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Heckling Hardcourt – Vol. 1

November 20, 2013

EDITORS NOTE: Sam Bell has been nothing but amazing since joining the 321Polo team. When she came to me with the idea of starting a series where she heckles different aspects of bike polo, I couldn’t wait to read the first segment! I’m sure everyone will enjoy her heckling as much as I do!


If I’m going to be a sub-par polo player, I might as well be a top notch heckler. As I really only like participating in sports that involve heckling, I feel like I have a decent amount of experience to a my own heckling segment here on 321 Polo. Even despite what Dillman may have said on the first Mornings With Machine, which ironically happened at night.

For my first installment of Heckling Hardcourt I’m going to heckle the voters of the NAH survey.

Seriously, I have a bone to pick with whomever is voting for keeping the format ten minutes or first to five. Lets totally keep a tournament format that is impossible to organize properly because games on finishing on an inconsistent basis. Seems like a good idea right? Obviously people who are voting have never run a tournament, but I am sure they will be the first to complain and say how poorly a tournament is run. Bravo voters!

Shall we move on? Ball jointing is like amateur hour, you don’t really see much of it in tournament play and it’s even pretty rare in pick up as well. However during the worlds, I saw a bunch of calls for ball jointing in the offensive half when a player was going to scoop the ball. Lamesville. Maybe our definition of ball jointing is just a crappy as ball jointing itself, but if that’s how we are going to call ball jointing, then why the heck are we only allowing it on the defensive side?

Finally, I think we should discuss the crease. Dear voter, how often do we struggle with spectators and trying to get more people interested in watching our sport? The answer is heaps (or a lot if you’re Merican). Double goalie is the most boring tactic EVER! It may kinda work for some of the top teams, but it is a snoozer when it comes to watching. Implementing a crease totally gets rid of that for us! I mean COME ON VOTERS!!!

Editorial, Hot Tip

Stepping Up: Getting Ladies Tournament Ready

November 14, 2013


It’s no real mystery that us ladies need to step up our game.  Of the 48 teams in the double elimination tournament at Worlds, there were only two teams with women on them (badass women at that), but I think we can do way better.  Here are some things that ladies and dudes need to do to help more women get tournament ready.

Stop Treating Us Like Girls

One of the the things I noticed is that dudes don’t tend to do very much checking to the ladies.  I’m not saying to be a total dickbag and start checking the shit out of all the ladies in your Club, but you need to start treating the tournament bound ladies like you would male players.  This includes being rough, because a lot of us need to harden the fuck up.  One of my favorite compliments (that could go as either a compliment or an insult really), was being told by one of our super bangin’ SF players that he doesn’t take it easy on me and checks me as hard as he checks the dudes.  As much as it makes me want to roll my eyes into the back of my head, I took the compliment as being a player who can take some shit.

But I’m a Girl

The one thing that rubs me worse than any other, is when female players expect to be treated different. NO YOU SHOULDN’T.  Plain and simple, if you want to be a competitive player in a co-ed sport, there should be no false expectation that you should be treated differently because of your gender.  The NAH rules have been created and revised a thousand times in order to ensure that players remain as safe as possible.  If this isn’t enough to ease your mind about being checked into the boards, then I suggest a Machine style pad job where you are wearing such a plentiful amount of padding that the sheer size of your shoulders causes your opponents to tremble.

Pick Ladies for Your Teams

In one of the pre-Ladies Army V interviews, I read that even though a woman may be as good as a male player, the male player will almost always get picked over the female player because it is assumed he is better.  Listen dudes, compatibility should not be gender specific,  so quit ignoring the ladies in your Club and ask them to join your team in a tournament!

The Goalie Comfort Zone

It sucks feeling like you are no good up front, but sitting in goal isn’t going to help.  This is essentially the topic of the recent Lancaster article.  From a tournament perspective, its essential to be decent in goal.  Not only does this give you a break when you push it offensively, but it allows your team to switch up offensive plays making it harder for the other team to defend you. (YAY!) It took me a while in pick up to break myself of just sitting in goal or hanging back while my teammates played forward.  The look of that empty goal just scared me a little, but then I realized it was just pick up and I had two other teammates who were equally to blame for the open goal.  The more you play up the better you get at it, just the facts ladies, so get on out there!  What has bummed me out the most this year, was participating in a tournament where one of the female players got yelled at for coming out of goal.  She made a great play by coming out of goal at the perfect time and went to take the ball to our end of the court.  She didn’t make the shot, and her teammate told her to get back to goal.

