Ginyu Force, winners of the Southeast Qualifiers held just last weekend, were willing to sit down with me (read: write me emails) to answer a few questions I had about their team, the event, and their region. I was so happy to have learned about their win and that they’ll be heading off to North Americans where hopefully they’ll give me a free beer or something. Maybe a hug.
I’ll let Ginyu Force introduce themselves for the uninitiated:
[We are] just some goofballs from Tallahassee, Fl. Probably the same as every college grad. Working multiple jobs, thinking too much about polo, saving up pennies for Fixcraft gear, and asking off for every other weekend. Florida is alright though. Year round polo isn’t so bad.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK! https://www.
Congrats on your SE Qualifier win! How are you feeling right now?
Christopher Hill: Good. Really good. I’m pleased that we stuck to our game plans. We stayed calm and collected, and played “our” game all weekend. It feels awesome to win, especially two years in a row. I can’t wait to get to Minneapolis again!
Arnold Francisco: Feeling great! It feels good to play with Bob and Chris again. We spent the 3 or 4 tournaments we attended before SEQ playing with other friends so it was nice to play in this important tournament together. We had a good time and executed all of the goals we set for ourselves each match.
Bob Delgado: We are extremely proud to represent our region for the second year in a row. We plan on bringing a solid group of teams to the North American Championship. It’s a shame we can’t bring more but we are doing everything we can to gain more spots for next season.
What were you surprised about at the qualifier?
C: Well, there’s a whole incident where 15 or so players awesome players from Florida were disqualified due to transportation issues (all were on the same bus, which broke down on the way to the qualifier). Long story short, the brackets became very skewed, teams got switched around and there were a lot of strong players that didn’t get their shot at qualifying. Toward the end of the PM bracket on Saturday they made it safely to the courts and organized a “Best of the Rest” tournament on a 3rd court that wasn’t being used in the tournament. It was an unfortunate incident.
Any teams that really put up a challenge? Why?
C: Dauphins from Mobile are solid dudes. Their club has always been a rival and sister to ours. They know us really well and It’s always a pleasure to play them. I’m stoked to watch them at NA’s.
Larry Hoover was tough because Kyle and Serg are both of TBP (well, Serg is formerly of.) They play pickup with us every week and know us better than anyone else there. But we stayed cool and capitalized. It’s going to be great to be in Minneapolis with those guys too. And you know we want to go to that NAH bench tournament!
A: Dauphins from Mobile, AL. Mobile has always been a strong club with great people on and off the court. KG, Jaques and Bernard (who recently returned from a few months of school in France being sure to spend free time playing polo with some of the best in the world) play a very awesome game together. I’m glad they qualified because I believe they will represent the Southeast region as a strong and smart team.
B: We played a lot of good teams along the way. The ones that stick out most are Larry Hoover (Mostly Tallahassee), Dauphins (Mobile) and Broken Bones (Memphis). We knew going in that those were the teams to beat. However the team wearing the Ninja Turtle shirts really caught us off guard. It took us over six minutes to break down their defense and score our first goal.
As the #1 team in the SE region, how do you think you’ll stack up to the other region’s top teams?
C: Last year we were the quintessential “first timers” from your article on types of people. I was just so stoked to see top-level teams play for real. It was eye-opening. Getting shredded by the Beavers is always a humbling experience. But now we know what to expect. The stars in my eyes won’t be as blinding this year.
A: We were lucky to not only qualify for NA’s in 2013 but also make the trip up to the biggest polo tournament on the continent. Last year was quite the eye opener for me. I think we were under the impression that there were some teams we were for sure going to beat. But one thing I learned is that every team there is there for a reason: they are the best players in their region and they traveled to show you why. I have changed a lot of aspects about how I play since then and I believe we know what to expect at a caliber of polo we rarely get to experience. Every game is different for us. There are a few basic rules we have set for ourselves but for the most part, we kinda figure out what we are going to do during a game 30 or so minutes before the match. So the short answer is: I have no idea how we will do but I know we’ll have a fucking blast finding out! One thing is for sure: I hope we get to play The Guardians!
B: We will see come July.
How has the SE region developed you as a team?
