Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pet Peeve

I was finally perusing the (pretty great) photos over at and came across one that reminded me of one of my least favorite moves right now that hovers somewhere in the gray zone - in practice, if not the rules. Observe, the arm-check:

Photo ©Greg Van Barben, yanked from the above website.

Check out Mr. Stripes, shoulder-checking SeƱor Blackshirt. Ok, contact in general, whatever. Slam into my body, my shoulder, my mallet arm, my leg, what-the-ever. But stay the hell away from my steering arm, ESPECIALLY from the elbow down. This picture isn't really the best (aka worst) example of this, because it doesn't look like there's a whole lot of power here. But if you go full tilt into my steering arm, the outcomes just aren't much fun. Granted, I will try to hold course or possibly roll off to the opposite side, but IF I should buckle (and I don't exactly have mighty oaks for arms, fellas), your hit will cause me to turn my wheel INTO your bike, which ends up horribly for both of us.

So if we're just ambling along, no HUGE deal. I'm a little perturbed, maybe I dab, maybe you do too, but life and limb are more or less whole. But those hits, especially the hard ones, don't seem to happen too much at anything less than mach seven breakaways where the other player is desperate to stop a goal. This exact thing happened to me at the last big tournament I played in. Hard-fought game, probably the hardest one we played that tournament, against the eventual number one team. We were down, but definitely not getting destroyed. So I finally get a breakway and off course, intensity high, I'm putting my testes into it. Balls out. And yeah, I get checked from my left side on my steering arm and crash hard. Needless to say, no goal. And the other guy was more or less fine, so yeah, as far as he's concerned, great tactic, right?

Now, in all fairness, I'm sure the guy wasn't trying to crash me specifically, just push my off to the side or put me off enough not to score. But it still sucks, and seeing that photo made me remember it, so yeah, rant! Here's some blurry pictures of the play:

The hit...

...and the fall. Both images by Jeff Wagner.

I never did post a report from South in Your Mouth (our first tournament and the one that the pics are from) and yeah, it's been months now, but maybe I'll do that soon, ha.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

NAH Season Structure Proposal Quickish Thoughts

The NAH has announced a proposal for the 2013 season over on their site, and it basically breaks down to this:
  • Regional tournaments are closed to out of region teams - two thirds majority rule still in effect.
  • You can only play in one regional tournament.
  • Regional tournaments must be held mid-April to mid-June, NAs August/September, Worlds Sept/Oct.
  • Slots for NAs are to be weighted based on regional strength/performance in previous NAs.
All in all, a bit of a mixed bag for Memphis and the Southeast in general. Closing the tournaments to out-of-region teams ensures that the tournaments are truly regional championships, yes, but for Memphis, whose regional tournament has traditionally been one of the furthest to get to (12-16ish hours), it kind of takes away the option to play in a closer tournament. Yes, we could go to say, South Central instead of Southeast, but we'd have to find in-region teammates to do so, not to mention forfeit the chance to play in our own region.

Personally, I liked 2012's system, even if it was a bit more complicated. Give in-region players the chance to sign up first (a really nice, long chance) and possibly fill up the tournament before allowing other teams. Of course, this ends up having out-of-regioners qualify more than once, but you could just say that only in-regioners could qualify instead of closing the tournaments.

Still, think it's probably the RIGHT move, even if I don't like it as much. I really liked playing in South Central and Eastsides and just don't want to give it up. I know I can just travel to non-NAH tournaments in other regions, I just have way more of an incentive to do so when it's a qualifying tournament since vacation days are pretty precious, not to mention the expense of traveling in general.

