Meet the (Polo) Press: Virginia Castellan, GOALHOLE

Virginia

In my ongoing effort to capture every member of the Association of Bike Polo Journalists (like pokemon, I’ll add), I’d like to share this interview I recently did with my Aussie associate Virginia Castellan. From the moment GOALHOLE started, I knew it would be a website on par if not above my own efforts–and I comforted myself with the idea that GOALHOLE would focus only on the Australasian area of the planet. The website, however, quickly grew to cover polo all over the world, and I accepted that GOALHOLE would eclipse lancasterpolo in a matter of months.

But far from being upset about it, I enjoyed/enjoy the blog as much as everyone else! Here’s my interview with Virginia:

Tell me the origin story of your blog/how you got started writing about bike polo.

GOALHOLE started in March 2012. Ollie Wykeham and I thought that Australia and New Zealand needed a polo blog that was relevant to our region, up to date and fun. We were sick of other nameless Australian blogs just reposting stuff from overseas as though our own scenes counted for nothing. We wanted local content and most of all, original content. Bennett Rust got sick of us bitching about it so he made us GOALHOLE. Later Jamie Barber joined us.  Eventually we realised we had a bigger story to tell and opened GOALHOLE up for worldwide content. The boys don’t really do much any more but that’s another story :)

Why do you keep doing it?

GHWhen I first started, I was so much more motivated than I am now. I think there was a period of about a year where I posted at least 6 times a week. I even had stuff auto-posting in Australia when I went to Worlds in Geneva. Maybe it was easier for me to get content then.. or I tried harder to get it. I think about stopping and then I get inspired again by emerging scenes like Bucharest, Romania (http://www.goalhole.com/?s=bucharest) and being glad that we can provide them with a voice on the international polo scene.  I also really enjoy the people I have met through doing this. There are so many people I consider good friends that I have not actually met in person (like your good self).

What value do you think you’re providing bike polo–or are you even worried about doing that?

Well for a start, naked tournament photos (http://www.goalhole.com/2014/04/10/tournaments-liga-del-jamon-spain/). I think we have the widest selection of city reports from around the world. Guess that would make us a global power house in bike sports reporting ;)

Are You ever surprised by the reaction of your readers? What instance in particular surprised you?

I am always more surprised at the amount of people reading it, rather than their reactions in general. I was surprised to not get any grief from publishing Geoff Houghton’s player profile because he plays on a unicycle (http://www.goalhole.com/?s=unicycle). I am also really surprised at how unpopular most of my posts involving New Zealand are. It’s Lord of the Rings land, people!!

Where do you see bike polo going in the future?

ghbpThat is a tricky one and I think the answer varies depending on where you live.  In Australia I am not sure how much larger our main clubs are able to get without more polo specific infrastructure (or another basketball court that we haven’t been banned from). We have 40 players in Sydney and only one court. We have just started running a newbies night but I honestly don’t know where we will fit all the new people if they become regulars. It is hard to convince a local government authority that they should invest in your sport when only 40-60 people out of the 3.6 million in your city play it. I suppose this problem exists throughout the world and will always be a barrier to growing the sport into the mainstream.

What would make you stop running/writing on your blogs?

When I stop playing, I am pretty sure I will stop doing GOALHOLE. Maybe I am in semi-retirement on both fronts and just haven’t admitted it to myself yet??

 What’s the difference between your polo-self and your polo-writing-self?

My polo-writing self is pretty non-confrontational. My polo-self can be found picking fights/ arguing important points in Sydney secret polo groups and Australasian facebook pages.

How do you frame your blog (what I mean is: if you had to write a mission statement for your blog, what would it be)?

I wanted GOALHOLE to tell every part of bike polo from city reports from towns in New Zealand or Russia with 10 regular players to team profiles of world champions, like Call Me Daddy. Everyone and anyone can be on GOALHOLE (http://www.goalhole.com/get-on-goalhole/).

Other blogs: competition or family?

There are other polo blogs??  Family, for sure..  I don’t see it as a competition – we are all promoting the same sport and I don’t think any of us are in it for the advertising dollars. GOALHOLE doesn’t even have ads on our site.  I think 321polo, Lancaster and GOALHOLE do different things and can co-exist happily.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I just realised I haven’t even written this much for my own blog in the past 12 months :) Thanks for the invitation.

 

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