Tag Archive for Lancaster United Bike Polo

Pictures from Lancaster United Happy Funtime Tourney

Lancaster United Pick-up tourney (51)

This past weekend Lancaster United hosted a fun-time tourney: a regular three man/woman/horse tourney followed by a bench format, then followed by some more pickup. We had a great turnout and lots of fun to be had.

As is often the case, I brought along my little camera and snapped away some pictures. Notably this one of the WINNERS OF THE 3 man/woman/horse tourney:

Lancaster United Pick-up tourney (81)Rodney, Liz, and Brian who are:

  • The best polo players in
  • The best polo team
  • In the universe (is that close to what you told me to write, Liz?)

The winners of the Bench format game are altogether not important, as neither Liz nor I were on that team. Who says winner write histories?

Anyway, here are handfuls of pictures (after the jump) from the day. Enjoy!

Read more

What I learned at pickup on Sunday

thinking

Yesterday was a scraped together sort of pickup for Lancaster United. Our “A” players (or at least the people who call for “A” games and then just throw themselves) were all away at tourneys or field trips, leaving the rest of the club to fend for itself. This presented a sorta-rarified thing for me, wherein the people I was playing with were still learning the trade or weren’t nearly as competitive as other Lancaster players we’ve got.

1. Still just as competitive: in the absence of our A players, our other alphabet players stepped up their games. Maybe that’s not true: they were able to expand enough without the interference of more powerful players, let’s say.

It’s something I didn’t realize until after we stopped playing, but the skill level you’ve got is something that can be affected by not only your own abilities, but by the abilities of those around you. With all of us B players kicking around yesterday, we had the opportunity to be more daring and try more plays. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong pass game, nor did I ever see some of the people playing be as strong of players.

Now – I can hear the voice of an A player ringing in my ears right now: Crusher, you dummy, of course everyone was better – nobody puts any pressure on themmmmm!!!!!!!111!!!

Yeah, I hear you. But with days like we had yesterday, other-alphabet-players are able to spread their wings, as it were, and build the confidence needed to become stronger players (without some quicksilver player coming in and ruining their chance to learn what it feels like to complete the play).

2. Time to think: Much in the same way as above, I wasn’t just thinking about how can I keep up as much as I was thinking how can I make a stronger play. I was, by no means, the strongest player out there yesterday, but I found myself having more time to allow plays to set themselves up, and I feel like I’ll be able to use that in future games.

3. Someone cut my tire: I will find you, and I will do absolutely nothing because that’s just part of the game. But damn, that’s cold.

4. Don’t ignore a new guy’s mistakes. Embrace them: This wasn’t so much something I learned as much as it is something I forget to mention all of the time: When you have a new guy playing, don’t coddle him or ignore him when he falls (any more than you would ask someone else if they are alright). It not only makes them feel like a child, but it can make the fall seem like a much bigger thing. 

Essentially, if the newbie is equally OK with what’s going on, go ahead and give a little poke-of-fun at them when they crash. It helps show that you’re not very serious about the play they may or may not have fumbled, and removes the added pressure of silent judgement that they might think is present.

 

50 pictures from Hot and Heavy polo

July 6th Polo (24)

This Saturday was very cool for many reasons, none of them being the blistering heat coming from mother nature’s sweaty pits.

We had guests Rob, Peter and Greg B., it was my first polo day since my heart wussed out on me, and it also counted as my birthday polo adventure.

Overall, I felt pretty alright playing. I tried to take it easy via consistent time in goal and sitting out every other game. My ol’ ticker seemed to appreciate that. Outside of that, it was hot as all get-out and I think most of us were thoroughly exhausted by the end of play.

Here are some pictures to enjoy of the festivities, courtesy of our resident much-better-than-I-will-ever-be photographer, Gretchen. I hope your long-weekend polo happy fun times were just as…uh…happy funnish.

I continue my exile…

castaway533

The ol’ ticker keeps on ticking, which is good. I can’t express to you how inconsequential my absence from bike polo is, in every way, as I am not dead and my club really doesn’t depend on me to bring the baked goods nor the power plays to the pickup games. However, all things being relative, it is pretty weak-tastic for me.

Yesterday Lancaster United had it’s regular Sunday pickup day in the sweltering almost-but-not-quite July heat. I stopped over to stretch my legs and I got all sweaty just standing there. Fortunately it started raining a bit, so I used that as an excuse to get away from the body odors. On the drive back to the fortress of solitude  house, I realized that I was being a remarkable doofus.

