We are lucky to have so many clever, funny, stand-up-comedian types in our sport. I mean that sincerely. We have some of the funniest folks around, and it makes going to a polo tourney just as fun as playing in one. This is particularly important for me, as I often spend my Sundays at a tourney playing two games and then settling into a nice slice of court side space to watch a series of games.
But there’s a problem with all of that cutthroat cleverness: a certain level of cynicism about people trying to do new things, or at the very least trying new things that you don’t agree with as an individual.
Now I’m all for making sure we don’t let folks go off and try to reinvent the sport, to a point. I like that we have a lot of tradition wrapped up in a sport that isn’t even old enough to really have traditions–but I also like the idea that someone can come up with a new way of playing (or a new style of play), and it has a shot at really making the sport better.
What I don’t like is just how willing we are, as a culture, to poo-poo anyone or anything that doesn’t fit into our worldview of the sport. I’m talking about people who just refuse to even humor an idea or experiment, not people who put new ideas through the wringer and decide, better or worse, that it’s a bad idea.
I’ll give you a few for examples: 1. The 5 man bench format for tourneys. 2. The “pro-polo” shindig that Fixcraft has put together 3. ANY new sort of equipment for the sport.
In all three of these, there is a certain amount of hesitancy by folks who have been in bike polo since forever. They’re frustrated that there is change, that people are trying to even put pro anywhere close to our sport, or that folks are coming up with weird and wacky designs to things that in the past were just re-appropriated from other sports/stolen from gas companies.
And I get that, I really do. I love homeostasis. It’s the reason I don’t take dishes to the sink at home because man, I’m just really used to that plate sitting there on the table. The color it’s turning compliments the walls, I think.
I’ve written about this resistance and this caustic cynicism before, but it bears repeating: if all we have to lose is nothing, why put up resistance when it’s not necessary? Why not explore the boundaries and figure out where the cliffs are? Instead of coming up with a clever (and often very funny) retort that disenfranchises players and innovators, why not try to lift up these folks. What is there to lose?