This past weekend, I had the good fortune to travel down to D.C. to
meet the President and discuss this matter of nationalizing bike polo play bike polo with the fine folks down that way.I haven’t played for a very long time thanks to ol’ mother nature, and when I got out of my car upon arriving to find a glorious, sunny, climbing-to-60ish day; wellsir, you could have knocked me down with a ultralight right then.
Robocop met me courtside and we rode down to the local market to get some Miller High Lifes (only $2.00! Apparently that’s cheap down in D.C.) with Alex, Alias, and Jess. After our starter fuel we headed back to the court where I was re-introduced to the sport.
This is what I learned/relearned:
1. Bike polo is amazing: BIKE POLO IS AMAZING BIKE POLO IS AMAZING BIKE POLO IS AMAZING. THE PEOPLE WHO PLAY IT ARE GREAT. SCORING GOALS IS AMAZING. BIKE POLO IS AMAZING.
2. My heart was in it, even if my heart wasn’t in it: As you all know by my constant complaining about it, my ticker likes getting uppity sometimes. Well, I guess because of my completely lacking workout regimen over the winter, it wasn’t too keen on me going from potato to polo player all in one day. After a few games I felt it getting into too high a gear and needed to sit a few more games out than what I perhaps would have otherwise. Still, I didn’t die, so that’s a perk.
3. There are places to be on the court: D.C. as a club is very focused on plays. Not necessarily on planned out, white-board plays, but more like “if I’m here you should be here” plays. To that end, I wasn’t necessarily, ahem, in the right place at the right time.
However, when I was in the right spot, it became apparently that someone would feed me the ball if I was indeed the most likely to make a decent shot. Likewise, after a few games I had a sort of intuition that if I passed the ball to a certain area, my team-mate would likely be there.
Naturally I don’t mean every D.C. player is always in the same spot whenever the ball is in a certain position–but I am saying that they were more likely to be in a good spot than perhaps my own club finds itself.
The biggest difference between D.C. and Lancaster United is the focus on team over individual: D.C. looks to use the whole team (mostly), whereas Lancaster United looks to the individual (mostly). It was hard for me to utilize my team as much as I’d like to on Sunday, though I was head-over-heels with playing that I didn’t necessarily care, which I think was painfully apparent.
4. You will forget how to play: I did make goals, and blocked shots, and passed and everything else–but I didn’t do it nearly so well as I’d hoped to. Part of it is playing with folks I don’t normally play with, sure, but another part of it was simply that I haven’t been practicing or playing. If I had to do it over again, I think I would have spent more time practicing during the snowpocalypse than I did (read: practice at all).
5. It’s always worth travelling: I’m lucky to be living in Lancaster for many reasons, but one of the best for polo is the proximity to two other great clubs. This weekend I traveled to D.C., but right next door is also Philadelphia. These two clubs produce some great polo players and are welcoming to visitors, which is great for us here in Lancaster. By travelling you learn how more people play, which expands your abilities (since the same trick you use back home might not work in another town), introduces new ideas, and revitalizes your interest in the game.
Anyway, I had a blast and thank the D.C. crew for being so welcoming and so hospitable to me
ruining their plays and losing almost every game I played showing all of them how the game is played.