C: The SE is amazing. There’s no lack of friendly and outgoing polo people who want nothing more than to talk about polo strategy and bikes forever. I consider every one of them my friends. Everyone across our region is supportive of each others pursuit of growth and want to have a good time and that attitude is present amongst us on and off the court. We don’t let our egos get in the way, we don’t’ argue (much), we play to each others strengths. We may be one of the weakest regions, but I’m hoping we’ll change that. More bids, more NA’s, more polo, more fun.
A: The Southeast is a great region to grow in as a player. Everyone is incredible supportive when it comes to questions about gear, bikes, components and playing strategies. There is a lot of talk going on LoBP and Facebook regarding the Southeast’s status in the greater world of polo and what’s fair – this and that. Honestly, I don’t really know what to make of all of it. There are a lot of good players in the area but the fact is many of them don’t have the time or means to travel. I totally understand and respect that. Hell, the 3 of us have only played pick-up or participated in out of region tournaments once or twice. But back to the question at hand: the bit about there being really good players in the Southeast is the best answer. We don’t slide by each tournament. We struggle and learn from our mistakes and talk about them as often as we can. We had to come back from the losers bracket to win SEQ 2013 so yes, there are good players here but unfortunately, they rarely find time to travel.
B: The SE has a solid group of people both on and off the court. Like most polo community’s it’s such a welcoming environment to be a part of. I love being able to have a hard-fought tournament and with friends.
Are you going to North Americans? Worlds?
B: No way are we missing the big dance in July. Not too sure about France
How did you three practice before the qualifier? How do you practice in general?
A: As I said before, we spent most of the “season” playing with other folks. Bob and I got a few wins under our belts at very fun invitationals in the region. As a team, we watch a lot of footage individually. We see cool plays or moves that we try to incorporate into our game. I enjoy very simple plays that make working as a team easier. We all live in the same neighborhood. Bob’s house is 4 blocks from mine and Chris’ is 2 from his.
There is a graveyard right outside our neighborhood with an abandoned tennis court that we shoot around in. We all work until 6pm so a few weeks before SEQ we’d meet up once a week, drink beers and shoot at goals usually made with a few branches. A lot of our practicing is spent talking about different strategies in the sport, the newest Mr. Videos and passing around. We usually end our practicing playing an endless round of knife fight until we lose sunlight. It’s fun and a great way to end a long work day.
C: Like Arnold said, the three of us live in the same neighborhood and shoot around an old abandoned tennis court in a cemetery. Drink a few beers, take lots of shots, try and do the goofiest trick (Bob always wins!), play some bottom bracket until sundown. Then ride and get a burger. You know, how every team practices. Pro level stuff.
Was there anything that you noticed you did really well at/could work on as a team during the tourney?
C: We don’t have plays so much as ground rules. When we’re in this situation, do this. In that situation, do that. On the line before each game we look across and vocalize one trait to look out for from each opposing player. A strength to defend against, or a weakness to exploit. If we’re able to stick to our plan and follow our ground rules, we can often pull out a win. I love it when a plan comes together.
A: There’s always something new to work on as a team. However, I believe polo is a very situational sport that requires players to be very aware of their positioning on the court throughout the match. We are always working on being in the right place at the right time. That is why we have established a few simple rules for ourselves that we use in each game that make things easier on us individually and help us play as a team.
Anything you want to add?
C: We couldn’t have made it this far with out the support of our club Tallahassee Bike Polo. All our SE family, who always surprise me with the volume of their cheers and support and Justin Pogge of Old Field Cycles who’s built us the slickest polo sleds to date.
Please keep it up all your hard journalistic work, you’re a staple in the poloverse. Lancaster is a daily read of mine. Thanks for the opportunity, Crusher.
A: Thanks for wanting to ask us some questions! I always enjoy reading the posts on Lancaster Polo and I appreciate all the work you and your guest writers put into talking about the sport.
B: I would like to thank Justin Pogge and Danny Wood for making our club what it is today. Both are such stand up guys and Tallahassee is so lucky to have them. The Ginyu Force is extremely proud to be riding for Pogges company Old Field Cycles. His craftsmanship built all three of our polo specific bikes here in Tallahassee.
Thank you for all the work you do for the sport and for taking the time to interview us.
May the Force be with you!