If there is nothing else I have learned by going to tournaments (outside of the power behind a person who has sunscreen and the value of a pop-up tent), it’s that there are simply some teams that will always win, and teams that will always loose. Point in fact, my first big tourney (ESPIs in Frederick a few years ago), the Beaver Boys and the Means both attended, and even then I understood that those two would be the first and second place teams–which of course, they were, if memory serves).
And that’s sort of the nature of the sport right now: a player signs up for a tourney, they take a look at who is going, and they figure out the first 5 teams if they want to.
And while that’s all well and good, it leaves a lot of weaker teams feeling as though they really don’t have a shot. While it’s not important to play in a tourney with the expectation of winning the whole thing (being a Millennial, I think I’m supposed to get an award for just participating, right?), there is something to be said for going to every tournament and knowing that you’re not even going to get close to the podium.
There are hundreds of bike polo teams that go to dozens of tourneys each year, and the majority of them are, I’d dare say, disenfranchised about winning a damn thing.
What I’m talking about has nothing to do with being fair–there are always going to be players who are better than other players–I’m talking about the survival of our sport. If newer/less skillful players stop going to tournaments–or feel like they simply shouldn’t waste the money to be devastated by a series of A class teams–then we’re cutting off the growth of our sport, at least in the manner of having a vibrant, changing tournament structure. Read more