Wilson the Volleyball from the back with ChuckJust because I can’t play the sport doesn’t mean I can’t practice parts of the sport. I am pretty miserable at scoop passes: why am I not practicing that? I can work on my balancing or my off-side ball handling. Hell, I could just post my self in my basement and work on passing the ball to myself from under the BB. I don’t need to just mope around, holding my mallet and swinging it into the vast expanse of horror and boredom. I could be getting my skills up!

So here’s to the Crusher clinical I’ll be setting up in and around my home. When I come back you bastards better watch’choselves.

 

Watching pickup sucks

heart

I went to polo on Sunday expecting to at least get a post out of it. Maybe something to do with the value of watching your club play and learning a little about the observation of the game.

Instead, I got all sorts of sweaty, my heart started getting tired, and I realized watching pickup is just about as boring as polo can get. It’s like watching people eat food. You can appreciate the act, but not taking part is kinda boring and borders on disgusting.

So I left early (after building a mallet up for Magpie, which was kinda nice to do, really), and I wandered back to the polo war room to enjoy the much-to-small-for-the-space air conditioning.

Eventually I zonked out for a half hour or so. That was fun, I guess.  I woke up and watched a few minutes of the South Central Regional Qualifiers until I realized it made my heart race, and then I felt compelled to turn it off.

Anyway – I figure my posts will become more strategic or philosophical until they work out what the hell is going on with my ticker. But for right now I’m just coming to terms with watching my polo bike pick up my mallet and run to the door.

…no, girl. No we aren’t going out to crush today.

I can tell you that it was humid as hell today at pickup, and that nobody was terribly pleased by that. We had a light drizzle which felt amazing, and…uh…some pistachios to eat…?

I’m going to go play with my Tagamagrams. Good day.

ISAIDGOODDAY

 

 

Father’s Day Polo Pictures and Special Guest

Fathers Day Bike Polo (61) (Copy)

Father’s Day (a day when I normally cuddle into all the pillows I can find and scream “I have no fatherrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!”) turned out better than expected when Lancaster United decided to break out the wieners and have a good ol’ polo BBQ. Add to that the enjoyment of finally meeting the notorious Nick Kruse (up from Missouri and relocating to Philadelphia) and playing a few games with him, and you’ve got a pretty spectacular day of polo.

Troy’s wife, Gretchen, brought along her camera and took some much-better-than-what-I-can-possibly-take pictures. Here, look:

Lancaster United, Lego Edition

The whole gang!

One of our player’s little polokins were playing around and dreaming of bike polo (as all good polokins do), and the following pictures were the result. A big thanks to both E- and A- for making these come to life and for remembering to make me a head shorter than every other lego figure out there, haahaa! Likewise, thanks to Erin for bringing these to my attention and for sending them my way.

 

 

Everything You Never Wanted to Know: Interview with Crusher.

DSC_0512

“When there’s nothing left to burn, you must set yourself on fire.”

Or, alternately, when you haven’t anyone to interview, you should just do a little one on yourself. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Crusher is the editor and workhorse of Lancasterpolo.com and a club member of Lancaster United Bike Polo. He sat down as me to conduct this interview. We discussed playing versus understanding the sport, his rise to interweb fame, and the dangers of split personality disorders.

Tell me about your set up (bike, equipment, etc):

DSC_0543Wellsir, I currently roll around on a prototype V1 Fixcraft frame and fork, with Ryno Lite 26″ rims and RiBMo tires. Oury grips, Profile chainring, White Freewheel.

As far as my mallets go, I currently have a fixcraft Unibody Head attached to one of those new LT shafts (via a cleat, which I’m excited about seeing out on the market), an ARC mallet head attached to an old Fixcraft XT, A MILK head attached to an Arena Creamy shaft, and an Arena head attached to an Arena Creamy Shaft.

Everything outside of that is pretty boring. Oh, platform pedals. That’s exciting, right?

When did you start playing bike polo, and where.

LUBPI started playing bike polo in October of 2011, and I’ve always played for Lancaster United (of course, back then we didn’t have many York players and we were called Lancaster City Bike Polo). As I’ve said before on this blog, it was Horse that got me started in this whole mess, but it was the club that kept me coming back for more. It’s a good thing.

What has changed from the first time you started playing to now?

Do you mean for myself, my club, or the sport in general?

All of them,  I guess.

That was kinda a shitty interview question, don’t you think?

I guess…

Not very specific, I mean.