On the other hand, the weighted slots is undeniably bad for the Southeast, even if it's good for North American polo in general. No matter how you slice it, we're at a bit of a disadvantage. Those regions rich with slots to start with have a greater chance of getting more/keeping the ones they have. Yes, I will admit the Southeast is not the strongest region out there, but it's a long climb to acquire any more spots. Last year, the Southeast only sent four players to the NA's. And it's not like we couldn't have had more - we could have fielded the allotted eight, but the will just wasn't there. Since I didn't have a chance to go myself, I can only speculate, but I suppose the SE qualifiers either didn't have the means to get there or simply thought they'd be beaten too badly and thus it wasn't worth it. Even if they were right, though, we didn't even give ourselves the chance to get beaten - perhaps more teams would have gone if they'd have known that future spots in the NA's were on the line.

All that said, I get it. This system definitely allows the NA's to fill with the most talented teams possible, it just doesn't do much for the Southeast. I see it kind of the same way I see Swiss Rounds. Yes, it accurately separates the top of the field from everyone else, it just does so by throwing the less experienced players under the bus. It's what we have right now, and it'll work, and it makes sense. Some day I dream of city league games leading to state, region, etc, or even some kind of point based system. Just kind of a bummer that my official polo "season" is pretty much limited to as little as four games.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Like a Brickhouse

Andrea has a great little Memphis rant over on her blog. Pretty much the same conclusions I've come to about Memphis - you have to really want it here. Gotta be Gritty, beyatch.

I've followed Andrea's blog off and on for a while simply because she's a badass from Memphis. Any day I manage to beat one of her times on Strava is a good (and rare) day. Of course, I've never really MET her per se, but we know a decent number of the same people (another Memphis thing) and she comes into Whole Foods a bit - always on the verge of saying whatup and stuff but yeah, trying to avoid the creeper vibe in that situation is hard.

Aaaaanyways, she'll probably see this post now if she follows her trackbacks. (I mean, she might not, I sure don't. But then I don't really have any anyways, soooo....)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Not Your Average Polo Article

Another piggybacked post! Check out this bike polo article on sports-hub The Classical, by Adam Doster. One of the better polo primers to grace the internet or print so far. Memphis' club just had an article written about it, and while I'm glad for any kind of exposure that could bring new players or just plain attention to the club, it lightly skims the scene whereas Doster's article really takes a chunk out of the entire sport.

Basically, it's just a really legit article that treats the subject semi-seriously, instead of the lighter side of the news, a la Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bikesploitation II

Ha, so this happened like a billion years ago now, but I just now saw this video linked on facebook.

A little tiny bit of Memphis Polo footage, one at :14 and another at :53. Plus, just lots of familiar faces. If I can be allowed to flatter myself, I really like the little clip of me taking the ball around and smoothly passing, instead of just spazzing around. Also, love the soundtrack. Booyeah.

Saturday, November 3, 2012



Told ya the alleycats were popping up all over. I'm excited! I haven't done a recap of it yet, but yeah, I did pretty well in the Spookycat, so I can't help but be amped about another one! It's crazy how many races have popped up in 2012. To my knowledge, there weren't any alleycats at all in 2011, and so far this year there's been Cort's mixed-terrain, Charles' puking blood, Rem's spookycat, and now Cranksgiving! And also the ghost of maybe one during the Christmas season? (Actually, someone just suggested there be one near Christmas because they'd be in town around then, but I don't think anyone has stepped up and said they'd wanna organize it.)

The ten mile route has been posted already, but yeah, I'll be gunning for that 30 miler. Word is it'll be hitting Harbortown and Shelby Farms, but I can't for the life of me remember where I heard, so ha, that could be wrong. Still haven't quite decided on the fixed gear or the road bike. Both are pretty janky right now and probably won't be changing any time soon. The fixed gear is definitely more fun, definitely for anything up to 20 miles. Thirty might be pushing it.

Aaaanyways, stoked!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Drag Race 2k12


Yo, Vinny Diesel. You think you know about drag racing? YOU KNOW SQUAT.

REAL drag racing. Photo by Victor Amandor.

