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March 22, 2006

The quest for the Changuris Cup

by Pratik Bhandari, Page Editor
A small orange ball rolls smoothly past a throng of people lined up on the bleachers. WHACK! Curved yellow and blue plastic sticks smack against each other in midswing, all in an effort to direct the tiny sphere into the other team's net.

Since 1985, Blazers have met after school to play floor hockey. And each year, the winner at the end of the season has received the Changuris Cup. "It was a pretty big deal," says the original sponsor, physical education teacher Cynthia Changuris. "In hockey, you get the Stanley Cup, so, I thought, why not have the Changuris Cup? Besides, it was never the trophy that the teams fought for, it was the bragging rights."

Floor hockey at Blair started innocently enough. Changuris had taught floor hockey as part of the General Physical Education curriculum for many years, but then a student asked her to supervise a group of kids who wanted to play floor hockey after school in the small gym at the former Blair building. For spectators, there was a small, raised stage on one end and a balcony that overlooked the whole area. "That place was perfect for floor hockey," Changuris recalls. "They packed that balcony. It was almost like RFK, what with the place shaking up and down and all."

In the comparatively cavernous arena that is the small gym at Blair, floor hockey takes over after school from December to February, as teams meet for heated 15-minute bouts. Now, Eat My Shorts and the Fighting Funkmasters are fighting for playoff spots and a chance at the Changuris Cup. Junior Robbie Ginsberg, team captain for Eat My Shorts, explains that floor hockey is a bit of a family tradition. "My brother, Andrew, used to play floor hockey when he was at Blair and he said it was really fun," he says, "so I decided to play as well. I gathered up a few of my friends and we started the team."

Barely 10 seconds into the game, sophomore Alex Sandberg-Bernard, playing for Eat My Shorts, flies down the right side of the gym and blazes a wrist shot into the back of the net. Sandberg-Bernard, the right wing for the Blair Community ice hockey team, is simply playing another form of the game he loves. "My dad is a hockey nut, he used to play on ponds, and so I joined up as a way to play even when I'm not on ice," Sandberg-Bernard later said.

A few minutes later, junior Simon Kanter scores on a low rolling shot from midfield to tie the game at one apiece. The game gets more and more physical as the clock winds down. Junior Jason Meer fends off two or three defenders as he gets trapped in the right hand corner of the offensive zone. Players on both sides begin to flail at the ball in desperation, striking equal parts ball and shin. Finally, a breakthrough on offense. Sophomore Samuel Adeoye scores on a long slap shot to put Eat My Shorts up, 2-1.

Time ticks off the clock, as the Fighting Funkmasters get increasingly desperate for a goal. Shot after shot is either off the mark or turned away by the Eat My Shorts goalie. Then, with 1:30 left in the game, Kanter finds himself with the puck alone in front of the goal. With a quick twitch of his wrists, the orange ball speeds away, elevating past the goalie's outstretched gloves and into the top shelf. After the end of regulation and a savage five-minute overtime period, the game ends in a 2-2 tie.

The players - sweaty, drained, tired - shuffle off into the hallway. These after-school warriors play their hearts out, not for money or fame, but rather for pride. As junior Lewis Shattan says, "This is definitely more fun-oriented than ice hockey is, but all of us still want to win." Unfortunately for both Shattan and Ginsberg, their teams were later knocked out of the playoffs.

In the championship game, Empire Today, a team of senior blazers, faced the '08 Joyriders. Empire Today had already won last year's Changuris Cup and was making a bid for two in a row. The 08 Joyriders were unafraid; they boldly faced the defending champs and gave them a run for their money. But ultimately, the Empire came out on top once again, 2-1. "It feels great to be a dynasty. Hopefully, our empire will be remembered," joked senior Jesse Mueller of Empire Today.

Next year, Mueller and his teammates won't be around. But it's a pretty safe bet that floor hockey will. "In all those years that I ran [floor hockey] I never once thought about stopping it," Changuris says. "The kids would come up to me and say, 'Thank you.' That's all I needed to keep it going. That was my real reward."

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  • hhaha on March 22, 2006 at 9:35 PM
    changuris cup, thats cool i didn't even know people did that
  • google on March 23, 2006 at 7:55 AM
    thats cause no one does it.
  • Aaron (View Email) on March 23, 2006 at 10:17 PM
    As a former player for the Changuris Cup in the Old Blair, I can attest that that tiny little gym definately rocked like RFK. Rock on Blazers and congrats to Empire. Very few folks can claim two cups....

    Aaron Klein ('94)
  • citizen of the empire on March 24, 2006 at 12:44 PM
    we won the championship game 1-0 not 2-1
  • Patrick Nolan (View Email) on March 24, 2006 at 7:10 PM
    Good article. Ms. Changuris started a great tradition that was a lot of fun. I played on the championship team in '96 after the Untouchables had won three straight. Good memories from that old small gym.
  • '08 joyriders on March 24, 2006 at 10:40 PM
    gooo '088
  • benfield (View Email) on March 27, 2006 at 12:01 AM
    floor hockey is great. It still amazes me we pulled off the entire season undefeated, especially with such short games. 06 will forever be the greatest...
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