Don’t Want to

 

nmazqc

 

Can’t Make me.

 

Okay–so I’m a bit out of the polo loop right now. I am switching jobs in about a week and have been super busy with getting ready for that. Please excuse the temporary break in normal nonsense.

6 Ways To Troll The League Of Bike Polo Forums

troll

In all truth, the LoBP (ALL HAIL!) forums are kind of the greatest thing to come out of our sport. They provide all the inside entertainment that a polo player needs in order to have a great time while at work or away from the courts.

But what if you don’t have anything constructive to say (okay, you’re in good company, really)? What if your post gets lost or nobody xWhatevers it? Might I suggest adding a new level of entertainment?

1. Ask–as a person outside of the bike polo community–what your new mallet design should have. Make sure to emphasize that you’re new to bike polo but want to revolutionize how the sport is played. Also make sure that you show a few really horrible done-in-MS-Paint drawings of your proposed design, including a mounting system that doesn’t make sense and a material that hasn’t ever been used in the sport. Maybe glass or something.

2. Copy someone else’s comment in your response, and then don’t mention any of it. For instance, copy something like “The problem with 4 foot boards is that they are hard to pay for in a regional tournament” but make your comment only about how frustrating it is that the NAH balls only come in orange. Keep doing this until someone notices, then copy their noticing into your response and call  them a poser.

3. Post a picture of a recumbent as your new polo bike.  Make sure to photoshop the NAH logo onto the flag.

4. Go into any rules discussion and demand that snortling be allowed. Do not explain what snortling is, but be adamant that the game will be ruined if it’s taken out of legal play.

5. Create a fake tournament 

6. Create two accounts and constantly argue with yourself about trivial points of the game. Type of rubber used in tires? Best kind of grip? The most appropriate shampoo for bike polo players to use? Ol’ Billybo and Charles R. Figglebottom just can’t seem to agree on anything, and will take up dozens of posts to make sure you know it.

 

Video from the Way Back

Here we have some Dublin Bicycle polo circa 1938. It seems hacking was permitted.

 

We NEED a Polo Tourney Vuvuzela

vuvuzela

Last year’s [Nick N. just informed me that the world cup is held every 4 years, like the Olympics or the NYC Waffle racing tournament. SPORTS! ] World Cup held plenty of sports people doing sports, but nothing was quite so memorable as the Vuvuzela: something that apparently had a different name than what my mother referred to it when my father bought me one at a football game in my youth (she then called it the divorce maker, and it worked wonderfully well).

What occurs to me now–as I struggle to come up with an article topic–is that bike polo really doesn’t have some fun noise maker for our tourneys. Some bike races have cow bells, football has those air-filled sexual aids that people bang together as ineffectively as their own stare-down at those damned kids who won’t leave the pool table alone in the bar, but bike polo has what? Somebody with a broken mallet slamming it against the boards? Shouting? I saw a  guy (Perry, of course) who brought a baseball bat to watch the final games–that was pretty effective at making noise against the boards…

But none of these can really be called a sport’s noisemaker. They are all happenstance items. They are MacGyver’d things.

I propose that we take something that we’re already familiar with–the mallet and board noise making premise–and revolutionize it.

I present to you, the Polozullalalala:

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It’s simple to construct: one small piece of board, a wrapped handle made of pole or wood, and the top end of a mallet (with mallet head attached) on a simple hinge to allow for the paddling movement to create a banging noise, reminiscent of that annoying-as-piss drunk guy who just keeps doing it next to the goal even though nothing is happening at all.

While still in early development (and still awaiting NAH approval), I believe this will easily become the next big-item in bike polo. Yes, I’m waiting for Fixcraft to contact me about buying the idea.

 

 

