Hey cheaters! Hey lazy polo players! Hey malicious revenge seekers! I’m sorry but it’s important for me to call you out since the progression of this sport rests on your shoulders. Now that the rules are in place and the ref’s test is nearly finished (assuming that Joe Rstom did an amazing job on it), you are the ones standing in the way of allowing refs to feel comfortable doing their jobs and it’s up to you to truly allow us to see the potential of the new rules.
I too often hear “I’m just going to keep playing the way I do and let them call me out on things if I’m doing them wrong.” That is the dangerous kind of rhetoric that is detrimental to the development of the hardcourt bike polo. It’s metaphorically the equivalent of walking up to Nick Kruse, flipping him off, and giving him the Stone Cold Stunner. Even if you’ve been playing for years and know what’s right and wrong in general, you need to learn the ruleset. It’s important for everyone that is looking to compete in a qualifier this year to sit down and read the rules. Not only read the rules, but truly study them. Memorize the rules so that you can apply them to situations at pick-up. Once you’ve done this, you should do it all over again.
Dustin Rigg’s of The Guardians fame said it best in a recent Facebook post regarding the Call Me Daddy v True Danger game posted by Mr. Do: “We can ask what the NAH can do to make this game better and more exciting all we want. Eventually though, players have to realize that it’s largely on us, right now, to move the game forward. There’s just no room for shit like this.” I know when we’re in the heat of the moment it can be easy to lose all inhibition, but there is no room in this sport for blatantly extending your arm to open-handedly push someone off of their bike, recklessly checking someone in their ribs, grabbing an opponent’s handlebars, etc., just to take advantage of an inexperienced ref or a well-trained ref that is looking the other direction. I’m sorry but your momentary advantage in one single game is not more important than the growth of this sport.
Ref’s are going to miss calls, it’s the natural state of any and all major sports; you see it happen in the NFL, MLB, FIFA, the Olympics, everywhere. What you don’t see in these major sports is players drop-kick each other when the refs head is turned. Taking advantage of ref’s will only lead to instances in bike polo that are equivalent to diving in soccer and flopping in basketball. I know that is the last thing that we want, but it’s where the lazy, cheating, revenge seekers are taking the sport. So I encourage you to truly read the rules, not because you want to take advantage of the grey areas, but to actually allow the refs to become more confident and allow us, as a whole, to see just how amazing this ruleset is.