This report filed by Horse (you can tell because none of the pictures are of bike polo and are only of his motorcycle, primarily).
I hadn’t been to NYC in years. I spent a day there in 2012 for the Summer Solstice yoga conference in Times Square, but that doesn’t really count… because it’s yoga, and because it’s Times Square. Needless to say, I was amped to load the bike onto the motorcycle and head up to the big city to play ESBI 2014 with Philly in the famous Pit.
The ride up was fantastic if uneventful. You get a lot of looks with a bicycle strapped to your motorcycle, and I imagine there are quite a few Instagrams with the hashtag #wtfamilookingat. The route north through PA is really beautiful, and surprisingly short, making me wonder why I hadn’t done it before.
Then I got to the Holland Tunnel, New York’s $14 way of telling you to piss off and go back home. I get it, it’s neat, it was probably expensive, and it’s a tunnel…but $14 bucks to drive a mile? Immediately upon exiting the tunnel I discovered two things. One, iMaps is terrible in NYC, and two, cabbies have zero regard for human life. Fun.
Somehow I made it to the registration party and was ultra-happy to see so many familiar faces. The bar we were at reminded me of the Fridge in Lancaster, lots of bottle selections, good tap choices, and odd small plates like little cheeses and pretzels. I met up with my host for the weekend, Andrew Otto, and proceeded back to the bonified Brooklyn Loft that I assume he had swiped the keys to at a Laundromat. I quickly passed out on the couch.
Saturday was pretty damn epic. I had never played a bench tourney before, and the hour long matches really test your endurance (I have none) and your strategy (thank god Biddle has some). Philly played really well, beating out NYC A in a super intense matchup, and finishing the day seeded second. There was a lot of other cool shit that happened but I was too tired to remember much of it.
Saturday there was a party at this bar in Brooklyn that was awesome, except for the part where it was cash only. I still don’t understand cash-only. I probably never will even if you explain it to me. Its just dumb. I had a few drinks, hung out with the poloverse, chatted up my pals from Holy Ghost and called it a night.
Sunday was the big show. Single elimination. Philly and NYC-A got a buy to the second round so I grabbed breakfast with a small gang. DC got eliminated right away along with NYC B, so the second round was NYC A on Boston, and Philly on Pittsburgh. Both games were awesome, and close, and come finals time it was us and NYC-A.
Before finals talk though, its worth bringing something up that pissed me off, and really, the only thing that pissed me off all weekend. Overall the reffing was pretty good, enough volunteers, relatively consistent if laid back calls, and good vibes. That was until the NYC A and Boston game. Alias volunteered to ref, and then shit hit the fan. More specifically, Dnola’s shit. If you’re reading this, Dnola, you’re a douchebag. If you think you’re being funny you’re the only one laughing. You look like an idiot parading around making a point, berating the refs, and outright insulting people. I would hope that the sport would have the same reaction to bullying as it would to sexism, but I was let down. Your club seems to have come to terms with your attitude, which is a sad thing, because no one deserves that kind of response, or to be surrounded by your negative energy. Disagreeing with a ref’s call is one thing, but your actions and words went far beyond humor or heckling, during and after the game. Grow the fuck up. Heckling is awesome and an important part of any sport, but being an asshole is not.
Finals were sick. We got out to an early lead on NYC going in to the half, and were feeling really confident. The tides shifted though, as Zac and Nate gathered momentum and one goal after another broke us down. It was awesome to see them in action in bench format. What a rally. It’s one of those losses that you can feel good about, for sure.
Overall? Sick weekend. Awesome format, great hosts, great courts, great people. It made it worth the 2 hour ride home in the worst storm of the summer.