DZR Marcos: Months Later Review

DZR4

You might recall my frustrated first touch on the DZR Marco.  Frustrated not because of anything the shoe did, but frustrated because I received the shoes smack in the middle of winter and basically couldn’t ride in them for weeks.  So instead, I told you how great they were at riding the bus, or walking around town. Well, its six months later, East Sides have just passed, and I’ve been doing my best to put these shoes to their task… But you’d be hard pressed to tell. DZR1These shoes have held up amazingly well.   They show very little wear, a little crank rub on the inside of the ankle support and some wear on the Velcro strap, but otherwise they’re still mint.   Even the laces are holding up great, which is a vast improvement over the Mamba. They’re still stiff, feel perfect on the pedal;  a perfect mixture of power transfer and pedal feel, without developing hotspots.   How they do this and still make a shoe that’s honestly comfortable, I have no idea.   I essentially wore these shoes from Friday afternoon until Sunday night hosting ESQ.   Playing, organizing, running around like a headless chicken… and they never once bothered my feet. DZR3Reinforcing my previous ‘first touch’ articles predictions; the wider toe box has been a huge improvement.  Where the Mamba tends to cram my toes into the nose of the shoe, the Marco gives me plenty of breathing room which really pays off in terms of comfort after a day of playing. Also, the ventilation holes are well placed, and keep my feet at a reasonable temperature (and scent) throughout the day. Finally, the lacing system is so drastically improved that it might be my single favorite thing that I don’t notice.   Gone are the cloth hidden loops, narrow Velcro straps, and flat cloth laces.   In are reinforced eyelets, a wide and sturdy Velcro strap for mid-foot support, and round blended laces that have proven much more durable. DZR2I got these shoes for free, to test them out and review them.   That being said, even had I paid full price I’d be super happy with them.   They are the quintessential polo shoe, protecting us where we need it, offering that mixture of performance and comfort that is all too elusive, and styled in a way that fits right in with our normal getup.  (because I’ll never get used to seeing cut off jean shorts and a $300 pair of Sidi’s) Well done DZR.   Well Done.

You can find them right here on the DZR site: http://www.dzrshoes.com/marcoblk

Interview with 2014 Mexico Regional Qualifier Winners, Niño Dios

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Donas, Raul, and Nacho of Niño Dios were kind enough to let me interview them about the tournament, their team, and bike polo in Mexico. I am so excited to feature that interview here! They are going to North Americans this year, and are hoping to go to Worlds as well.

Congratulations! Tell me who you are and what club(s) you come from.

Donas: I´m Yair, people call me  “Donas”

Raul: Hey! My name is Raúl from Bici Polo Tapatío, born and raised in Guadalajara.

Nacho: First of all, thank you Crusher. We three are a team from Guadalajara, Jalisco, México (even the blonde one), and we’ve played together for three and a half years as part of Bici Polo Tapatío.

What was the tournament like? Anything unexpected happen?

D: The tournament was very exciting and fun. Good games and good attitude– that’s all you need to play polo.

R: The tournament was great. I was a little worried about getting the permit to play in that venue but everything worked out well, the courts were amazing!

Also, It was so much fun to have the best players from all around Mexico and a few internationals. I’m glad to see our polo familia grow every year.

N: The tourney was amazing, we as a team were also the main organizers, and I at least  thought that could affect our games, because it’s pretty hard to run an event and compete at the same time, but team work always works. It was nice to hear compliments all the time from my teammates and give it to them back too, I think that’s the key to victory.

niño dios mxq2014 (1)The Mexico region is one of the most up-and-coming regions in NAH–why do you think that is?

D: Cuz we look up to the ones that play better.

RWell, we have great players and the best weather to play year round. And now, some sweeeeeeet courts. Also my club is the best, awesome people having fun and willing to make anyone part of it.

N: Personally, I think the main reason is we all are pretty friendly, and it’s nice to be part of a community like this one, that’s why people wants to participate all the time, and as this time was the very first time we hosted an official NAH’s calendar tourney, the whole “Poloxico” was even more excited.

How do you think your region has been viewed by other regions?

Read more

Want to Grow Bike Polo? Forget Sponsors–Look to Schools.

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Image from the “Living the Dream” contest most recently held here at Lancasterpolo. 

Is Sponsorship the Only Way?

The bike polo Illuminati spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to decide if indeed bike polo is in the decline (I don’t think it is) and what we can do to reverse that trend if it proves to be accurate (which it’s not). Still, even if you’re only mildly involved in the game, chances are you have some sort of interest in where the sport is going and how that’s going to affect you down the line.

One of the refrains I hear more often than not is “wait until we get our first big sponsor.” And, no doubt, if Gatorade or Nike or Adidas wanted to throw a few thousand dollars at the NAH each year, we’d see some significant changes to how much support clubs got in order to host tourneys and build courts and whatever else. But throwing money at something isn’t always the best way to fix it. I know this as a fact, as I recently tried throwing my wallet at a leaking faucet and all I got was a wet wallet. (Thanks, Obama.)

But as true as that sounds–that getting a big chunk of dough will help our sport–I believe there is a more effective way to:

  • Gain a steady stream of new players for all clubs
  • Establish the sport as marketable/profitable
  • Create a community that is unified and vibrant

Look to the Gym Class

And it comes down to introducing grade-schools to the sport, and encouraging them, in turn, to introduce bike polo as a extra-curricular activity/gym class event.

Why is this a good idea? Well, let’s start with the basics: the more people we have getting involved in bike polo, the more likely it is that the sport will live beyond the first big wave we have going right now. People who learn to play a sport earlier in life are likely to develop a certain enjoyment from it, and typically continue to play that sport into college (or at least play it on the weekends with friends to stay in shape after college and what-not). Furthermore we’d be institutionalizing the game itself, making for a set way of learning the sport and having it be available to more people than just those who stumble into the game through luck.