I often feel that it’s a continual struggle to prove I’m not complete crap when it comes to polo, and I know other ladies feel the same way.  It’s important to be vocal about wanting to get better in your Club and ask questions about being tournament ready, this took me a while to figure out.  Not to say that all of the above is going to make ladies more dominant in tournament play, but I do think it will help up even the playing field.

Author: Sam Bell
Photos courtesy of Liam Gilson

Editorial, Hot Tip

On Women in the Net

November 5, 2013


Last Tuesday, October 29th, Lancaster Polo posted a fantastic article criticizing men for allowing women players to constantly roll into goal, while at the same time the article encouraged women to stand up against this trend in polo and make the guys sit in goal for once. The goal as the woman’s position on the court is an epidemic that needs to find its way out of the hardcourt mindset. It makes for more equality, acceptance and well rounded players in the sport.This article is a must read for everyone! Check out Lancaster’s article and let all of information soak into your mind grapes. Ladies: Stop Putting Yourself in Goal by Matt Kabik.

Once you’re finished with the Lancaster Polo article, you must read this great follow up article by Charlotte Fagan on the Woman on a Wheel blog. It’s great to see a woman’s point of view on the issue, so check out that article HERE.

Bike polo can use more articles from the female perspective. That being said, we would love to have a female writer join the staff or at the very least, have female writers send in articles to be published on the site. If you feel that you have a voice that needs to be heard, then get in touch with us at a.hand(at) We would love to hear from you!

We aren’t the only ones either; Lancaster Polo would love to have female contributors as well. You can find more info on contributing to them HERE.

Editorial, Hot Tip

Get Out of Work Free Card

October 2, 2013


When Florida put in their bid to host Worlds this year, one of their main selling points (outside of the gorgeous courts and beach life) was their experience in hosting cycling events. This previous experience becomes clearer and clearer as the tournament draws closer; their attention to the smallest details is characteristic of a true event organization expert. One such detail that gave me a “Why didn’t I think of that!” moment, was their Get Out of Work letter.

While Worlds is only two weeks away, it seems safe to assume that most participants have already requested off work, but just in case there are a few stragglers who are waiting to the last second to do so, this letter will help convince your boss that you deserve the time off. Even if you have work off, it would still be fun to print off the letter and use it to brag about your polo skills around the office.

All you have to do is follow this link HERE and save the document, insert your name and print it. It’s that simple!

If the 2013 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship is half as organized as the preparation for the tournament, then we are in line to see the best Worlds yet!

See you in Florida!

Culture, Hot Tip, Product

Fashion Forward Female Cyclists

September 11, 2013


I recently started a part-time job as a sales associate at Chrome Industries, and on my first day I was having a conversation with one of my female coworkers about the lack of fashionable female cycling clothes. She was complaining about how Levi’s Commuter line completely skipped over the female cyclist demographic, only making jeans and jackets for men. As a male this is something that never crossed my mind; since I never look for female cycling clothes, I’ve never noticed the lack there of. Our conversation ended with me giving her a little hope. I told her about a small company out of Toronto that is looking to give women, for the first time, cycling jeans that are fashionable and durable.

RYB Denim has a simple goal: “to design a universal womens fit jean that provides comfort and durability, style and function, and is worth the value that the wearer can appreciate and then some.” Headed by NAH’s own Chandel Bodner and Modifide Bike Polo’s Steve Sal Debus, RYB Denim plans to revolutionize the cycling fashion world in the near future. Currently they’re testing denims to find the perfect mixture for their jeans, and once they do they will be embarking on an Indiegogo crowdsourcing project to help get the line started.

Head over and LIKE the RYB Denim facebook page to stay up to date with all of their latest announcements!

Another crowdsourcing project that should be on female cyclists radar are the Cycling Chamois Panties by Urbanist. Via Kickstarter, Urbanist has been raising money to get these fashionable and practical female cycling panties on the market. They were hoping to raise $25,000 for the project and with 15 days left, they have raised over $46,000. That is nearly double their goal! To find out more info or to donate to the cause, check out the Urbanist Kickstarter page HERE.