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!