Do We Undervalue Strategy?


Real talk: sometimes, when I’m not writing up my cute little stories or sending pixel rendered zombies to their doom, I fantasize about what it will be like thirty years down the line, when I’m part of a roundtable discussion with Lancaster United (now a 35 member, nationally recognized team facing off in the World Polo Cup) about strategy. I’ve inexplicably got a bowler hat and a cigar, and every time I speak, the gathered coaches and owners go silent.

Because old Crusher is going to talk about strategy, gents. He’s going to talk about strategy and you’d better listen.

But then I come back to real life, and I write a little blog post about how you should make sure your team mates are open for a pass before shooting one off to them.

Now, this is me talking–I come from a little club that doesn’t have a slayer team put together, but I figure by this point you understand that I don’t try to tackle many topics outside of my own understanding. That being said, I’m curious if strategy will ever be discussed as more than an offhand remark after or before a match. I wonder if, as more clubs spring up and tourneys become more laden with slayer teams, people will spend nights getting together with their team mates to discuss strategy.

I wonder why more of us aren’t there right now.

Sure: we spend hours learning how to scoop, how to work on passes, how to do wheelie turns, but as far as I can tell, we do all of those things a lot more than we formulate strategy. Why is that?

I have often felt as though a bike polo match is one part skill and one part luck, and I think more often than not, strategy could take the place (or at least a high percentage) of either. I won’t bother you with comparisons from history, but let’s just agree that strategy can make up for a lack of skill or luck, or at the very least can hold its own.

As a player who isn’t going to break any records for goals or speed (or looks…or charm…), strategy is one thing I can develop and strengthen within my own play. Naturally, strategy has plenty to do with the other two people on your team, but if that gal and guy are aware of your strategy (in that you discussed it, or heaven forbid, practiced it), there’s a good chance that you can get around any raw talent that stands between you and a competitive game.

Strategy in bike polo is something that can be strengthened in all of us, I think. More than our need to make better equipment or work on our mallet/bike work. With strategy comes another level of play, and a step closer to my daydream of becoming a strategist for hire.

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