Tag Archive for bike polo court

D.C. Says Farewell


I asked Alias to write up his feelings on the loss of their home court in D.C. I’ve played on that court–I’ve drunk my drink and smoked my smokes there. It’s the first away-court I played at after my heart went bad, and the last away court I’ve played at currently. I think lots of cities lose their courts (it’s part of the sport, really), but it doesn’t make it any easier.  Consider this a eulogy to D.C.’s court, and the beginning of the search for a new one. 

I’m a sentimental guy. So Monday when I got the call that we were losing access to the park we play at, the realization that last night’s pick-up games would be our last hit me pretty hard.  We knew this moment was coming for some time.  The park and the school adjacent to it are a part of a large development project in northeast DC.  I have been our club’s point of contact with the developer as we’ve been lobbying them to build a multi-use court in the soon-to-be remodelled park.  So while we have made some good steps toward having that kind of facility, we knew that a reality of this situation would be that we’d be a displaced community for some time for a year to two years.

The court we played at wasn’t particularly nice, but it felt like home.  Once the news was out that it would be our last night at Brentwood Park, a lot of people replied that they weren’t planning on coming to polo, but felt compelled to come one last time.  In many ways it felt like any other night.  Lots of laughs, cheering, jeering, and yes, a little polo too.  We even had a random kid show up on a mountain bike pick up a mallet, and played like he had been playing for months.  It was that sort of polo magic that reminds you of your best times with your club.  The thought that this was our final time there actually left my mind.  So then, it was all that more devestating when I remembered as I was packing up at the end of the night.  It was hard to walk away.  I gave myself a moment to grieve, but then I decided that I’d need those feelings to motivate me to make sure we got our courts.  An early lesson I learned in bike polo is that when ou dab, it doesn’t matter if it was your fault or if you were fouled, what is important is getting back in the game.

We have a back up location, but it’s not great for practice.  It is very small.  However, in talking about this with others, I’ve been reminded about how fortunate we are in DC.  Many clubs don’t have as many dedicated members, and many play in worse situations.  That’s important perspective, but it didn’t make it suck any less.  So Brentwood Park, this isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later.  As for the region, you can expect to see more DC visitors on the weekends for the next two years.  To summarize my feelings, a quote:”Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhggggggggggggggggggg!  Shit!  NO!  You’re going the wrong way!  Dammit. Uhhhhhhhhgggggnnnnnn”
~Bruce (Warrior Poems Vol 8. 2013)

A Little Home-Town Drama


A month or so ago, Lancaster was setting up for it’s weekly Wednesday play (I’m going to be dramatizing this a bit, as I was not there at the time). They set up the lights, the moon shining off of Kruse’s skin enough that they questioned whether they were really necessary at all, and play commenced.[I’m not really sure Nick Kruse was there, I just wanted to that same joke as much as possible.]

However, a local law enforcement officer official came by and, unlike interactions with other police officer men before, commented that we really shouldn’t be playing at night unless we have permission, as the park is a dawn-to-dusk sort of place.

And, of course, he was exactly right.

And here are some lessons on what to do when that happens, dear readers: 

1. Instead of putting up a huge fight or simply ignoring the warning, Lancaster United said “ok, officer,” and shut down for the night. We then created an email chain to discuss what happened and next steps.

2. Next, it was decided that the best people/person to approach would be the Township, so after a somewhat extensive series of emails back and forth within the club’s current leadership, I called them up. I was told the guy I needed to speak to was out, and I could leave a message (which I did with my authoritative-but-not-a-jerk voice).

3. The township man called me back and I was nice as a hobbit can be to him. I explained we were at fault–I explained that we’d been using the court for years and that we made the goals that stand there now. I talked about how much we clean the area and keep the rink in good order. He was very impressed with all this, and then told him our problem.

He was already receptive to the idea of helping us, as out of everyone who used the rink, we were apparently the only ones who actually cared about it.

4. After he told me he’d bring it up with the committee to decide on, I left him alone for a week, and then called.

And then called again the week after.

And then called again the week after that.

And then once more during the next week.

Each and every time, I did so with courtesy, graciousness, and understanding. After all, we are such a tiny concern for a guy who needs to explain why snow isn’t being cleared/why the fire department doesn’t have enough money/etc.

Eventually (yesterday) I sent him an email, and he asked for a formal request.

5. The formal request was a great opportunity for me to show that we were not just a bunch of kids wanting to bend the rules for the sake of bending the rules. I presented our case, leaving out sport specific language (if he ever asked, of course I’d tell him, but it’s just as easy to not try to describe bike polo).

He loved the request, advised me to come to the meeting when it was discussed (this upcoming week), and told me he’d be reinforcing that this shouldn’t be a very big deal).

So, in summary, what I think we as a club did intelligently:

  1. Respectful and willing to follow the officer’s warning
  2. Didn’t try to sneak back to play
  3. Went through the correct routes to request permission
  4. Presented what we did for the benefit of the community (fixing up the rink, having goals made, cleaning up trash)
  5. Willingness to be present at committee meeting to speak directly to decision makers

Where it goes from here? Well, I guess we’ll see how the conversation goes with the committee. But I’m damned sure we aren’t the first club to deal with this, and definitely not the last. We stand to lose Winter Wednesday play, but stand to gain a set time and space for polo as well, so I’m very excited to see how it all plays out.

Melborne Knows How to Ask Nice

Melborne bike polo has drafted a proposal to their city asking for more multi-puprose courts to be built. Once again, bike polo is attempting to make inroads with municipalities and cities in a bid for a governed and available space:

Our submission calls for the creation of more publicly accessible active recreational spaces for bike polo and other activities that require similar spaces like roller derby, street inline and unicycle hockey, skating, bmx and fixed freestyle. The submission also promotes the idea of a climbing wall under freeways.

The submission is based on one we wrote last year for a local area redevelopment strategy. As urban planning is a non linear ongoing process, we plan to keep emphasising the need for more mixed use multi purpose courts to as many different departments, councils, agencies, studies and strategies as possible.

Melborne Bike polo goes on to provide some documents to help everyone out if they’re considering the same course of action, and I recommend you check it out. Hell, they welcome you to, even.

More multi-purpose courts in the City of Melbourne