When I was a younger man, fresh from home and making my unsuspecting way through the world, I dabbled pretty heavily (I might go as far as to say dunked) myself in Buddhism. While I have come back to my Hebrite roots, I’ve always tried to carry with me the lessons that I learned while walking the Eightfold path, living with compassion, and playing guitar on my dorm steps for cigarettes and free food.
While struggling to come up with an article today, Horse inquired after the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. And there it was.
BAM. Instant Karma, y’all.
So – using my past experience in the Buddhific ways and my current polokin mindset, let’s take a very Zen look at the art of bike polo.
Breath in, hold the breath in your body and think of all life, and release.
All of Bike Polo (can) Be Suffering
And man, it’s good sometimes, isn’t it?! But to be fair, there are lots of chances to do some very serious harm in bike polo. My club has been very lucky in that we’ve had injuries that didn’t necessarily require an ambulance at the time.
That being what it is, I’ve had plenty of moments on the ground doing a complete body check before willing myself back up to my feet. Polo can hurt, and knowing that, dear student, is the first step towards enlightenment.
All of Polo is a Circle
Except for the 12 minute time limit or if a team gets five points. That’s like a hard stop really.
Compassion is a way past suffering
Play stops when someone is hurt. Unless you’re Matt Krofcheck. In that case, someone going down means that there’s a better chance to make a goal.
Lesson learned: as a goalie, don’t be concerned about the player who just took a hard fall. Keep your eye on the ball, cause Horse-badger just takes what he wants.
Right Speech, Right Action, Right?
Everything you say on the court is important: giving communication to your team mates, explaining the rules to a new player, and not yelling at someone for making an obvious mistake – these are examples of right speech .
Everything you do on the court is even more important: knowing how to navigate the play, how to not T bone the hell out of someone, and how to be in the right spot for a pass or to block a shot. Also retraining yourself from throwing a mallet at someone’s face – these are examples of right action.
Put those two together and you’ll be a little Bodhisattva on the court, son.
To Stop a Cycle, You Must Become the Cycle
I like that header because it could be like, you know, a cycle of birth, death and rebirth or a cycle like a bicycle.
See that. See how that works within the context of this article? D’ya get it? See?
See because cycle is short for bicycle or it could just be a…a cycle…like…
OK: but what I mean is this: bike polo players who are really very good at the sport don’t necessarily think “I’m really good at this sport” while they are playing or practicing. They just are. They just be that person who is good.
A great way of understanding how you’re coming along in the sport is to recognize when you are no longer thinking about the play or the communication. Whenever that just happens on it’s own, you’re there. You’re the Buddha of the bike.
3 2 1 OM!