By the time residents from Crown and Alper hit the choppy ice at Midway Plaisance Ice Rink last Wednesday night, the rivalry between the two undergraduate houses was palpable.
The intramural game was broomball - think ice hockey, but with a bright rubber ball, broom-like sticks and no skates. The stakes: Dinner, 2010 ownership of the "Golden Broom" Chairman's Cup and house superiority bragging rights.
Crown House is one of eight houses that make up the new South Campus Residence Hall.Named for Paula Hannaway Crown and James S. Crown, University Trustee and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Crown opened in the fall of 2009.
Alper House, one of eight houses that make up the Max Palevsky Residential Commons, is named in honor of Chairman of the Board of Trustees Andrew Alper (AB '80, MBA '81) and Sharon Sadow Alper (AB,'80, JD,'84). Palevsky opened in 2000.
The Chairman's Cup was the brainchild of Chairman Alper, who decided during a Trustee dinner in June to challenge Crown to a match.
"I announced it to the world," Alper said. "It was a complete surprise to Mr. Crown."
Indeed, Crown had never heard of the sport. "I thought, 'What on earth is broomball?' "
Before the first drop of the broomball, Alper residents arrived with a pep band, wore red-and-black war paint on their faces and furiously shook Coke cans filled with popcorn kernels. Alper residents who sing in the a cappella group Men in Drag sang the national anthem.
Crown residents, meanwhile, smashed an "Alper" pi~nata and paraded the effigy to the ice. They wore blue war paint, yellow crowns, and T-shirts that read: "the lineage starts here."
The spirited fans banged against the boards and loudly heckled the opposition, seemingly oblivious to the numbing wind chill.
Some Alper House fans made much of the nine-year age gap between the houses.
"Alper is a house you hear about on campus," crowed Alper first-year Wyatt Jones. "Crown? Not so much."
Alper and Crown were among the dozens of enthusiastic fans on hand, which also included Dean of the College John Boyer and Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students in the University Kimberly Goff-Crews.
To add heft to the house rivalry, Alper resident Jake Torcasso, a second-year, penned a "history" of the ancient grudge and sent it around by e-mail. In Torcasso's telling, the feud began in the mists of the Middle Ages, when a fight broke out between Germanic chiefs Liutberht Crown and Aldemar Alper.
"May our blood boil with the rage of generations of struggle, our eyes focus, our senses heighten in the field of battle, and the ice of the midway turn red," Torcasso wrote to fellow Alperites before the game. "May we be cunning and quick as the great Aldemar once was."
During the second half, Crown second-year Peter Cohen scored the only goal of the evening. The emotion wrought by the win would later overwhelm him.
"Every medal that fills your wall never fills your heart, and when I made it, finally made it, I was totally unprepared, spun around by the lights and the fame," Cohen joked in a post-game e-mail.
After the win, Crown and the Crown residents proudly took to the ice for photos.
"It worked out very well," Crown said. "I'm learning to love broomball more and more."