So, mucho thanks to Melinda and Jimmy for getting together the first of hopefully many Drag Races. Lots and lots of fun. Pretty good crowd, different kind of scene than I usually see - maybe kinda art schooly/LBGT-ish than bike-ish. It's always fun when you see people riding bikes and you're like, hey...I don't know you!

Jimmy an' Melinda, organizers supreme. Photo shamefully cropped and stolen from Clint Kobeska. Of course, the odds that he'll see this are miniscule, right? I mean, we don't live in a microcosmic city where everyone ends up knowing everyone within a specific niche...say, bike-riders. But I digress...

When I first heard about this, Cort had suggested sprints instead of an alleycat and I was a little apprehensive, but it was actually pretty fun. Of course, I only got to do three actual races, but there were plenty of for-fun races too.

Linin' up, complete with pretty lady enthusiastic not-lady. Photo by Victor Amandor

I managed to win against Victor and Giles, but ultimately fell to Gill. No question about it, he was fast, and he got the jump on me every time. About halfway down the strip I could start to close the gap, but I just didn't have enough room to really have much chance, finishing a whole bike length behind him. I had the same problem with Cort in the warm-ups. Thinking I'll bring a wheel ready to flip-flop next time - maybe running 46x17 instead of 46x16 would have put me over the top, but then again, I might have maxed out too quickly anyway.

Giles, looking dainty as fuck, and myself. I was having the hardest time just letting Cort hold me up and kept struggling to trackstand against him. Also, Gill hungrily waiting his chance to eat me alive. Photo again nabbed from Clint.

I'm not sure what place that would have put me in, and looking over the brackets didn't really help me figure it out, since I don't see the race with me and Giles on it, but yeah, who cares, it was really fun. Kinda wanna do like a weekly sprint thing, or monthly or something. Or actually, more accurately, I'd want someone ELSE to set it up, like the Flat Track Attack that Cort did a few years ago but I missed out on because I didn't really know the crowd very well at that point.

Brackets, stolen from Cort's instagram.

I'll leave you with a few more photos, one of Charles being Charles and another of Jason being fabulous. You can check out Jeff's photos on my flickr, as well as the aforementioned Clint's set, and finally Victor's set as well.

Charles' legs look...weird. So did his dinner, when it came up later that night. Jeff Gardner's photo.

Don't you tell me to smile/ You stick around I'll make it worth your while/ Got numbers beyond what you can dial/ Maybe it's because I'm so versatile

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alleycat mating season

Alleycats are poppin' outta the sewers, spillin' out all over the Memphis streets! Check it, it's going down:

Like Charles', another lap-stylie. Do some laps around downtown, and hey, if you're fast, win some cash. BE THERRRRRRE. And wear a costume? Thanks to Rem for getting this together, should be fun.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to make polo decisions

If you're ever on the fence about whether or not to do something polo-related (say, drive eight hours to another dang tournament where you'll probably place in the bottom half, at best), all you have to do is watch Mr. Do's classic video, World Class Polo. Bam, you're in.

World Class Polo from Mr.Do on Vimeo.

Go ahead, watch it one more time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Insight Into Fixcraft

If you're into polo, you should be reading Lancaster Polo already, but just in case you AREN'T, check out their Interview with Fixcraft's Sean Ingram.

LOTS of insight into what goes on behind the scenes at Fixcraft. Don't like to piggyback posts if I can help it, but this is really a great interview. Check it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Puking Blood Cat!

BOOM. I think that pretty much explains it, right? BE THERRRRRRRE.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Get Buck

Just bleep out every time someone says music in this and it's still super true. This is pretty much how I often feel about Memphis.

Trailer: Meanwhile in Memphis: The Sound of a Revolution from Meanwhile in Memphis on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How did I never notice this.

This post on brickhouseracing is so so true.

Ninety percent of the time I get yelled at while riding, it's a white person. I can only recall being yelled at by a black person...twice? The last time was like three years ago while riding down Poplar, so maybe one could say that I was asking for it? I mean, I wouldn't say that, but if you wanted to, you could.

