Your Polo Update: NA Edition
Well, friends, the time is upon us once again. Across the entirety of the United States (except for Lancaster, PA, as we are too hipster to go to your mainstream bike polo tourney) bike polo players are checking their spokes, buying a few extra tires, and sharpening their mallet heads for the climax of the 2013 bike polo season: North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship (NAHBPC).
Starting at the end of this week—August 16th to the 18th—the very best players that North America has to offer will join together in Minneapolis, Minnesota to vie for the podium. This is truly where bike polo moves from a fun time to an art form, and if you can make your way out to Minneapolis, I strongly suggest you do so.
No, I won’t be, because I used up all my vacation time on dental appointments and other bike polo tourneys. I’m a bad planner, okay?
Now, if you can’t manage to make your way out to the event, fear not. Everything will be streamed live and free on www.bikepolo.tv , where you can witness amazing bike polo from the comfort of your own living room. Honestly, I’d get your bike polo friends together and make an event of it. If I had friends, I’d be doing that. As it is, I’ll be watching the event from the polo aviary of my third floor, alone save for a bottle of whiskey, as is my tradition.
Naturally, I’ll be rooting for the Eastside teams, though I have found that I don’t have, necessarily, a favorite team to root for. Looking over the list of people who are going, I’m pretty sure I’ll just disintegrate into me squealing at every game I watch and accidentally swinging my polo mallet into a window or something.
Outside of the North Americans, We’ve got the Salt in Your Veins tourney over in the Bonneville Salt Flats of Wendover, UT. To be fair, there isn’t a graphic for this tourney, nor is there any set rules, plans, housing, sign ups, nor confirmed teams. I’m going to say that the boys over in Salt Lake City figured out nobody was doing anything the same weekend as North Americans other than watching North Americans.
How-ev-er, the weekend after (August 24th) is the POLO BATTLE in Winston Salem, where folks are invited to come out for a grand pickup day, no prizes or anything like that, but a more traditional come-out-and-play bike polo event. Really, it’s a great way to cool down from NAs or just find a place to hang out with a bunch of folks who are having a good time.
That very same weekend is the two day Thunder Bay Bike Polo Invitational. Now in its third year, the invitational seems light on information on the event page, but that’s not to say it isn’t a good time (I mean, would it be in its third year if it weren’t fun?).
Moving from tourneys, I want to discuss the push for better reffing in the NAH. It’s no surprise to those of you who know me that I really herald the importance of good refs in our sport (and the expansion of our refs, in particular). Well it seems like the NAH has finally listened to me…sheesh….guys…and created a website called ref.nahardcourt.com where you will eventually be able to achieve certification and education. Currently there is a place to take a “rules test” and create a login.
I have no doubt as this initiative progresses, that we’ll start getting some very interested, very dedicate people who are willing to take up the call and become professional refs. I for one am excited by the prospect myself, as I recognize that I’ll probably never make it to Nationals or Worlds on my bike polo skill, but I can certainly make it there based on my ability to recognize illegal play and coach-trot out on the court to place a ball.
I coach-trot like a champion.
Anyway, I wish the best of luck to everyone going to Nationals (both players and organizers alike), and I hope you’ll join me, dear reader, in watching the fun online at www.bikepolo.tv
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.