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Heckling Hardcourt – Vol. 4

April 15, 2014


Crowd-sourcing Your Competitive Vacation

One of the best aspects of the polo community is the generous nature of its members. In general folks don’t have a lot to give but are willing to give what they can, and that rules, but it’s beginning to feel like folks are taking advantage of our willingness to give.

Typically, when people are looking to raise money to travel or host an event, they do some type of fundraiser. The San Francisco Bike Messenger Association does a couple of bake sales in the panhandle each year to raise money for their annual alleycat weekend. Other people get some prizes donated and host a raffle to raise money. Hell, even selling some shirts to raise money to get to a tournament is rad because all of these way to raise money require effort. Raising money to travel to tournaments is hard, but our supportive community usually jumps at the effort to help out and, maybe, get some schaw in return for the hard efforts.

As internet crowd-sourcing becomes more and more popular for everyone’s bullshit company ideas (, more polo teams and individuals are asking for donations to fund their trip to a polo tournament. Something really rubs me the wrong way about folks just expecting people to give them money for nothing in return except their own good time at their competitive vacation. Although, admittedly, the one exception I have to this (sorry Aaron) is Crusher of Lancaster Polo. That dude provides us with great content and reports about bike polo, and shit I feel guilty for not donating yet!

The rest of you, get it together. Asking people to fund something and not at least giving them a patch, shirt, or anything is kinda like breaking rule number one of polo in the crowdfunding world; especially considering the helpful and willingness nature of the polo community. So all you rule number one breakers out there, I’m calling you out!

With that said, if anyone wants a Les Femmes Des Crem shirt to help us get to Ladies Army 666, holla! (soooo shameless)



Our Lancaster Polo Buyout

April 1, 2014
RIP Lancaster

RIP Lancaster

We couldn’t be happier to announce that as of next Monday, April 7th, Lancaster Polo will become a part of 3-2-1 Polo! After long negotiations with Lancaster Polo’s owner and Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Kabik, we will be buying out Lancaster Polo. Kabik will become a Staff Writer for 3-2-1 Polo reporting on East coast matters and beyond. To get Kabik to sign onto the deal, 3-2-1 Polo has agreed to send him to the 2015 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Champions in Montpelier, France to cover the event for our website. When asked for a word on the buyout for this post, Kabik said “Hey, at least I can afford to go to worlds now!”

Every week it seems that Lancaster Polo pushes out better and better content, so much so that we saw them surpassing 3-2-1 Polo as the leading site for hardcourt journalism. We felt that the best thing for our site, in the long run, was to have Matthew Kabik join our staff. After the move to Portland and bouncing between a couple jobs, it’s become increasingly harder to consistently put out fresh content. With the addition of Kabik to the staff, we will be able to publish original and compelling articles on a more regular basis. Not only that, but with a reporter on the East coast, we will be able to cover more tournaments this coming season. We’re very excited to have Kabik’s content writing skills in our arsenal.

As mentioned above, Lancaster will not officially become part of 3-2-1 Polo until next Monday. This will give us time to transfer over all the old content from Lancaster, before the blog will be directly linked to ours. We don’t want Matthew Kabik’s fantastic work to be lost, so you’ll be able to find all the articles on our website.

We are so excited for this and I hope you guys are too. Mark this day on your calendar, it’s going to be a monumental in the future of bike polo coverage! Welcome to the team Matthew Kabik, let’s kick some bike polo journalistic butt!


Heckling Hardcourt – Vol. 3

February 27, 2014


Heckle Fodder
Ironically, I couldn’t really appreciate the hilarious amount of shit talking potential between the Americans and the Canadians until I lived in Australia. The Aussies know their smack talking, and can out heckle the rest of us scumbags by FAAAAAR, and out chant us too (if you have yet to hear one of Jordie’s super catchy chants you are missing out).  What fuels the Australian heckles more than anything are their neighbors to the East, New Zealand. They poke fun at the Kiwi accent in a way that is ridiculous magical, which can only be summed up by this image:
cat-riding-a-fire-breathing-unicorn-16414-1280x800Photo from Krista Carlson’s Facebook (she knows how to internet)

It was here that I discovered that the Aussies are to the Kiwi’s as Mericans are to Canucks, and that I have been missing out on some quality heckling. Now it’s time to put in some serious homework, or heckle practice if you will, before I head to Toronto for Ladies Army. I know I’m behind the times when it comes to many movies, but in celebration of Beer Week one of my favorite local theatres played Strange Brew. Admittedly, I am ashamed to say I had never seen it.  My beard shrieked in horror, once he found out, insisting we go watch it.

Now I know what I have been missing my whole life, and probably need to watch a few more times to fully get my fake hoser accent down. Since I have a lot of love for my neighbors in the North, there is no better way to show it then working on my Canadian Call.

