics such as save percentages, face-off win rates, and percentages of players wearing long pants. This year, ESHPN also sent out a special end-of-season report, providing power rankings and individualized performance reports for each section, which included a team-specific heat map that demonstrated the locations they took shots from.
In 2018, the commissioners of FISHSTICK created the SHKYCAM, or the Scootah Hockey Kable Y’nabled Camera Action Machine, in order to record all of the action from above the arena. Unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented the operation of the SHKYCAM for this year, but FISHSTICK anticipates it being ready for the 2019 season. Despite the SHKYCAM malfunction, ESHPN still presented a live stream from a stationary camera, which garnered viewers from Boston, Seattle, Michigan, California, and even Canada!
In the five years that Scootah Hockey has been run in Simmons, only three different teams have taken home the title of world champions. In 2014, C Tower became the first-ever Scootah Hockey world champions. 7ABC clinched the title in 2015, followed by back-to-back championship wins by B Tower (colloquially known as “B Towah”) in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, C Tower managed to finally take back the reins to become the current Scootah Hockey world champions.
Scootah Hockey is important for a host of reasons. Primarily, it is a way to bring the residents of Simmons Hall together. The teams are GRT sections (which are the analogy of “floors” in other dorms, but the architecture of Simmons makes it so that some floors are split into different sections, and some are combined into one), so every part of the building is represented. Each section has their own unique flag that gets hung up in SimDin Arena in the weeks leading up to the tournament, contributing to the sense of pride that each student has in their team. In an exclusive 2017 interview, then-freshman (now FISHSTICK co-commissioner) Nicolas Arons stated about his section that “after playing [Scootah Hockey], I really feel like we got closer as a section.” Simmons generally does not have strong floor culture, so bonding with section-mates is an especially unique part of Scootah Hockey.
During the Scootah Hockey playoffs, FISHSTICK always purchases copious amounts of free food, including pizza, fruit, and Red Bull. In 2016, a custom Snapchat filter was introduced during the week of the tournament. The filter featured the face of last year’s FISHSTICK commissioner Evan Denmark along with the text “ON YOUR SCOOTER!” The past two seasons have also seen exhibition games featuring special teams such as the Bon Appetit dining hall staff and the East Campus all-star team. This year, Bon Appetit also provided a spread of candy and snacks right outside SimDin Arena — they even gave away novelty items like pencils and inflatable hockey sticks. These special treats and surprises give every Simmons resident a reason to come down even for the tournament, if they don’t want to play in the games.
To many residents, Scootah Hockey embodies Simmons culture. In general, Simmons does not have one cohesive, easily-defined culture, but one of the most dominant aspects of Simmons is a sense of youth and playfulness. Most residents enjoy having fun doing ridiculous things, and Scootah Hockey provides them with something to get overly excited about. Residents use Scootah Hockey as a reason to dress up in crazy costumes (including tutus, animal masks, and body paint), to lose their voices screaming every night, and to stay up until the sunrise calculating statistics for the teams.
Scootah Hockey is more than a sport, and more than a fun study break. It truly is a cultural phenomenon unique to Simmons Hall. Next time you run into a Simmons resident, be sure to ask them about their beloved game.
Alexis Oriole is ESHPN head reporter and statistician and 2017 Scootah Hockey World Champion.