Bike polo is getting bigger. Oh yes! Even between last year and this year, I can say “I’m a bike polo player” and people don’t think I said “bolo slayer” and just have a speech impediment. The growth of polo is going to lead to a great expansion of courts, equipment, and players. And that reminds me of a few stories.
Way back in the early 1900’s (when Lumberjack was a spry 67 years old), medicine was just beginning to get into radiation as a treatment for Godknowswhat. Drinking radiation water, wearing uranium blankets and shooting yourself in the face (why not, you’re already growing a second one on your shoulder) was all the rage. The rapid expansion of medical science made this possible: folks with little knowledge but silver tongues could convince other folks that what they had to sell was the gen-u-wine article for whatever they needed.
Now think about where bike polo is right now: it’s gaining traction, the equipment we use is rapidly being revolutionized/customized/optimized for the sport, and people are just holding open their wallets for whatever comes next.
This is a great time to be a flim-flam man. Everyone wants something, but nobody knows how to tell what is good or bad. Just look at the expansion of the bike polo mallet as your paradigm:
- MKE Mallet Heads
Some of the mallet heads available are great, to be sure – but that lineup is pretty amazing. Consider baseball bats: how many companies exist that make those (good ones, not those foam ones you used to violently beat up your younger brother, thought that was pretty fun, too)?
The time is right for people to start producing horrible, horrible equipment and sell it to the unsuspecting masses – the third one on that list, for instance. It comes down to awareness : feel free to try any new product out there, but be sure to share your results with the polo world. There is nothing worse than getting hosed by some guy making mallets out of egg cartons in his mom’s basement. Not that it’s happened to me. Twice.
Is it awesome that so many people are able to create equipment for our sport and (maybe someday) make a profit at it? absolutely. Is it also frightening that some of them have no idea what they are doing? Probably should be. At best you’ll just be out a few clams and your club will make fun of you for a few nights. At worst, you’ll damage yourself, a team mate, or your bike as the mallet head 300x with self-swinging Action flies out of your hands and though your buddy’s torso.
So as you discover the dozens of bike polo specific ventures out there, give some thought to who built it and what their aim is: to improve the game or to improve their bankroll.