1. I don’t get nervous at Tourneys
I fully expected that I’d get the jitters with the thought of facing down some of the best teams around, and wore my Depends just in case. But as it turns out, I wasn’t worried in the least. There may have been a few fleeting moments of nerves – but those were when I thought the beer ran out or I was concerned with how I looked to the polo girls.
Spoiler: I looked like a furry barrel with a beard.
2. I didn’t feel completely out-gunned
This kinda feeds into no.1, but I also expected to be completely schooled at this tourney. I mean – we were playing against folks who have been in bike polo longer, practiced harder (maybe), and knew what they were doing (probably). Much to my enjoyment, Scrimmage held its own rather well the first day (5 wins, 2 losses), and didn’t make a bad show of losing our first 2 games the second day – we scored points, after all.
So what I learned was: you’re probably better than what you think you are. It makes sense, really. If you play at something each week for a year or so, you’re bound to have picked something up that’s beneficial.
3. Everyone is excited
Everyone.Wants.To.Be.There. It’s awesome. The whole of ESPIs was filled with this intense desire to be part of it. Everyone was approachable, happy, and willing to talk about what was going on. Community. I’m telling you.
4. Drink water, son.
I listened to Chandel’s advice about hydration and made sure to drink plenty of water. Lemme tell you – it was pretty clear by the last game that my body was pissed at me, and if I hadn’t hydrated, I’m sure I woulda woken up in the middle of the night with Charlie horses and my team mates thinking an intruder was assaulting my nether regions.
5. Work with the hosting club, they’ll appreciate the hell outta you
It became apparent to me that hosting a big tourney like ESPI 7 takes a lot. Between setting up the rinks, building the boards, permits, food, getting team organized – it’s super human attention to detail.
First off: DC bike polo did a fantastic job. I was amazed at how smooth everything turned out to be.
That being what it is, they also needed to find refs, goal judges, and people to help set up at times. It’s important that you help with this. We aren’t a “major league” sport, so thinking that it’s someone else’s job to help out is bullshit. If the hosting club comes to you and asks for a hand (even if it’s to ref on a court for a few hours when you aren’t playing) just do it. You’re taking something off of the plate for an organizer who has already fried everything in their brain just trying to get the tourney together.
Besides, you get a whistle and have a chance to wave your arms like a dummy. Who doesn’t want that?
6. Tourneys are like weekend seminars of the sport
I learned more in the two days I was at ESPIs than I had for months about polo. Since we’re such a passionate group of people, we are passionate about explaining the sport, talking about strategy and equipment, and where we think the sport is going. It was EPIC for a guy who writes about the sport, but even moreso as someone who plays the sport.
7. I have a fan base
Full disclosure: I thought all of the hits I got on this site were my mom and wife just clicking on everything to make me feel better. It was amazing when the first guy we bumped into recognized me as “Crusher from the polo blog”, but when it kept happening – well, I got a little humbled, really.
It’s cool that you guys appreciate the work I’m putting into the site – that you value the stuff I provide and are thanking me for doing it. Group hugs whenever we see each other again, I promise.