“When there’s nothing left to burn, you must set yourself on fire.”
Or, alternately, when you haven’t anyone to interview, you should just do a little one on yourself. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Crusher is the editor and workhorse of Lancasterpolo.com and a club member of Lancaster United Bike Polo. He sat down as me to conduct this interview. We discussed playing versus understanding the sport, his rise to interweb fame, and the dangers of split personality disorders.
Tell me about your set up (bike, equipment, etc):
As far as my mallets go, I currently have a fixcraft Unibody Head attached to one of those new LT shafts (via a cleat, which I’m excited about seeing out on the market), an ARC mallet head attached to an old Fixcraft XT, A MILK head attached to an Arena Creamy shaft, and an Arena head attached to an Arena Creamy Shaft.
Everything outside of that is pretty boring. Oh, platform pedals. That’s exciting, right?
When did you start playing bike polo, and where.
I started playing bike polo in October of 2011, and I’ve always played for Lancaster United (of course, back then we didn’t have many York players and we were called Lancaster City Bike Polo). As I’ve said before on this blog, it was Horse that got me started in this whole mess, but it was the club that kept me coming back for more. It’s a good thing.
What has changed from the first time you started playing to now?
Do you mean for myself, my club, or the sport in general?
All of them, I guess.
That was kinda a shitty interview question, don’t you think?
Not very specific, I mean.
Well, anyway: asking how a player has changed from the first time they played to where they are now is kinda silly. Hopefully the answer is “quite a lot.” For one thing, I’m not rolling around on a bike from the sixties. Before playing bike polo, I hadn’t been on a bike at all since I was fifteen or so. As you can expect, my bike handling is steadily improving with time. I’m not nearly so violent on the bike now, either, as I think can be said about the majority of Lancaster United and the sport in general.
My club has changed dramatically: we have a pretty even mix of Lancastrians and Yorkers playing, with about 12-14 people coming out on the biggest days. We’ve secured two tennis courts to play on in the city (though we never do), and have a pretty good relationship with the hockey players of an outdoor rink between York and Lancaster, which we used for the Keystone Classic and for most every pickup day. We as a club are trying to be more active in the sport at large, and as such are hosting the 2014 Eastside regional qualifiers. So there.
The sport, looking at it as a whole, has changed to be a bit more regulated and a bit more intense, I think. Not more brutal – but intense. Skill is winning out against power and there are more “big name” players in the sport. Companies are springing up everywhere to make equipment, and more people who don’t play are at least mildly aware of the sport. That’s kinda fun.
So tell me about the blog: how did it get started, and how did it get to where it is now?
The blog started out of a meeting Lancaster polo players had at a local watering hole. We were talking about how to move or club forward, and people were making really great suggestions on outreach, securing areas to play, etc.
I really didn’t have anything to contribute, as I was a general miscreant and not very useful. So, semi-drunkenly, I blurted out “I’ll start a blog and stuffffffffffffff” and I kept making that “f” noise until someone slapped me.
On the walk back to my house, fighting against the small blizzard that hit Lancaster that night, I realized what a horrible mistake I made.
So I avoided it until the other Lancaster guys got angry at me, then I went ahead and just started posting stuff: jokes at other players, tips about playing, and whatever else popped into my head.
After about a year, I noticed that we were getting more visitors from out of Lancaster than from within it. After two years I noticed we were getting worldwide attention on the blog. Thus ended my hope of operating it for just long enough that I could slink away from it and nobody would be the wiser.
Sounds like you really don’t like it.
That’s an outright lie, and you’re trying to turn the people against me. I do love the blog and how much people seem to like it. It takes a lot of time, sure, but how better to spend time than talking about the sport.
I think the part I like the most is simply that I have been able to be really opinionated without people losing their minds. I think the readership understands that the majority of articles are based around opinion (not hard facts), and that works well for both of us.
You receive a fair amount of products to review for free – doesn’t that kinda make you careful about how you review them.
Yes and no – I’ll generally ask people to send me their products for a review, and leave it up to them to decide if they want to do it for free or discount/full cost. I’m not a rich man, so it’s hard for me to get everything out there into my hands.
I’ll tell companies that I am happy to review their wares and equally as happy to be completely honest with what I think. That’s part of the agreement and I think it’s important to have that be out in the open.
Websites like Top Shelf Polo will oftentimes pay for the equipment they review (as seen recently with the mallet head reviews he’s doing), and I can certainly see the draw of not even having it be a question as to who owes who, but that would require fiscal responsibility on my part, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
What are you most excited about in this coming year
I think there’s going to be a lot of development in bike polo equipment, and I’m kinda a sucker for new stuff. I’m also excited to finally get up to Flour City for the Invitational, and excited to see Lancaster United get out to more tourneys.
On the blog side, I really am neither excited nor unexcited – I play it by ear every week, so there is no long term planning. Let’s just say I’m hoping to keep babbling in a way that people enjoy.
What are some of the regrets you have?
What kind of question is that?
Actually, I do have an answer for that: I wish I could go out and report on more tourneys. I have a full time job on top of the part time one that is the blog, and it makes it really hard to travel across the states to take pictures, interview, and do the blog thing.
Do you have anything else to add?
I do not, other than thanking you for the time and thanking you, dear reader, for reading.