See you Jerks soon.

- Sam


There’s No Room for Cheaters

February 18, 2014

Means-Journeymen.Still002-590x331There is a reason they call him Dirty Dodi…

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.


In-CREASE-ing Polo’s Entertainment Value

February 11, 2014

DSC_0219If you look closely you can see the Wingman II’s use of a crease.

I know it’s a major goal of the NAH, Mr. Do, and several of us as individuals to help the sport develop into a mainstream sport. While hardcourt bike polo may never sit next to the Big Five (Basketball, Soccer, Football, Baseball, and Hockey), we would love for it to gain a following to the likes professional skateboarding or roller derby. Just today I saw an advertisement for an upcoming Roller Derby match here in Portland on the back of a bus. If hardcourt bike polo wants this recognition we obviously need to do more to develop rules, reffing, and tournament structure alike (which are all definitely taking place under the current NAH lineup, and it gives me great hope). And as our sport develops I must beg the question, is it appropriate to create rules for the simple fact of making our sport more interesting for spectators? When creating new rules, the NAH’s number one concern would/should be player safety, so I’m not saying that we should consider allowing fighting on the court to draw fans, like in the case of Ice Hockey, but what does comes to mind is the idea of a crease to prevent boring triple goalie strategy and what roll the NAH should play in making the sport more entertaining.

When the NAH conducted their 2014 Rule Modifications survey back in November, they asked the simple question “Should we define a crease?” For this question the most votes (186 in total) went to the answer “No crease should exist”, followed by “A larger crease should exist to prevent physical contact with the defender who is ‘goaltending’ AND eliminate ‘double goalies’ by requiring movement/prohibiting stationary players” with 152 votes. “A smaller crease should exist to prevent physical contact with the defender who is ‘goaltending’, until the point the ball enters the crease. This would not eliminate ‘double goalies’” and “A crease should exist that prohibits stationary players but does not prevent any type of physical play on the ‘goaltender’ or any other player” brought up the rear with 101 and 69 votes, respectively.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to understand that while “No Crease” had the most individual votes; more people thought it would be beneficial to include a crease in the 2014 ruleset than those who didn’t.  The NAH is ran by very competent people who understand basic deductive reasoning as well as basic addition, so it came as a surprise to many that no crease was introduced in the 2014 ruleset. In talking to NAH’s Head of Rules Committee, Nick Kruse, as well as NAH’s Head of Reffing, Joe Rstom, the overarching reason for leaving out a crease was the introduction of the interference rule.  As mentioned above, the NAH’s main concern is player safety, so they felt that the interference rule would protect the goalie enough that a crease would not be necessary. Rstom recently posted on League of Bike Polo that “We (NAH) had a crease rule written, and it was very long and complex. We (NAH) opted to leave it out this time around, in favor of a slightly less long and complex interference rule (as that would protect the goalie).”

While the NAH did develop rules to protect the goalie thusly allowing them to omit a potentially complicated crease, they neglected to address the other half the number one reason people wanted a crease: preventing the double goalie. The new interference rule not only protects the goalie, it also prevents a team’s enforcer from riding in, breaking up the extra coverage, and allowing their attacker to get in close for a shot. To put this in terms created by Christian Losciale in the amazing article for Lancaster Polo entitled What’s Your Polo Style? The Turtle a.k.a Triple Goalie style will be even more effective now that enforcers on teams who use the Three-Cog strategy are no longer allowed to clear the way for their goal scoring attacker. By allowing the Turtle strategy to become more effective on the court, we will undoubtedly see it used more this season, thusly making a step backwards in the spectator entertainment value of hardcourt bike polo.

The NAH rules survey was released shortly after I had arrived home from Worlds, and my mind was still clouded with the boring images of Turtle style of play so I voted for a large crease to protect the goalie and prevent double goalies.  Thinking about it now, this is the only proposed rule that limits a specific style of play purely for entertainment reasons, but if NAH wants the sport to gain spectators it’s important for them to implement it. In his article, Losciale argues that the Tic-Tac style of play is the most entertaining strategy because “the team functions as a unit to try to score. The whole court gets used, quite creatively when pro Tic-Tackers are on it. Also, it’s risky. One misplaced pass can cater itself to an opponent’s breakaway. For some reason, audiences — of movies, rodeos, WWE Pay-Per-Views, etc. — love the thrill of a risk.” and I couldn’t agree more with this idea. So if the NAH wants to promote a more entertaining sport for spectators, with the hopes of gaining a bigger public following, they need to encourage Tic-Tac style strategies and prevent Turtle style from becoming the prominent force on the court. I appreciate the interference rule and the way it protects the goalie (I think it was a much needed rule), but if we really want the entertainment value of the sport to flourish NAH must mandate a crease.