On September 25th, 2010, I played my first ever day of bike polo. I’m not going to re-hash the creation story here (you can follow the link at the bottom of this post if you want to relive that magical moment), but I do want to touch on some of the things that have changed for myself and for the sport since I’ve started playing, as I think 3 years gives me a pretty good amount of time to see the span of polo. At least in polo terms.
I have noticed a stronger embrace of safety equipment, for one thing. When I first started, we didn’t wear helmets, much less pads. Now it’s perfectly acceptable to see a player who is decked out with a face cage, knee and elbow pads, and perhaps even shoulder pads, as the case may be. I think this is a good thing, as it really doesn’t interfere with the game and it makes people more comfortable, though I know one lumberjack who would disagree.
I’ve also noticed that tourney organizers are reaching out to small, local businesses more, which I also think is good. Making bike polo something that is embraced by a community (rather than something that is hidden from a community) makes it easier to gain attention from potential sponsors & potential players, while also furthering the possibility of support by the community in finding a good home for the polo courts (yes, this can often backfire, but generally it’s a good thing). In that same vein, tournaments are becoming more streamlined and less confusing to operate, generally, making it more enjoyable for everyone involved.
I’ve noticed that drinking courtside is on the decline (either because the places tourneys are being held don’t allow alcoholic beverages or because of the decisions of the organizers), and I think that’s a continuing trend. I neither think this is good or bad, it simply is. Seeing as though I can’t drink more than one beer and play anymore (thanks, heart), I’m kinda indifferent.
I’m playing more intelligently than I ever have, and in the past year I’ve taken my own development more seriously. In that I mean I’ve noticed what I’m weak on and have tried to get better. Am I an A player? No, not by a long-shot. But I think I’m a dependable player, and that’s pretty damned good for a guy who is not at all good at most physical activity.
Lancaster United has a lot of great players now, both established and upcoming. We are hosting ESPIs next year and continue to grow in the polo scene. Right now, at this very moment, we’re kind-of disintegrating as far as numbers for polo goes, but it’s turning into winter polo, and that happens every year (and I get freaked out about it every year). We have a good amount of new players coming in, and that’s the best sign of all for our club’s health.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that it was (like two weeks ago) my poloversary, and that’s that. Buy me a cupcake next time you see me.