Last time I got yelled at by a white person four days ago. They were turning out of the Target/Superlow parking lot onto Southern and cut me off AND yelled at me to get out of the road. Classic!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Snails

So, this has been done before, but yeah, now I did it too. Garmin from one game of polo.


If you check out the stats, you'll see that out of a 25 minute game, I was stationary for about thirteen minutes of it and rode less than a mile. LET ME OUTTA GOAL, MAYNE.

You'll also note that I rode onto the roof at one point.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Watch out for squirrels

A couple weeks ago, I went into Outdoors to get a couple tires and found a small film crew hovering around Charles. I never really did find out exactly what that was all about, UNTIL NOW...

Haha, Charles and Joel rule.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fall Sounds

I LOVE the sound of bike tires crunching over acorns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Silly Strava

Haha, here's Strava's attempt to map my two laps of Stanky today:


Aaaaand, for comparison, here's the actual route:


Startin' to want a Garmin or sumpin'.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Brag Rhymes Have No Lag Times

Yeah, long time no blog. Lotsa stuff goin' on. First Memphis Bike Polo Tournament (!), Midnight Classic polo in a week, still pictures from tournies I never uploaded, tryin' to average 20 miles a day for a work competition/National Bike Challenge, but for now...some braggin'.

I started using Strava (and Endomondo) a while back, and after chipping away at it for about two months, I finally got my first KOM! Boom!

Granted, I'm tied for first, and yes, it's a really short segment, but I'm pretty close on a couple others too. WRT is like my jam, now. Too bad I can't say the same about Stanky...

Monday, June 25, 2012


So, the North Americans filled up today...

And there's only four Southeastern players in it! Yikes. How about a graph!


I mean, I know some people look at us like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel and all, but I woulda jumped at the chance to go to NAs this year. It can be hard to justify going to a tournament where you're gonna get your ass handed to ya, but man...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Playin' Catch Up - 2012 SEBPC, Fort Lauderdale


Another year, another freaking tortuously long trek to the Southeast Championship. This is such a pet peeve for me, but the way the regions for Bike Polo are set up right now, for the past two years, it's been closer for us to go to the South Central, Eastside, or Midwest regional tournaments than it is for us to get to our own. Unfortunately, polo in the South is mostly clustered inside Florida, so come tourny time, they're the ones with the facilities and resources to make it happen. SOME DAY, I think the region lines will work out for us, but it may be a couple of years. Until then, I suppose I can look forward to 12+ hour car drives to what, this year at least, was probably my worst tournament showing of 2012.

Come to think of it, that fact is probably why I've gotten so backed up on blog entries - I just haven't wanted to talk about it. But I think a month later, I've finally distanced myself enough from it to move on. Still makes me cringe that we didn't make it to day 2 - whereas last year, we tied for 9th in a tournament that was filled with outta-region badasses in the top 8.

So what happened? A combination of bad luck and an unfamiliar courts. And, y'know, we just got beat. Coming from a tiny court (115x45) to a ginormous one (200x85) didn't help - just a different play style completely. Of course, if we were good enough it wouldn't matter yada yada, but yeah, we definitely still scrape out wins more than we destroy people, so we need every edge we can get.

The bad luck came in our podium draws. First match: Funk Buddies, a team that 5-0'd us last year, and the eventual 3rd place team for this tournament. Well, we only got 3-0'd this year, so yeah, improvement? Just like last time, their goals were very tricky - no big shots, all breakaways to the goalie and a feint, or wheel shot, or just some crazy magic fakeouts.

So, that puts us solidly towards the bottom of the heap, giving us a REALLY easy game, which we 5-0'd no problem lickity-split, only bumping us to 1-1, but with a positive goal differential, which unfortunately put us against Get It God Damn, a Texas team filled out with players that habitually hammer us when we travel. I like those guys n' gals alot 'cus I feel like they're a step above us, but not so much that we get completely shut down. If possible, I'd just like to play pickup with them for like a month. Buuuuut yeah, they eventually went on to 4th place in the tourny, managing a 3-1 against us in a game where they were admittedly off just a little bit - I would have expected even worse, honestly.

