Rumor has it that the folks in charge want a crease rule. Chances are a crease is coming to a polo game near you. Here is a lil preview.
What are the specs of the future crease?
-A crease will extend about one foot out from the posts along the goal line.
-The NAH crease will have a 4 foot radius. Note that our nets are of NYC’s Red Menace Era vintage and are 2m wide so we used a 4.5 foot radius.
-The crease should be green gold and red.
How does the crease work? It is not perfect, but we’re still trying to smooth things out. Here is how its working for us:
-Only one defender may become stationary in the crease.
-Others defenders may enter the crease but only one can become stationary.
-No one can mess with a stationary person within the crease.
-When the ball is in the crease, anyone may enter the crease.
In Boston we don’t play much double goalie, so the crease hasn’t had a huge impact on game play. But between the crease and the popularity face offs have gained here, we might actually have to change the name of our game to Bike Hockey =^O
Boston Bike Polo is hosting a Polo Cat Race on September 6th to help make some dough for our 4th Annual Commonwealth Classic. Study up on your Boston Bike Polo history for this race. Come out. Ride hard. Get weird. It’s going to be a ballin time for everyone.
Race registration is $10 and gets you $1 buurs at the after party. Come out to support your favorite (and only) local bike polo club!
This is an open love letter to Boston and Boston Bike Polo.
Boston is probably one of the worst biking cities in North America. I don’t know why specifically; it could be because of the generally unfavorable road conditions, the oblivious and ornery automobile drivers, or the roads that look like someone dropped a handful of spaghetti on a map. The city and its bureaucrats hate that we play polo on the hockey court in Allston, the hockey players hate that we use the rink more than they do, and hardcore road cyclists with their $4000 Cannondales hate the way that we represent bikers to others on the road (no helmets, ignoring traffic signals, bombing one-way streets the wrong way, etc.)
I have a theory: all of this hate directed towards Boston Bike Polo brings us closer together as a community. The fact that the city of Boston generally sucks is in fact the glue that binds us. When the weather isn’t great, we get together and play awesome board games and drink beers and geek out until 3am. When the court is covered with a foot of snow and the forecast looks promising, we strap on our duck boots, grab our shovels and a 12-pack of Sam Adams, and we scrape that lumpy white devil powder (not the fun kind) off of our court. When the city says we can’t do something, we secretly do it anyway, and then we light a bunch of firecrackers.
There is a reason that I feel more comfortable with my polo friends than I do with the people I work with. I can truly be myself: unashamed that I make more shitty puns and more dick jokes than any reasonable adult in his mid-twenties ought to. Polo gives me an excuse to fly to Puerto Rico for the better part of a week with my best friend, and subsequently forget to wear sunscreen on the beach. Polo gives me a relatively healthy outlet for my desire for carnage.
Boston is not a fun city. The bars close at 1am, the T stops at 12:30, and the city resents me as a resident. Every year my friends tell me they want to move, and every year I get more excited when they don’t. You guys, I don’t want to be here either. I have weekly fantasies about moving to other dope polo cities like Austin or Toronto or San Francisco or Lexington. However, it’s when I travel to other cities that I hear whispers of people saying they want to move to Boston, and let me tell you, you wouldn’t regret it if you did.
Come April, if you need me, you can find me sprawled shirtless on the docks of the Charles River with my Harpoon IPA in a Freaker, warning other kids not to touch the bottom when they dive into the water. -ZS
The first time I played polo was after some bike drag races in Quito, Ecuador. Bike Polo was new to Quito, and so at just about every bike event Xavi would bring mallets, cones, and a ball and encourage people to try it. I don’t think I hit the ball once the entire game, but like how most of us got here I was hooked. I came to polo from a mix of the fixie/alley-cat race scene and mountain biking, and slowly both of those have taken a backseat to polo. I haven’t raced an alley-cat since the Dock11 race, where I ‘raced’ with polo folks on polo bikes, and I don’t even want to think about the last time I went mountain biking. It makes me sad to think how long its been.
Anyways, on a bored night last week I drew up this drawing/chart of how we get to polo. Most of us arrived here through fixie/alley-cat/messenger culture, but of course, people come from all sorts of bike adventures. Humor me by filling out the poll below to gather some more info on how we all got to the holy grail of polo. – CF
(*PS – Just sayin, as a polo community I would like to see us step up our game with a rivalry with CycloCross. Srsly people. Cyclocross is continuing to grow and pull away polo players, and I have yet to meet anyone who has switched from cross to polo. Are you that mythical creature? Email me about it. I want to talk to you.)
