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