Yeah.

Well, anyway: asking how a player has changed from the first time they played to where they are now is kinda silly. Hopefully the answer is “quite a lot.” For one thing, I’m not rolling around on a bike from the sixties. Before playing bike polo, I hadn’t been on a bike at all since I was fifteen or so. As you can expect, my bike handling is steadily improving with time. I’m not nearly so violent on the bike now, either, as I think can be said about the majority of Lancaster United and the sport in general.

Lancaster United Bike Polo 25My club has changed dramatically: we have a pretty even mix of Lancastrians and Yorkers playing, with about 12-14 people coming out on the biggest days. We’ve secured two tennis courts to play on in the city (though we never do), and have a pretty good relationship with the hockey players of an outdoor rink between York and Lancaster, which we used for the Keystone Classic and for most every pickup day. We as a club are trying to be more active in the sport at large, and as such are hosting the 2014 Eastside regional qualifiers. So there.

The sport, looking at it as a whole, has changed to be a bit more regulated and a bit more intense, I think. Not more brutal – but intense. Skill is winning out against power and there are more “big name” players in the sport. Companies are springing up everywhere to make equipment, and more people who don’t play are at least mildly aware of the sport. That’s kinda fun.

So tell me about the blog: how did it get started, and how did it get to where it is now?

The blog started out of a meeting Lancaster polo players had at a local watering hole. We were talking about how to move or club forward, and people were making really great suggestions on outreach, securing areas to play, etc.

crusherI really didn’t have anything to contribute, as I was a general miscreant and not very useful. So, semi-drunkenly, I blurted out “I’ll start a blog and stuffffffffffffff” and I kept making that “f” noise until someone slapped me.

On the walk back to my house, fighting against the small blizzard that hit Lancaster that night, I realized what a horrible mistake I made.

So I avoided it until the other Lancaster guys got angry at me, then I went ahead and just started posting stuff: jokes at other players, tips about playing, and whatever else popped into my head.

After about a year, I noticed that we were getting more visitors from out of Lancaster than from within it. After two years I noticed we were getting worldwide attention on the blog. Thus ended my hope of operating it for just long enough that I could slink away from it and nobody would be the wiser.

Sounds like you really don’t like it.

That’s an outright lie, and you’re trying to turn the people against me. I do love the blog and how much people seem to like it. It takes a lot of time, sure, but how better to spend time than talking about the sport.

I think the part I like the most is simply that I have been able to be really opinionated without people losing their minds. I think the readership understands that the majority of articles are based around opinion (not hard facts), and that works well for both of us.

You receive a fair amount of products to review for free – doesn’t that kinda make you careful about how you review them. Read more

5 things I learned at bike polo, sprummer day edition

five

Yesterday was some good polo in the Amish heartland. The park we play in was full of folks playing lesser sports, the overcast sky decided kindly not to rain, and there were plenty of lessons for me to reflect on during my daily reminiscence:

1. Sabrina is getting pretty damned solid at passing: Sabrina is one of our newer players and has been slowly learning the ropes of the game. Last night she made some ah-may-zing passes which lead to scoring opportunities, and it made me understand this little lesson: don’t think of your new players as always being this way. Sabrina will, at some point, break out of her newb shell and become a solid polo player – yesterday she proved it with her ability to read positions and plays, and complete passes to fit opportunities.

2.  Patience, Patience, Patience, Shoot: When you’re in your own defensive zone and have control of the ball, take a few seconds to figure out what you want to do. There were two instances where I slowed the ball down and navigated around the other team to create scoring opportunities (both times, actually, they had all of their guys up and nobody in goal, so I shot from my defensive zone for a goal). The lesson here is two fold, really: Think of barriers before goals - that is, don’t think of how to shoot on the goal until you’ve addressed how to get past the barriers (the other team’s players).

When I thought of this, I saw that once I got through their line of defense I was clear to shoot cleanly. The second part: Take your shot, not the shot the defense is presenting you. A good defensive player can dictate how and when you shoot–oftentimes in a way that is less than favorable for a goal. Don’t let them manage that. You decide when to shoot if at all possible, and you should give yourself the time to come to that position.

3. Gene takes off his helmet when angry: And you won’t like him when he’s angry. Read more

St. Patrick’s Day Pickup

St Patricks Day Pickup (5)

Irish Coffee, drinks in flasks, and a not-at-all jig by Gene & Ted. All in all, a fun day!

First, the Dancing:

Now, the Pictures: Read more