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 myfriends! 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
Merry Christmas or Happy Festivus or Have a Pleasant Whatever-You-Celebrate! I know it’s relatively dreary outside, but that’s ok. It’s just another reason to catch up on polo content such as Mr Do Video and Lancaster Polo and all the other great polo blogs and archives out there. You cannot deny that it is a wonderful life as long as you’re giving and getting some dank presents from the people you care about. Don’t worry about eating too much glazed Christmas ham or drinking too many winter warmers or crushing too many Christmas cookies; there’s always New Year’s Eve for making resolutions (and subsequently sabotaging yourself at every opportunity).
Here’s a short list of things on my holiday wishlist:
a snowblower and flamethrower to get ice and snow off our Allston court
I guess I don’t really need much of anything else. If you think I left something important and necessary off my list, please let me know in the comments section. But really, I’m just thankful for my friends and family and I hope all of you protect your ligaments and scaphoids so we can get back to what is REALLY meaningful: scoring goals.
From all of us in Boston, take it easy this week. We know that you will probably have to explain to your family members why your knees and elbows are covered in mysterious cuts and bruises. My advice? Make something up involving an interracial gang fight and/or subsequently rescuing stray cats from a fire. And don’t stress out about buying presents; if you haven’t bought anything for anyone yet, don’t freak out– just get them a gift certificate to the nearest Olive Garden and cross someone special off your list.
December can be a tough time for bikers. Snow and salt on the ground, rain in your hair weighing heavy on your heart. Find a way to get some exercise: shovel your court, go on a run, join a polar bear swim club. Keep your blood pumping, so that when you get back on the court in March you won’t pop an artery.
Also I want to wish a very special Happy Birthday to Tyler Paul Farris, a Boston Bike Polo warrior-poet (currently on the disabled list with a busted shoulder #sadface). This kid knows how to have fun. Look, here he is spitting corn in my face:
All I’m saying is, if you know Tyler, reach out and tell him to sext you a picture of a smiling ghost.
The weekend after Worlds, October 26-27, 14 teams descended on Boston for the 3rd annual Commonwealth Classic. We witnessed the future of bike polo – dizzy bat, watched Nico reverse enter a hammock on a fence (wtf. still don’t understand), and took heckling to the next level by adding some firecrackers behind those insults.
We kicked off the tournament Boston style – with bloody mary’s – and played some brisk fall polo during 5 rounds of swiss play on Saturday. Despite some complaining constructive feedback about how to deal with shuffle teams in the swiss rounds, Saturday ended with some beautiful displays of purple smoke-bombs and firecrackers on the court.
Saturday night while drinking some beer and watching some hockey, some New York dudes began to tell us some mystical tales of ‘dizzy bat.’ ‘It will save bike polo,’ they said, and although they tried to explain it to us, it wasn’t until double elims on Sunday that we saw it with our own eyes.
Thanks Zac, for this instragram magic.
Action stepped up another level on Sunday afternoon as Boston Pro Squad (Addison, Robby, Johan) went into golden goal OT versus Something Offensive (Kruse, Blackburn, Mumford), with Something Offensive going on to win the winners bracket. Something Offensive went into a double final versus Bulging Net (Hamersly, Norris, Toni), losing twice to a team they beat in the winner’s bracket. However, the most exciting part of the finals were the fireworks – nothing lights a game on fire, like literal fire and gun powder on the court.
Thus, by some bullshit of Toni bringing in out of town ringers, the Commonwealth Cup stays in Boston. Toni is currently letting his cats fondle the cup, and then doing what he does best – creating instagram masterpieces.
Next year the cup will stay in Boston with a full Boston team. COUNT IT.
Huge shout out to our sponsors – thanks for your support! And thanks for the photos Gus!
John Harvard Brewery
(also Vitacoco, you should know, that vitacoco+flat beer+whiskey = not as gross as you’d think. Thanks for the recipe, Deco.)
See y’all for Commonwealth Classic 2014 – fireworks guaranteed!
Its winter – the sun is going down early and we only have streetlight to illuminate our pickup courts. So we head to hockeytown for some fully-lit polo with Northampton, MA and Burlington, VT joining to make it all the merrier. Those who hadn’t experienced it before took a moment to warm to the mylec surface and before long everyone got in some solid polo.
Rumor has it this will be the courts for the 2013 NAH Easyside Regional Qualifiers…