Tag Archive for NAHBPC

NAHBPC 2014: A Reporter’s Journal

2014-07-15 23.30.36

Thursday: First Contact

It only takes a few minutes for the layers of clothes make me sweat. It’s Thursday morning and I’m trying to decide of choosing to opt out of paying for a checked bag is the greatest or worst decision I’ve ever made. One of the difficulties of flying Spirit Airlines is that the only free bag I have must be the size of a Pomeranian, and that doesn’t leave much room after packing up my reporting equipment and chargers.

The two shirts are an apparent necessity, but for the rest of my panicked packing the hairs on my chest know the delight of open air.

I bring only enough clothing for today (Thursday) and tomorrow, staying true to my plan to live off the land of Minneapolis/Roseville like the settlers may have (who, as I understand it, traded machined goods and trinkets to local thrift shops for second-hand clothes).

At about a half-hour into my morning I decide I can’t wear two pairs of shorts at once–the bands are acting as tourniquets and my legs are going numb. I don’t possibly see how being even more ill prepared could go poorly. I take off the 2nd pair of shorts and cram them into my Pom Pom sized bag. I wonder how the carry on is already wet, but soon recognize that it’s crying.

At around 1o:05 AM my wife drops Horse and I off at BWI. We’re early, which is something she tells me without saying anything at all (this is what I refer to as the “waking-the-dragon” face). The TSA doesn’t seem to care about all the two ounce tins of wax in my carry on, which is a pleasant surprise. I’m already sweating through my two shirts. I’m already smelling a little. This is going to be an amazing flight.

2014-07-10 09.58.25Horse and I make the intelligent call to get Chipotle for breakfast, because there is nobody around to tell us not to. After that we wait by our gate and Horse explains what his concerns and hopes are. Naturally, as a first time North Americans competitor, he’s just hoping to not make a fool of himself. Good life advice, really, and I decide to do much the same. I think it’ll be harder for me than it will be for him.

On the plane (which has an unnerving paint job that make the fuselage appear like so many cars: pieced together from parts of similar makes and models, but with different paint jobs), I am seated next to Horse and an affable gentleman who is more than willing to talk–which is nice, considering that all of our shoulders invade each other’s seats by at least four inches. I have the window, so I try to push myself against it without applying so much force as to push out that part of the plane (I check to make sure the duct tape and double sided velcro is still holding the wing on, and it appears to be so). Read more

The Lesser of Two Evils: Why You Should Ref at the NAHBPC

scale

North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship is running into the same problem as every other NAH event since forever: finding dedicated (or even semi-dedicated) refs to officiate the tournament. While this isn’t particularly surprising, it is disheartening. If there should ever be a time when finding refs isn’t impossible, it should be the damned tournament of tournaments in the land.

refBut I get it…I really do. Being a ref is stressful, generally not fun, and altogether demanding. You need to think on your feet–you need to ignore the amazing amount of name calling and under-the-breath insults from players and fans alike. You must shore yourself up to making that bad call and sticking by your guns (because there is nothing worse than a ref who waffles between calls). When I reffed I found that I was more concerned about making the wrong call than making any call at all, so I froze up. It was unfair to the players and very stressful for me (my heart raced more when reffing than when playing, if that’s an indicator for you).

And you have to do all of this when you could just be heckling with your friends or taking a nap, or whatever else.

The scale is heavily in favor of not being a ref. It’s true.

But just because something is easy to do doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

Between the “evil” of inconveniencing yourself, and the “evil” of doing nothing, someone who cares about the enjoyment of the sport for all should choose inconvenience. Furthermore, I suggest (and God, this will be hard for some of us) that players and spectators alike recognize that being a ref is damned hard work, and try not to back-talk the ref or scream out what the call should be. They’re dealing with enough as it is, and they don’t need someone else–someone who isn’t willing to be a ref–telling them how to ref.

I’m pleading with you–you who have taken the ref test and indeed are certified now–to consider reffing this weekend. If enough certified refs sign up, the tourney could have a pretty healthy rotation of refs coming in and out, meaning that any one ref won’t have to do more than a few games at a time.

MeatloafAt the Eastside Regional Qualifier we had to stop running games on one court for a few minutes because nobody would step up (myself included–though I was manning the control tent so whatever, whatever). I know that it’s not the greatest job in the world, but it’s a necessary one and I’m really confused as to how we have this growing body of players who want to do everything they can for each other, but who are unwilling to do this. It’s like a damn Meatloaf song.

Sign up: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1zKgrBhxP8X4P2jqc2ZGSc0I9JkdoKQaosAC4p-8tP6I/viewform 

 

A Change of Plans

change

So I realize going to Worlds is a bit of a stretch for a polo-journalist who isn’t playing and isn’t necessarily making any money at the whole journalism thing.

While I was travelling down to D.C. for their “Earth Day/Jess B-day/Alex Go Away” pickup day, I brought this up with my travelling band of merry friends, Jason and Emily.

During the conversation I explained how great it was to have people who believed in my enough to send me their money (and really, it is remarkably humbling), but that I didn’t think anyone in bike polo had enough to give to some fool who just wanted to take pictures and write flowerly remembrances of the event. Just looking at the rate I’ve been collecting and the logistics of taking that time away from work/trying to survive whilst away from home, I don’t think I can make it within a reasonable time frame of planning.

Somehow (and I don’t remember if it was me or it was Emily or Yeager), the phrase was uttered “well, why don’t you go to North Americans instead?”

And it clicked. It clicked so hard.

The thing is, I’m much more of a North American focused reporter as it is, and the flights to the middle of America are significantly less than those across the pond. I’ll be able to cover North Americans which I have yet to do, not be stymied nearly so much by being so poor, and probably not lose my job/my wife’s love for going to France without her.

That being said, I can still use any money you, dear polo world, are willing to give me. While the amount I have collected thus far $400 freaking dollars! is enough for getting most of a plane trip to the heartlands, it’s not quite enough for lodging or eating or any other expenses.

I cannot stress enough that this is not me trying to get out of footing any money myself. This is me being poor as hell. If I could travel to tournaments and do reporting on my own dime, I certainly would. But I don’t have a dime. Hell, I don’t even have a drawing of a dime.

So that’s my update. If anyone who has donated thus far is very upset with me, feel free to email me and let that be known. I realize I’m changing the scope of my goals, but really it just makes it more likely that I’ll be able to use the money for the purpose of covering bike polo, and I hope that satisfies you all!

Thank you again, and may you always find the back of the net.