Tag Archive for WHBPC 2013

Reflections on Worlds, A Reporter’s Dairy

WHBPC2013 (116)

Editor’s Note: this post is going to be a bit different than what I normally do. Just bear with me and let me know if it was alright. Worlds is kinda huge, and I am going at talking about it a few ways. This is one of them.

Day 1:

The woman who drives the white van is named Joelle, and she is as full of laughs as she is spritey. She smiles whenever conversation comes up between the four of us (Machine, Lomax, herself, and me), which makes me feel like we aren’t inconveniencing her though I’m sure driving polo players back and forth across Weston isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.

This is the first time I’ve met Machine in person, and he’s exactly what I expect him to be: full of quick stories, turns of phrase and songs that are never without customization. Lomax, my room-mate and brother in second-breakfast arms, busts his chops the whole way to the court.

2013-10-17 14.48.00We get to the court sometime around 9am and the Sun (which deserves that capital S) is already making sure that we know just where we are. I can feel it digging past my clothing and taking root in my bones. I remember to put on sunscreen. I remember to take my heart pill. I remember how much I was looking forward to the colder weather of PA and how horribly far I am from that in Florida. My pith helmet, which was more or less a joke up to this point, begins to become a necessity. I am thankful it exists and that I have it.

The rounds begin in earnest a bit late, which is expected. Chandel seems stressed but who wouldn’t be? She has just enough time to shake my hand before bolting off to see about refs and judges, which will become a running theme throughout the first day of the tourney.

The games in the morning are about what one would expect to see, with all the little tells that each team gives: Call Me Daddy serving up smooth, clean passes and not so clean body on body contact; Nasty Boys tuning their game to match competitors, Wooly Bullies setting the pace of games as much as they can. It’s there if you can see it, if you’re actually looking for how teams are shaking off the dust of travel and remembering the muscles of their hands. It’s entertaining to watch the competitiveness spring back inside of them after the initial loss or win.

By noon I am completely shot, having not played a single game. The sun has drained out any sort of energy I had and instead fills me with the want of water and food, which I under satisfy with the watering stations the organizers have established and an occasionally offered cookie. I have not planned for eating while at the courts, and the forgetfulness makes me feel lonely and foolish.

I make it a point to interview players–I tuck myself away to begin writing the article for Urban Velo that I’ve been sent down here to complete. I try to get away from the heat and the tiredness it grows, but in the end I shamble back to Fixcraft’s tent to grab my camera, thanking Sean once again for the use of his under-table space.

I find that people here know me. They recognize the name and the dumb headware. They give me their hand and perhaps enough time to interview before they excuse themselves away. I don’t put up much of a fight, as I don’t know how it feels to play at Worlds, and I’m hesitant to have them believe I am so egotistical to take them away from meeting with team-mates.

Still, I do pull a few aside and get some words from them. Occasionally they come up to me with an idea or suggestion for an article, so I listen, because I’m not sure if the Florida sun is planning to bake away my intelligence or not. I smile and take notes and appreciate how excited they are to tell me what they’d like to write about. Truly I am. It’s less work for me, after all.

WHBPC2013 (164)The games over all feel like any other tournament I’ve been too, which is remarkably disappointing. Sure, there are more languages being spoken than English and Bad English, but overall there is the same lethargic camaraderie, the same we’ve-been-here-before-edness. Maybe that’s just how polo feels in general: some sort of class reunion where everyone is happy to see each other, but doesn’t want to admit to being too excited by it.

I meet Sweet Jenn (Mr. Do is a bit busy with figuring out set-up), and she hugs me like a longtime friend. She has a smile that makes me feel like there is nothing else in the world but what we are talking about, and I kind-of forget to be clever. Instead I just say “thanks” a bunch of times and then excuse myself to find a way back to the hotel.

Eventually I meet up with Evan, Neil and Brett, who not only make it a point to share everything they have with me, but also to act as old friends though I’ve only met them at Masters earlier in the year. Still, the kindness does a lot to quell the lingering feeling that I’m out of place, and the beer and tacos we share after we leave the courts (point in fact, after they take me back to the hotel in their truck) sets me on a good path to sleeping. When I get back to the room, it is still empty, and I do some more writing before Megan and Lomax arrive and we talk a bit before falling asleep fitfully.

Day 2:
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For Those Traveling To Florida: 10 Travel Tips

travel

Bike polo travel is a tricky business, wrought with the possibility of paying for your bike to travel with you, people not understanding the smell that your skin giving off, or thinking that you’re a cast member of a new, hipster version of Mad Max.

But take heart, I’m here to help. With these tips, you’re sure to make it to Florida safe and sound:

1. Do not practice your mallet swing while in the airport

2. If someone asks you what’s in your over sized checked bag, don’t say “sports equipment” and then start giggling.

3. Always keep one extra pair of clothing in your carry-on, just in case your “sports equipment” bag gets lost.

4. Try not to drink until after you arrive at your destination (okay, maybe a few quick ones in  the airport).

5. If you’re travelling with a life partner, stop talking about bike polo. Just stop it right now and talk about anything else.

6. Charge all of your electronic devices. Make sure to get all of the cords tangled up so you have a reason to swear under your breath repeatedly during the flight.

7. Enjoy the cavity search.

8. If you find yourself running late for a flight, resist the urge to ride your bike to the gate. You will be tased, bro.

9. Act like you’re a famous sportstar. See if anyone asks for your autograph. You’ve already got the swagger, don’t you?

10. Practice your impression of Machine.

The 6 People I Plan to See at Worlds

We are now a mere day away from October, or as I like to call it, Worldstober. With the heralding of the greatest month put together by Augustus Caesar comes, likewise, the greatest bike polo tournament put together by the people who put together bike polo tournaments.

This will be my first time ever traveling to the championship, and I’m more than a smidge excited by the idea. Point in fact, I’ve been daydreaming about the sorts of people I may or may not meet while attending and reporting on the scene. Here are a few of my more favorite potential attendees/players:

Paul GiamattiThat Guy I Only Know From The LoBP Boards

I’ve conversed with him, challenged him, made jokes with him and ultimately feel as though I have a pretty good understanding of the kind of person this internet buddy is.

And then I’ll meet him, and I won’t believe he’s the same person at all. You’re that short?! YOU ARE MISSING AN EAR?! (note: I’m probably going to be this guy for a lot of you. Just accept my hobbit-ness.)

The Super-Pro who is really approachable/The Super-Pro who is really just as scary as I imagined:

beavsI’ve never met the beaver boys. Any of them, I don’t believe. But I’m horrified to talk to any of them. Chances are they are either going to live up to my nightmares of them ( “Lancaster Polo? What’s that? ::pushes me away while someone pulls down my pants::) or they are going to be alright guys who are willing to chat me up a little bit ( “Lancaster polo? I heard of you!” ::pushes me away with a smile while someone pulls down my pants while laughing::).  Either way, I think it’ll be interesting to see what players from the top teams in the US make of me running around and asking for a few moments of time.

I’m not worried about it. No, really. I’m sure it’ll be juuuuust fine. Read more

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: WHBPC Halftime Show REVEALED

bike polo champ

After a few weeks of tough investigative reporting, I’m finally able to release that there will indeed be a halftime show for this year’s World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship, and it will be amazing. 

Here, with exclusive footage of the halftime performers practicing, lancaster polo is proud to finally reveal this secret.

Click here to view the video, and be prepared!