So, with a record of 1-2 and a differential of a flat zero, we weren't doing all THAT bad, but we really needed a bump in our last game. Instead, we got the Solar Bears (eventual 9th placers), who had a 1-1-1 record to that point. I KNOW there were teams with a 1-2 that we could have beaten, but yeah, it just doesn't work out that way all the time. If we could have played one more game as originally planned, I just KNOW we could do well enough to bump us into the second day at least since we would play another 1-3 team (or maybe not, with our luck). Anyways, after the whistle we were behind four-zilch and I was the most pissed I've ever been at polo. I became a bike-thrower. SO SO disappointed and pissed at myself. It only made it worse that we were actually staying with the Solar Bears and Funk Buddies members, and they were really awesome guys.

So, the lesson? NO MORE EXPECTATIONS, FOOL. Another year to go and yeah, maybe the Funk Buddies will only beat us 1-0? Ha. We did win best name (Three Sticks Mafia - nice one, Adam!) and I got to play with the Texas folks for two games after the end of the tournament. AAAAAANYWAYS, took some pictures on the first day, but spent the second day trying in vain to get some pickup going so the trip wasn't a total waste.

Check out the set on the flickrrrrrr. Some faves:

There were little protected habitats full of these awesome little burrowing owls all over the court area, constantly casting disapproving glances as we crashed and burned.

Been trying to get an epic joust pic for a long time, finally got one! Check out that Jimmy Lean!

Andy's wheel-framed, tire-changin' goodness.

Eh, no pithy caption for this one, just like the shot. Lotsa motion. Ok, here's something funny, that girl got pretty sloshed by the end of the second day and was, uh, very amorous?

Chris (I think? Or is it Eric?) of ATL. I goalied for him while he was warming up for a game and, uh, it was scary. Super hard and accurate when he wants to be, super tricky, super freaking better than me.

AWESOME. Youngest polo player I've seen to date (at a tournament). They didn't do that bad either. Heck, they tied with us. (...and depression sets in yet again)

SUPER SHUFFLE PASS!!! Haha I just love the windup.

Not a technically awesome shot, bad composition and all, but LOOK AT THAT FACE. Haha, faces of polo rule.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Playin' Catch Up: First Encounters of the Jacksonian Kind

Dateline: Jackson, MS - New Years Eve, 2011. Somewhere in the city, a group of cyclists set out to make history. Little did they know, from their humble beginnings...

HC BP in JX from Peter Hammond on Vimeo.

...they would grow into full-fledged MONSTARS OF POLOOOOO.


Alright, enough hyperbole. To get to the ACTUAL facts, a while ago, I couldn't help but notice that Jackson, MS had joined the league of bike polo site. I also couldn't resist inviting them up to the southaven courts to meet some of the wider polo community for the first time.

Obviously, this post is months late, but yeah, had a blast with 'em. SOOOOOPER stoked to have people close to us playing. I've always felt like Memphis was a bit of a polo oasis. For the longest, we had Little Rock, but just about nothing else for about five or six hours in any direction. I took a few pictures, but I wasn't paying attention and overexposed a bunch of them - also, it was unseasonably hot so again, I neglected my documentarial duties. Anyways, a few highlights and the flickr set:

Is Kermit yawning in this?

Ok, yes, overexposed like the sun pissed on it, but I had to get a shot in of the big shuffle/throw.

Stretch Farmstrong.

I seem to get this shot of Liz every time...

Andy's secret? Shoes For Crews. For superior pedal grip and just lookin' stylish.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Playin' Catch-Up: Epic Bike Weekend

I've been neglecting the blog more than usual, and I actually have a ton of stuff goin' on. So yeah, first up: Friendlies polo at Epic Bike Weekend in Jackson, MS.

