Your Polo Update: Calm Before the Storm Edition
As much as it pains me to write it, the end of the 2013 bike polo season is within sight. Disappearing are the days of the 8:30 sunset, the three-gallons-of-water-why-is-it-so-hot playing, and the joys of a full, unknowable tourney schedule. Yes, friends, it seems as though we must soon brace ourselves for the cold, lightless days of winter.
Unless of course you’re heading to Florida in a few weeks.
That’s right: with the end of the “regular season” comes some of the most fun tourneys this side of the sun: Worlds and Turducken.
First, let’s talk a little bit about the biggest of the three and why it’s so very important in the world of bike polo:
The World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship is unlike any other tourney you’re likely to go to during the whole season. For one thing, it’s a great chance to experience what the entire world of bike polo is coming up with: the unique skillsets of players from different continents, the amazing equipment that companies are creating, and the general 100% saturation of bike polo for day upon glorious day. Do you remember the scene from Harry Potter (shut up, you watched it) where ol’ Harry goes to the Quidditch world cup? Well, it’s almost like that (minus the thousands and thousands of spectators, flying brooms, and butter-beer). But that’s not to say there isn’t magic to be had while at a Worlds tourney.
Point in fact, the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship is a great way to size up the health and growth of our sport—both in how many players come in from different areas of the world, and in how much the word’s bike polo players have grown in skill.
Last year the World Championship was held in Geneva, Switzerland, making it rather hard for this humble, poor writer to attend. However, this year it’s held in Weston, Florida. This means that, through the help of Urban Velo and a few kind souls here in Lancaster (my wife), I’m able to travel to the sunshine state to witness the thrilling best-of-the-best competition.
Why is it important? Well, dear reader, add this to the points I’ve already listed: it’s a competition formed by nothing more than the will of polo players. It is one of the purest forms of competition, in that the players who come are doing so for the sake of being hailed as the very best in the world—not for the joy of having a few beers with friends or for the chance to win some polo equipment. This tourney, unlike most any other during the year, is one of champions who are trying to meddle out how far they can push themselves and their teams. If that doesn’t get you pumped up for the sport, I don’t know what will.
Happening in October (16th-20th), this tourney is not one to miss. If you even have the tiniest interest in seeing it, just do yourself the favor and find a way to get to Weston, Florida.
So it’d be safe to say that Worlds is the end of the bike polo season, more or less. Well, if you said that I’d laugh at you once you were far enough away to not hear me laugh. For on November 9th and 10th is the classic…no no…legendary Turducken tournament. This was one of the first tourneys I went to, and it is simply one of the best if you like both extremely challenging games and a Thanksgiving feast at the end of your tourneys.
The thing about Turducken is that it’s a dynasty sort of tournament. You can be guaranteed that the biggest names in bike polo (at least on this half of the country) will be there, and they’ll be bringing their A games. However, that’s not to say that you should feel pressured into not coming out—It’s a blast to go to, a great way to meet folks, and an awesome way to improve your understanding of our sport. It’s also the best way I’ve found to say so-long to the bike polo season, and that delicious food shores you up for the cold lonelies of winter.
So if you’re heading to Worlds, I’ll see you there—and if you’re heading to Turducken, I’ll see you there, too.
Matthew Kabik is the editor of www.lancasterpolo.com and a bike polo player. He is also an editor of an actual paying gig, but it's boring to hear about. Matthew lives in Lancaster, PA and his first bike was a restored 1968 Schwinn Typhoon. If that doesn't give you an idea of what kind of guy he is, nothing will.