What I learned at the first-cold-night of Polo

cold

Last night brought about the first under 30 degree night of playing polo. Thankfully, there was very little wind, so it wasn’t at all bad to be out pedaling around in. We had probably the perfect number of players show up (8 early on, with 7 remaining the whole night + an occasional 8th (Couscous’ son)) and we had some very solid, very close games all night long. So! What did I learn?

1. Young players will be the end of us all: We already have one slaying 13 year old on the team, and as it turns out, Couscous’ son has all the trimmings to also be a slayer. I don’t like it. They’re so young–they have so much time to learn the sport. It isn’t fair. It isn’t fair at all.

But it also makes me very hopeful. If the starting age of polo players (who can handle the bulk and aggression of adults) is 13, then I can see a longevity of our sport. I can see it being something that is, at some point, part of a high school gym class.

2. Gentlemen Jack is disgusting: Don’t buy it. Really. It’s not worth the money or the amount of disappointment you’ll feel at having a swig. It does work at keeping your joints warm, though, so I am thankful for that.

3. Talking all the time, even if you have nothing to say, is a value on the court: I jabber a lot on the court. It’s just what I do to release my own tension and let my team know what’s going on. Last night my jibber jabber turned out to be more helpful than most times in showing off where I was and promoting my other two players to communicate back. It’s helpful if you keep in mind that you’re just playing a game (so don’t act so very serious when your on the court), and you’ll find yourself getting jabbery, too.

4. Cutting lines is as important as making lanes: I don’t know where I picked it up, but I find myself, when in goal, telling people to “cut his line.” What I mean is, cut the direct path a player or the ball has to the goal. If my other two players can consistently “cut the line” of another player, it makes those frustrating goals through my 5 hole less frequent.

In much the same way, making lanes for your ball carrier is the best way to stop people from cutting your own line and makes shooting on the goal so much easier. So instead of just rolling up-court and hoping for a pass to shoot on, think about how you can help the gal who has the ball on your own team.

5. Go fast when players slow down, and slow down when they are going fast: The easiest way I get out of a situation is to do the opposite of what the other players are doing. When I get a break away, I inevitably have someone who is catching up to me (slowski). So what I do is apply the breaks super-heavy when they get just out of reach. They zip past me and then I have a clear wing and, generally, a clear shot on goal.

P.S.: it took until about 3AM for my flanks to get warm again. I thank you, bodyfat, for the insulation.

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