This model (the school focus rather than sponsor focus) also gives bike polo equipment manufacturers something that they’re dying for: bulk orders. Imagine if a school–just one–needed to begin this sort of program up. They’d need to order dozens of complete mallets, dozens of various sized bikes (or at least bikes that could suit all body types–I remember how fun it was to be the only guy who needed the smallest golf club in gym class), and safety equipment to boot. Even if just a few companies were able to lock down those orders, the impact on their ability to research and develop more equipment (not to mention offer it up at a cheaper price) would be monumental. Read more

ESQ 2014: A Lancastrian Report, Part II

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Read Part 1 here

Sunday: Moar Polo, Moar Pain.

I wake up on Sunday a bit early to run off with Sean and get supplies for pancakes (his idea). He’s camped out in my yard via a hammock and when I wake him he’s instantly up and running, which reminds me just how old I’m becoming.

We get pancake mix, maple syrup (which, inexplicably, costs one dollar more in the organic aisle than it does in the regular store aisle) and I pick up a six pack of Gatorade for the day.

Sean takes over my kitchen though I do manage to make some cinnamon rolls. He makes pancakes and I wake up the other house guests for breakfast. It’s good. There is a special Deco pancake and it makes me happy inside.

Not that I ate it–I’m saying it just made me feel special, is all.

Photo Credit: Steve Bourque

Photo Credit: Steve Bourque

Anyway, we get going kind late and make it to the court with a few minutes to spare before our first game against Sweaty Jerkx (Sean, Sara, and Tucker). We realize that we’re the lower team out of the two of us, and we shore ourselves up for a hard game–which it certainly was.

During the game I have a teeny weeny crash with a team-mate and land on my shoulder, which make a series of noises that I’ll liken to pouring milk over puffed-rice cereal. After the snap, crackle, and pop, I make it back onto my bike and roll into goal long enough for our team to score another goal, making the score an even 3-3.

I don’t know if it was because of the crash or what, but I forget that there aren’t ties on elimination day. I hop off my bike and let the pain-waves run through my arm. Nick and Sara come to me, as does Blackburn (the ref of the game) I have Nick look at my shoulder and he says it looks fine (which later is concerning to me, as previous to the crash I had a bone poking up from a previously broken collar bone, which I don’t seem to have now). Blackburn explains that if I’m alright, we need to get going–so I get going off the court only to have Eric tell me that it’s a tie.

I remember then that we are in overtime, and sheepishly put my helmet back on and line up again. We end up getting a winning goal and I roll off the court and assess the damage: it hurts.

Photo Credit: Steve Bourque

Photo Credit: Steve Bourque

From that point on, it’s a matter of me trying to figure out just how much I can do with my shoulder. fortunately it’s not my mallet arm–but squeezing the brake is very difficult, and pulling the handlebars even moreso. Our next match is against White Fang and we are expecting a fair wash, which is exactly what happens (5-0 White Fang). I sit in goal most of the time and am thankful when the match is over. I take another handful of ibuprofen and sit down. Read more

ESQ 2014: A Lancastrian Report

My last day is Wednesday before the long break I’m taking to help out Horse with the tourney. I’m already fielding requests and last minute concerns he has, though I keep trying to remind him that I took off three days (Thursday, Friday, and Monday) to help him. I can understand why keeping something like my life compartmentalized isn’t necessarily at the top of his concern list. We agreed to host this thing in the middle of last year and it’s finally coming to a head.

Thursday = Build/Panic Day

2014-05-29 06.03.43There are things I didn’t know about hosting a tournament which are coming to pass as self-evident as we move to T-Day. One: you’ll never have as much help as you need, and Two: you won’t want to do anything you said you would. Case in point–waking up on Thursday at 5AM felt horrible. EVEN THOUGH that’s when I wake up during the week anyway. Something about manual labor will bring that out, I guess.

I’m joined at the barn we’ve been keeping all the boards by Horse, Ted, Alex, Rodney, and Hylon. Rodney’s brought one of his company’s trucks to load everything up, and when I see it I realize for the 400th time that we wouldn’t have been able to host this tourney without him. Fact.

You see, Rod made it possible to get the plywood on loan and to cart everything around. I think on it now and I can’t really see how we would have done this without him (or at least how we would have been so successful without his insight and help). Regardless, trucks aren’t made for looking at, they’re made for loading up, and we begin doing just that as the sky turns cloudy.

2014-05-29 06.32.15Loading the boards is quick work and requires only two trips. I am thankful for this.

