Last weekend Geneva Bike Polo hosted the fourth annual Hell’s Belles ladies only bike polo tournament. Making the trek all the way to Switzerland from Australia, Claire Wilson of Style She Spoke, wrote an amazing round up of the monumental event. Find out more info and read her roundup, HERE!
Turducken was a blast. Truly. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates than Carter and Ransom, and we went further along (I think tied for 7th/8th? I don’t know) than I imagined possible. All in all, I’m deeming it as a success. The hosts were very hosty, I ate more tacos in 2 days than I normally eat in 2 weeks–yes, I eat tacos every week–and the hotel only had one toilet that didn’t work (thanks, Alias, for letting me use yours).
The tourney was also my first ever 2v2 tourney. The rule for this was very simple: you play 2v2, and you have to switch out one of your players with your third each game. While I had played 2v2 at pickup when we can’t get numbers, I never did it at a tourney and, to be honest, I was disappointed when I learned that this tourney wouldn’t be 3v3.
The first day was difficult: I kept expecting to have a third person on my team, and I quickly learned that a tourney of 2v2 counts on a few things:
1. The other team messing up
3. Getting the other team out of position
If you manage two of those 3, you’ll win your games (or at least not look horrible in losing).
I’m going to be honestfrank with you and say that my playing on the first day was horrible. For one thing, my heart was going nuts and that made me not necessarily care how I was playing (as dying is something I’d like to avoid), but I also just wasn’t carrying my weight on the team. Carter and Eric were clearly the strong 2 of we 3, though they were both very kind to me in my uselessness.
The other teams seemed to have the same difficulties we had (save for a few slayers, of course, who could probably play with 1 and 1/4th of a player and still do well). The games weren’t slow, as I was expecting, though the pacing was certainly different. There wasn’t necessarily constant movement, but rather a ebb and flow of movement that dictated how a play either was (or was not) going to work. I found that I had more open breakaways, obviously, but I also felt like every action I took had a much more profound impact on the game than I would if it were 3v3.
I think that’s what the most valuable lesson was that weekend, outside of learning about the Turducken Taco from Cultured Swine, was that new sort of court awareness. I was keenly aware of helping the ball carrier rather than just trying to become the ball carrier. I either worked towards getting the 2nd player out of the play, or in getting my own guy to a good position.
That being said, I found that my leftyness came into play in an enormous way, as did my slow-game-ball-control nonsense that I do so enjoy. Furthermore, tricks became somehow more important (tricks, in my book, include dribbling the ball around other players in the air, weird shots, etc.).
The second day was a much better showing in my case, and I believe I managed to help Carter win every game we played together. I had a stronger understanding of what my role should be and managed to remind myself of that understanding whenever I got in the heat of a match.
Even so: as I left the tourney without saying goodbye to most, and drove my little truck the 7 hours it took to get home (thanks, traffic), I knew that I wouldn’t want to play a 2v2 tourney again. It was great fun, but it didn’t really scratch that itch I look to get scratched at a tourney. Or, maybe I should refine that: I don’t see myself playing in another 2v2 tourney unless it’s happening within 1 hour of driving distance. With Turducken Tacos, maybe 2 hours.
There are two things that the Midwest knows how to do well:
- Throw bike polo tournaments.
This video from the Hallowmeme tournament held in Grand Rapids, MI last month proves my point exactly. Enjoy the video and head to a tournament in the Midwest as soon as possible!
…and I’m not really worried about it
Counting a discussion last week with Horse, there have been about four people who approached me (either via email, message, or in person) this year who were concerned about the amount of tourneys being hosted this year compared to years past. They all thought, more or less, that it was a sign of either the dwindling of the sport or the dwindling importance of tourneys.
Well, I just don’t buy it, honestly.
To Horse’s credit, he cited that part of the reason for the reduction in tourneys was the proliferation of regions and the need to have qualifiers in those regions (a problem that I think will probably be worked out sooner than later). Because of this, local tournaments were put off because everyone was too busy trying to prep and/or run their own NAH sanctioned event.
I think consideration that must be paid is that the tourneys are getting bigger, the quality of the tourneys is getting better, and the expectation of going to certain tourneys over other tourneys is becoming more and more of a reality. If anything, I think it shows a growth in bike polo (or at least in the quality of bike polo): not every city can have its own top-notch tourney–which is fine, but it also means that more and more folks are waiting for those really solid tourneys to latch on to, and the smaller ones never really come around to being actualized.
Plus, if you really want to get down to the scientific method: just because a tourney isn’t on the LoBP (ALL HAIL!) it doesn’t mean that tourney didn’t happen. It might just be that there are smaller tourneys that aren’t using the site. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but it very well may be.
Try to think back, if you can, to just a few years ago: what tourneys were like. No boards, sometimes just open sides with bags to stop the ball from going out of play. Cones for goals and tourneys that would occasionally not even really be completed. Those tourneys are what made up a fair amount of those many-more tourneys we see if we look at tourneys per year. Now, however, we’re seeing more organized and more tourney-like tournaments, and just because there are fewer doesn’t mean we’re losing anything.
So there, naysayers. So there.
This weekend Indianapolis Bike Polo is hosting the first ever Slaydy Hawkins bike polo tournament. As the name suggests, the tournament is modeled after the traditional Sadie Hawkins Dance, where in the ladies ask the men to the dance. Much like the high school dance, ladies get pick their two other partners for the tournament, be it coed or an all girls death squad. I’m really stoked on the idea of the tournament and I can’t wait to see it develop on Podium. If you want to follow the tournament this weekend as well, use this link HERE! And if you want more info on the tournament, check out the League of Bike Polo page HERE!