At the beginning of the month, Fixcraft announced the third installment of their Groundwork series called Fixcamp. Since I was completely excited about Fixcamp (and the Fixcraft Groudwork series in general) I hit up Fixcraft’s Sean Ingram for a quick interview. Check it out!
321: Last year, Fixcraft held the first Professional Hardcourt Bike Polo championship, as they focused their attention on making a viable space for the sport’s top players. This year, your focus has been on a new series called Fixcraft Groundworks, which seems to focus on getting new blood to the sport. Can you tell us about this shift, as well as, tell us about the Fixcraft Groundworks series.
Sean: Well, the truth is that PHBP was designed to increase the exposure of our sport to new potential players, by showcasing the top talent that already exists to the mainstream. So getting new blood was always the concept for phbp outside of seeing what it would look like on film and if sports cable networks would be interested. For those not in the know, sports cable is interested, but we have to go back and create a league for it to be viable. Tournament leagues rule, and NAH has that on lock down, but there is also room for a more traditional league where there are game nights, and rankings can happen throughout the year in their cities and nearby cities, and not all played over one weekend.
But as far as the Groundwork program, it was conceived the same time as PHBP between me and Malakai Edison. We knew that if we were going to service the top end like this we needed to find a way to service the entry level, and any other innovative concept that could lead to growth. We knew we wanted to call it groundwork, but we didn’t know how to approach it. It wasn’t until after my bandwidth on tackling all of these problems in polo maxed out that I decided we had to incorporate good works that other forward thinkers were doing. And there is no shortage of rad ideas. So my 2 year plan for Groundwork is to see what works and what doesn’t this year, then focus on the things that work on year 2.
321: The third installment of the Fixcraft Groundworks series, the Fixcamp, is the one that hit closest to home for me. As a kid, every summer I would get excited to go to the local liberal arts college for their basketball camp. The leaving home, staying in dorm, and waking up for 3-4 start days of learning new skills and playing tons of basketball. It grew my love for the sport. While the Fixcamp isn’t necessarily youth focused, I imagine that this will bring the same sentiments to new and old players, looking to gain new skills. What motivated you to host a bike polo camp?
Sean: Fixcamp was an idea I had based on my frustrations of my own game, and my crippling insecurities of going to a tournament and fucking up. My experience in polo is one of always receiving contradictory advice on any number of topics on the court. I remember being in Austin years ago at Ladies Army, and standing next to Jason F*off. He was coaching Tina Medley I think at the time. The 15 minutes I stood behind him I learned more about how to joust, how to do it right, and what not to do, just listening to him. Jason has always struck me as a passionate person who only wants the game to come up, and as a bystander I totally got a lot from it. I always remembered that and thought if the Ego in polo was removed and refocused on bringing up players, it would only benefit us all. So when Chris Hamersly messaged me and said he wanted to do something to give back to polo after it sent him to New Zealand, I immediately pitched him the idea and said “will you do this with me?”. He did and we immediately got to work on dates, and picking the right team to make this a reality.
321: You have an all-star line up for this event. Can you give us a break down of each coach and why you chose them for each specific role?
Sean: Dude, this team is insane. I can’t believe the luck these folks are going to have, having people of this caliber sharing their secrets and putting together drills and best practices for them.
Chris Hamersly will be teaching bike control, Nick Vaughan will be teaching ball control, Bird Watts will be teaching court positioning, Chris Simpson will be on passing practices, and Nick Dellwo will be on best shooting practices. Chris Hamersly painstakingly thought out who would be best for what position, and honestly, which positions should be focused on. The team and all of that is 100% Chris Hamersly. Hamersly is the perfect partner for this project and he’s taking it and running with it.
321: Outside of the amazing court setup, is there a reason you decided to host the Fixcamp in Lexington? Do you plan to host Fixcamps in other regions of North America as well?
Sean: I knew I wanted to use the courts there because they are near perfect, and there are 3. But also because the talent pool of leaders are all there. After phbp and the advice we got from cable folks, and even Roller Derby folks, it’s helped me understand that our sport has to work with what we have, and make the best of it. We can’t approach every tournament like New Zealand because the money isn’t always there, and the spectators aren’t there ever. So it’s important to take baby steps and put in work where polo is alive. Lexington is a no brainer in that respect. My hope is that this camp really exceeds expectations. If we can do that, then we’ll improve on it and expand the concept to the pacific northwest and beyond.
321: Beyond skills, what are you hoping that participants take away from Fixcamp?
Sean: I really hope that this gives them some real confidence on the court, and feeds their fire for the game to take it in bigger directions in their home towns. This camp is all about the love of the game and being better at it.
If you’re interested in attending the first Fixcamp in Lexington, Kentucky, then head to the Fixcraft sight to reserve a spot. Act fast, this is filling up!