Tag Archive for ESQ2014

ESQ 2014: A Lancastrian Report, Part II

2014-06-01 07.27.32

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.

2014-05-29 07.11.29-2

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.

2014-05-29 13.36.02

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.

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And so it begins: ESQ2014 week


In just a few short days, polo players from all over the Confederated Clubs of Unilateral Animosity will converge on Lancaster City to take part in the Eastside Qualifier. These are players from all across the mid-to-north Atlantic and beyond, hoping to secure a spot for North Americans and, presumably, Worlds.

This is the first year Lancaster has hosted the qualifier, and we’re very excited to have so many people in-town to try out our whoopie pies and meet our kinfolk. We are likewise excited to get the whole damn thing over with so we can go back to not stressing out about it. TBH.

There are just a few things I’d like to bring up as a service to those players who are coming, and to all players who go to tournaments in general.

1. Join the event Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1452643218312628/ 

Join this page if you’re going to the tournament–it’s going to be where we give last-minute announcements and co-ordinate tourney events. If you’re confused about something, post your question there (or, hopefully, you’ll find some explanations on the page to help clear the air.

cheers2. We’re a big-small town: 

While you aren’t polo-ing there will be lots to see and do (we have a thriving downtown and lots of great bars/foodie places to hit up. That being said–we are also the kind of city where everyone knows everyone.

Basically, if you’re rude, it’s probably the case that you’re being rude to someone one of us knows and likes. Try to be on your good-time behavior. Lancaster is full of very nice, bicycle/bikepolo minded people, and we’d like to leave a good flavor in their mouths about the whole experience. PLEASE DO THIS FOR ME.

3. Lancastrians like to start promptly and as such we will be starting at exactly 9AM on both days. If you aren’t here, we’ll start the match with whoever from your team is. If none of your team is present, we’ll start the match without your team present. That’s just the way it goes. I’d suggest planning on being at the tournament field by 8:30 or so just to be sure.

4. NO DRINKING: no drinking no drinking no drinking no drinking no drinking. No drinking, no drinking. “No,” drinking.

If you can’t not drink on the tournament grounds, I suggest you call these folks here  and get yourself into treatment. After the first night of the tourney (and, chances are, after the second night, too) we’re going to have places for you to go and have a great time drinking to your heart’s content. However, we’d really appreciate if you–again–let us keep the great relationship we have with the city.

Park rangers will be patrolling the park and looking for those breaking the rules. They are rangers, so I mean…they probably have crossbows or something. Don’t force them to use them.

ref5. We will side with the refs 99.5% of the time so don’t try to find us if you don’t like a call some ref made. They are all certified through the NAH’s ref certification course, and their court is their castle.

If they really mess up, then yeah, we’ll address it–but generally speaking, their decision is their decision. If you go freaking out on our poor refs we’ll be happy to eject you from the game. It will make us feel powerful and mighty.

6. I will bother the hell out of you. Tourneys are pretty much article gold for me, so you just be on the lookout for some little fellow with a Pith helmet on. I’ll be snapping pictures and pushing my tape recorder in plenty of faces. Just accept fame. Just accept it.

I look forward to meeting you all (again). Best of luck!