On the truck ride to the courts (YES I RODE I A BIG BOY TRUCK) I talk to Rod about the process of the tourney and where he thinks we stand on everything. It becomes very obvious that while I might know more about bike polo than he does, he simply eclipses me with planning and event coordination. It’s all I can do to nod and agree with how much foresight this guy has.

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We stack up the boards and work begins on planning how to put them all together. Fortunately Horse is a designer/engineer, so he’s already mapped everything out in his head. He gives us (At this point it’s Hylon, Me, and Kyle, I think) simple instructions and we get to work. It doesn’t take long for two things to happen: progress and rain.

To be perfectly honest, the rain at first is lovely. we’re moving lumber all over the court and having a mist to accompany us is quite welcome. But the mist becomes a drizzle, and then a light rain, and then at times a full rain. Yeager arrives somewhere in the AM and helps make big progress as well–he and I work at laying out the boards and screwing them together in the middle of the courts. We make the most reasonable decision about halfway through building to take a break for lunch at Robburritos. It is a deliciously good decision, though by the end of it I want to go into a food nap so hard.

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When we return the rain is in full force, but so is our general anxiety about getting the work done on time. We build up the walls and strap them to the fence–we brace the free-floating areas and build the middle section as well. By this point I’m freezing and not terribly excited by the feeling sneaking into my bones, but the company is good and I’m hard-pressed to forget that I promised to help. So I help. It only occurs to me near the end of our day that I’ll be sore in the morning. Such is life.

Friday = Guests, Drinking, Hugs for Days.

Read more

Hey Man, Nice Shirt: Interview with One to One Print Shop

One to One

I had the good fortune to convince Kelli and Johnathon of One to One Print Shop to answer a few questions I had about their newest venture. What initially stuck me about their business was just how focused in it was on providing bike polo players with something that was generally difficult to pull off: high quality, cheap-to-buy shirts for tourneys and clubs. It seems like Kelli and Johnanthan are filling that gap while doing so much more, too.

photo-mainWho are you?

Johnathon McDowell and Kelli (Jurewicz) McDowell. We are parents, polo players and co-owners of a screen printing business!

How did you decide to open up a screen printing business?

We have over 15 years of screen printing experience between the two of us. I co-owned and operated a screen printing company in Florida for 6 years, and Johnathon had been working in the screen printing industry for over a decade. It only took good timing, some cash saving, and a little nudge to get Johnathon away from working for the man to start One to One Print Shop together.

PhotoGrid_1397452721251Are you specifically set up for polo players, or anyone?

We are set up for anyone, really. So far we have worked with local eateries, family reunion-ers and other small businesses. We are more in tune with the “little guy”. We aren’t trying to make a million, we are trying to provide printing services for people like us, those who don’t have a gob of money to drop on shirts but could benefit from selling a few.

What do you specialize in (what are you known for)?

Fast and efficient service without sacrificing quality. We take pride in what we do and we want our final product to reflect that accordingly.

IMG_20140507_163828That $40 dollar deal for 3 shirts–that’s a pretty sweet price for bike polo players. Why the generosity?

We designed the $40 deal for bike polo players because with the increasing cost to enter and travel to a tournament, having matching shirts seems like the last of your worries but it is still very crucial on the court. Most big screen printing businesses would either laugh at the idea of printing only three shirts, or charge you as if they will be printing high fashion designer shirts. No. We know you are going to be getting dirt, sweat (not only yours), and all of the grime that is bike polo on the shirts. You will take it home, maybe even wash it, and be forever reminded of that tournament. Personally, we cherish all the shirts we have collected over the years from bike polo gatherings, and we were beyond excited to provide something so memorable. Did we mention how legit you will look?

PhotoGrid_1394121084474What’s the coolest design you’ve been asked to do?

Jenny Scott’s Beer Goggles team shirts were pretty rad, that gal is off of her rocker and we love it! I also enjoyed printing the REFFIN AIN’T EASY shirts for Alias/The Eastside Thaw because well, it’s just true.

What separates you from other screen printing businesses?

Honestly the biggest difference is that we truly give a shit. We want folks to be able to show off the shirts they designed and be happy with the money they spent. This comes from the fact that we aren’t just in it for the money, we genuinely love printing. Our product is our advertisement, simply put.

IMG_20140501_165052Where do you see One to One going in the future?

Our hope is to stay small and busy. Luckily, things are going in that direction. “We print t-shirts for the American Working Man/Woman, because that’s who we are and that’s who we care about.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lastly, we are announcing that after the first of July we will be ending our 3 for $40 special for the year, so if that is something you want to take advantage of, get at us soon. We will be offering a City/Club/Team bulk order special for the remainder of the year so be on the lookout for that at www.onetooneprintshop.com or find/like us on Facebook, One to One Print Shop. Instagram as well, onetooneprintshop.