Jason, Adam, Kermit, Charles and myself all were able to make it down to Jackson for a day of pick-up with their crew as well as some Mobil-ians. Jackson's definitely picking up their game, could notice improvements all around - it's pretty crazy they just started playing in January. I feel like most polo clubs have a tipping point where things stop just being about screwing around and start ramping up. For us, it was the addition of a new player that had played all around Europe. Unfortunately, that didn't happen for us until after about a year of playing. Jackson's getting there in about four months.

Mobile, of course, is a well-established club, and were definitely pushing us. They may not have wiped the walls with us, but we were definitely scrambling to match 'em. Lots of speed, great shots, juked me outta my shorts a few times. Guess those are the times I tell myself I'm learning? Anyways, great to meet 'em, look forward to seeing them in October.

As usual when I get all hot and bothered, I didn't take as many photos as I should have, but here are some favorites. Also as usual, more can be found on the flickrrrrrrr.

This looks cool, until you realize all the boards on this court were like a foot tall. AIRBALL=SUX.

Gotta love the cross.

Turn and burn, bitches.

Kevin was officially Too Good™.

What can I say, love a photo where the ball is still flying through the air.

Kevin with some awesome form.

Yeah, I know, open goal, but HOVERBALL!

Preeeeetty sure Liz is doing the Xena battle cry here.

Kevin is an enigma. Nitin is veiny.

Two for flinching. Or, it would be if we could see Kermit's face right now.

Polo close-ups are invariably intense.

Next time we'll take a trip back in time to when Jackson came to Memphis!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This one's for Kermit

Since I'm usually the one constantly checking the LoBP boards, I'm also the one who has the prissy duty of telling people that what they just did on the polo court was illegal, and thus, their goal doesn't count. Well, tonight I found myself on the receiving end of this double-edged sword.

So, there's this one move I like to do that people (green people especially) think is illegal, and tell me so, yet I do it time and time again, insisting that it falls in a grey area: sweeping someone's planted mallet with my wheel.

Now, if you go by the old rules (like to like contact), then this is obviously illegal - bike to mallet is a no-no. BUT! Under the most current edition of the rules, this area is mysteriously absent...

Let's check out the relevant section:

After that it goes into checking, interfering with the goalie, intent to injure, and throwing mallets, before moving on to section eleven, Time Outs. I suppose that one could argue that since it's not covered in the Permitted Contact section, it's not allowed at all, but I would argue that mallet-to-body, mallet-to-bike, and body-to-bike (all illegal) are covered with their own section. Why wouldn't they add a section for bike to mallet if they wanted to ban it?

Still, it's kind of confusing that they didn't address it at all. Guess we'll just have to wait for Volume Two...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Crosstown Polo

Holy crap, a blog entry!

Memphis polo was invited to play at Bikesploitation film festival this year. A good time was had by all. Except Adam, but that goes without saying (just kidding). We've played exhibition games before, at the Midnight Classic, and I was expecting the same bemused indifference from the crowd, but it seemed like people were a little more interested this time. Got one complete newbie out there, although I think he may have been a friend of a player.

The spot itself was pretty epic, on top of the crumbling Sears Crosstown building's parking garage. The court was...interesting? Very very grippy, tore the crap out of mallet heads and really grabbed the ball, yet still managed to feel slippier than regular asphalt. That, combined with the extra short court, made for a kinda frantic session, but we did at least get to play on a regulation width (60 feet).

Took a few pictures with Cara's camera - sure she has some more and better ones to share, but for now here's a few. Whole set is on the flickr.

Does Andy just always look this serene, or is it the whole Jesus connection?

Andy's forearm makes him look like Popeye. Kermit looks like if Gilligan were a farmer.


Kermit's peekin' out the pit.

Something is very interesting slightly out of frame. Also, check out how Kermit is holding his mallet.