Would a Permanent Goalie Work in Bike Polo?

No – I don’t mean the guy who just hangs out back there and waits for the play to come to him, a la this fellow here:


I mean having a fourth player on the team – the goalie – enabling there to be three players in constant play on the court with one fellow dedicated to defense.

Ok – before you completely destroy this little hypothetical of mine, let me give you the parameters I see this working with:

1. The “goalie” must stay behind the half (their goal half of the court).

2. The “goalie” can pop out to make a play, as long as one player of the same team goes back to act as the “goalie” – much the same as position swapping in lacrosse and, I imagine, other fun sports.

3. The “goalie” is otherwise subject to all other rules that are currently in the rulebook o’ bike polo.

Reasons I think it’s a good idea:

Besides the fact that it suites my general laziness and skillset in polo, it also allows for more people to play in a team. This is both good in the strictly selfish (less time sitting), but also in the tourney (potentially less players looking for 3 man teams, more time to play, smaller tourney bloat).

It’s also a good idea, I think, because it helps build a dynamic that most other sports have – both a defensive focus and offensive focus, rather than the willy-nilly devil-may-care focus we have currently.

And think about what tourneys look like today: most teams find themselves leaving a guy or gal in goal anyway. If we make a fourth player position, you’d have 3 attacking the goal with 4 defending it (or 3 defending and one up for a lucky dish). That’d add some more interesting offensive and defensive strategy, yes?

Having a full time goalie would also make the sport much more competitive (less dumb goals from full court), so skills would naturally go up as would tourney level play. I guess this one can be argued to the opposite as well, but as this is my post, I won’t explain why.

Reasons I think it’s a bad idea:


It’s pretty much impossible to change anything in bike polo without a bunch of players getting angsty on the LoBP (ALL HAIL) boards. People are gonna do what comes naturally, and adding a fourth player who sticks to goal will not come naturally to bike polo (see above boo).

You’ve also created more basic rules to make it work effectively, and more for a ref to keep his eyes open for – namely did someone scoot back to their half when the goalie took a break away to shoot. Refs have a hard enough time keeping an eye out for everything going on, so I can see plenty of people making a ruckus over needing to watch for even more.

What’s next?

Nothing. No, really. This is just me posing the question out to you folks for your hate/concern/thoughts on the premise of a full time goalie. I don’t assume that we’ll get to a point of creating an actual team structure for bike polo anytime soon, nor do I think we necessarily need one at this point. But if 30 years from now I’m being interviewed Bert Sugar style I can say “yup, I tol’ ‘em we’d be moving to a permanent goalie back in twenty-twelve. Look who’s crazy now, aehehehehehHEHEHEHEHEHE.”

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  1. Horse says:

    If you’re going to add a perma-goalie, then he shouldn’t be allowed to join play as in parameter #2, just as in other sports with perma-goalies. Then what you’ve created is a 4 man team of players who rotate in and out of goal. Rule enforcement would be horribly difficult. Did he rotate into goal immediately? how long did it take? etc. Have the goalie wear a different color.
    Second thought is on tournaments. while it might make team selection easier, and perhaps ease the number of teams, you really would have a difficult, crash prone, ugly game on a short court. Tourneys would almost have to be on full size hockey courts. Currently, its rare that you have 6 guys moving on the court. One team usually keeps a guy ‘in goal’ or at least back. With a perma-goalie, you’re creating a constant 3v3 on the court. That’s a lot of bikes moving around at once.
    just thoughts:)

    • Crusher says:

      Horse: whenever you say “thoughts” it means you are going to rip into whoever said it. Just so you know that I know. haha.

      But I completely concede your second point, as I didn’t think about it in short court.

      As for your first: there are no sports with perma-goalies who can run out of the goal all the way up, but there are plenty of sports that have defensive players who can swap with offensive players- and that works well. The rotation would simply be that at least 1 player is on the defensive side while the goalie is out of the defensive side. This would be easily achieved already, as tourney teams have to wear like-jerseys to ID themselves. The ref would just have to see if there was one guy or gal back.


      • Horse says:

        i would say in most instances of our current game, then all you’re doing is adding an additional player, not a goalie. the majority of teams are keeping a guy back anyway, so what are you gaining (besides a body)?

        • Crusher says:

          A good point, Horse!

          Please refer to the section with the header “reasons I think it’s a good idea” to see what I think you’re gaining.

          hahahah – in short: specific skill-set positions, less tourney bloat, new offensive/defensive dynamic, and more competitive play.

        • Crusher says:

          but please also keep in mind that this is just me playing around with ideas. You can tell by the way I mock myself throughout the post.

  2. Horse says:

    I don’t care, I am mad at you for suggesting it.
    just my thoughts though:)

  3. Karl berwyn says:

    Then “offsides” would have to come into play. Unless you want complete madness.

  4. Irish velo says:

    Someone forgets what it was like when we did this type of play at Reynolds and early Fairview. Lots more crashing even on big court. It would slow the game down somewhat, now that we are a little more careful to not break each other.

    • Crusher says:

      would it? I mean – there are times when we have no goalie and 3 players up on a goal. Account, also, for the defensive goalie being in goal – you’d have three offensive players against three defensive players, with goalies in each goal.

      That just take out the goalies and and you’d have what happens often enough currently. The big difference would be that having 3 defensive players who are moving wouldn’t be a disadvantage (as, instead of having the goal open, there would be a 4th player in there).

  5. Bill Laudien says:

    You could accomplish the same thing without the hassles by just putting up a piece of plywood with holes at the corners and where the bottom bracket would be…which is essentially what the guy playing goal is now anyway.

    If I were king I’d

    * have wooden goaltenders with a crease that no one was allowed to ride through.

    * I’d allow shuffle goals

    * You could only instantiate contact from the side and when your front hub was ahead of the other riders front hub.

    * I’d allow penalty shots from the point of any infraction.

    • Crusher says:

      Thanks for the insight, Bill.

      You’ve reduced my only bike polo skill to that of a piece of wood, but I do appreciate your insight.

    • Horse says:

      no one would be able to crash me
      i’d score more
      no one would be able to crash me
      i’d score more
      my ankle still hurts.

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