Today isn’t even over and it already sucks.
The first link I clicked on this morning was www.hatingonbikepolo.com, where I was greeted with an excellently written, well-thought out argument against playing bike polo entirely. And it was shared all over the internet— by my friends! Who all love playing bike polo more than they love their parents. Was it an inside joke? Because I don’t know if I entirely “get” it. Was it a manifesto? Because it had some very poignant arguments that really forced me to reevaluate my priorities. Was it a rant? Because this page was written in a very upsetting tone, to which I can certainly relate. Well guess what, friends: sometimes I fucking hate bike polo too.
This new blog accomplished everything it set out to achieve: it left me feeling kind of empty inside, like all the money and sweat and blood I’ve spent over the last two years was for nothing. Suddenly, all my experiences with the awesome people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at tournaments and events were meaningless. What am I doing? Why am I doing this to myself? Is there anything to be gained from my involvement in this young, dumb, [relatively] poorly organized sport? And as a NAH rep, am I part of the problem?
I don’t always love bike polo, in fact sometimes I hate it. I hate that no matter how hard I try, I am still not good enough to win a tournament, or oftentimes even just a pickup game. I hate that I feel like I have dropped several large stacks of $20 bills into a paper shredder for a bike that will likely snap in half while I’m riding it. I hate the rules and the regulations and the refs. I hate the people that make bike polo hate-able: the stuck-up bike snobs that call me “butt hurt” when I express frustration, the renegade pricks that threaten my well-being with dangerous and irresponsible play, and the care-free veterans that make me feel bad for trying or caring. Maybe I do care too much. Maybe I am trying too hard. Maybe I’m not macho or drunk or stoned enough. Maybe, paradoxically, I’m not invested enough, even though I write these blog posts about the best polo bike or the coolest video of a “pro” game. [Maybe I’m just feeling under-appreciated, and I’ll completely regret this post tomorrow.] But seriously, tell me, what does it take to get good at bike polo?
I can’t stop playing bike polo, I won’t stop playing. I’m too invested— monetarily, emotionally, physically. I’ve put in too much time to care whether or not I will win a tournament, a prize, or an award. And if I’m being 100% honest with myself, I’ve grown too much as a person to stop playing. I’m reading, writing, thinking and doing more than I ever have in my entire life. I have learned more about myself in a year than I had learned in the previous ten. And even though I doubt bike polo will ever have corporate sponsors or be featured at the X Games, I’ll know that I did something active, different, and interesting with my Sunday afternoons, instead of watching football, singing karaoke, and playing board games. I can do all that stuff any other night of the week. -ZS