I felt that the World’s organizers did an amazing job setting up, running and maintaining the tournament. The shuttles to and from the court and airport were a perfect touch that amateur organizers would have just over looked. It made it easy and cost efficient for players stay with their friends and get to and from the court. But the one area where the organizers fell through was with food. For a tournament without food in biking distance (and no, a concession stand does not count), the organizers should have budgeted and arranged to feed the players. Donuts and coffee were a nice morning treat but it doesn’t sustain throughout the day. Just a note for next year’s major tournament organizers, make sure you feed the players!
One reason that I fell in love with hardcourt bike polo had to do with the fact that it seemed like the punk rock of sports. The sport seemed to push for punk rock ideals like unity and community, and it checked all jock-bro attitudes at the door. For this reason, it disappoints me to see this side of the players come out on the court. At Worlds I can recall three fights/near fights, and that is three too many for hardcourt bike polo. I understand that this is an intense sport and all of the players let their emotions run while fighting to win, but that’s not an excuse to punch someone, get off your bike and shove someone, or anything else of the alike. If you want to play a sport where being a jock is cool, take up adult softball or MMA.
Worst #1: Volunteers
I completely understand the lack of volunteers for the Wild Card. Most of the main tournament players were at the beach, on fan boat rides, doing bathsalts, or whatever else one typically does while in Florida. I understand not wanting to attend an extra day at the courts while you’re trying to enjoy your vacation. Where I start to get confused is with the morning bracket of the first day of the main tournament. Several of the afternoon bracket teams showed up early to watch their competition and several of the Wild Cards teams that didn’t make it were in attendance, yet that morning bracket went two hours + over time because no one would step up and help out. This is a sport for and by us, and without everyone taking 20 minutes of their time to goal judge, time keep, etc. for a couple games, then we will continue to have afternoon brackets games get cut off and restart the next day. STAND UP AND HELP OUT!
With all of our disappointment in the lack of volunteers, we are ever grateful and truly impressed with those that did help out. Jerod Walz, Chandel Bodner, Danny Wood, Britt Willey, Zach Blackburn, Bruce Wahl, Joe Rstom, Max Power, Charley Berry, Brandon Carter, Donnie Pepper, Jordan Bailey, Matt Kabik, Nic B, Meg Lee, Megan Mazzei, Robin Cunningham, and others that are escaping my brain right now. All of these people deserve emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, texts, etc. thanking them for being awesome and putting in a lot of their free time to help make the 2013 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship run smoothly. From 321Polo, Thank you all so much! You all made this the most amazing World’s yet!
If you’re allergic to bee stings, then you will probably disagree with me on this one, but Gator Bees is one of the most badass (yes, I still use badass as an adjective) I’ve ever heard of. I remember when Chandel made the announcment to stay away from the Gator Bees. I was on the court getting ready to play a game and she could barely get the sentence out of her mouth without cracking up. Walking around the tournament, I heard so many people talking about the Gator Bees. The imagery in my head for Gator Bees is never ending, and I hope to see several teams in the coming season to be named Gator Bees. It’s such a fun phrase to say in a hick accent, so announcers at any tournament will have fun with that one.
I feel in love with Ollie Wykeham after the 2012 Worlds in Geneva. And shortly afterwards, I feel in love with Ned and Scotty from the Australian championship team Not A Single Fuck Given. All of these guys know how to make polo fun. These are the guys you will see partying later than you, partying harder than you, and then get on the court and beat your team the next day. And after they beat you, they will give you a hug and be your best friends. These are the people that I was most looking forward to seeing again at this tournament and the ones that I most look forward to seeing again soon. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. I’ve seen several Facebook statuses and Instagram pictures where people express the impact that these three, and all of the other Australians, had on their trip. Thank you all for the Edison’s chant that is forever in our brains. Thank you all for being amazing people.
(Thank you to ILIKEMAX, ButtCrackJenny, MakeItADeal, TP6017, ddubddub, and tomlinhood for photos)