Editorial

Heckling Hardcourt – Vol. 3

February 27, 2014
HecklingHardcourt

HecklingHardcourt

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.
strange-brew-original

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

m4s0n501
Bike Check

Bike Check: Ebbin’s Peacock Groove

February 25, 2014
bike check: ebbin martin's peacock groove

bike check: ebbin martin's peacock groove

Name: Ebbin Martin

Age: 39

Started Playing: March 2005

Club: Minneapolis, MN

Team name: HA! No set team. Yet.

My first polo bike, an 18 spd Lemond road bike with a carbon fork, was also my road bike. Twice. It was my road bike in Madison, Wi; my road, commuter and polo bike in Brooklyn, NY; my polo bike and now my road bike, once again, in Minneapolis, MN.

I have lost track of all of the bikes I have used for polo since I started playing. Besides the Lemond, the most memorable have been a Gary Fisher Gritty that I ran fixed gear 700c rear with a 26” front disk wheel; an aluminum Bianchi hardtail mountain bike that I gave ghetto horizontal dropouts and machined as much of the headtube off as I could to steepen up the headtube angle; and most recently my All City Dropout (whose dropouts are cracking from too many hops).

However, not one of them ever felt “right”. The more bikes I tried, the more I knew I wasn’t going to find it without a custom build. After meeting Erik Noren and seeing his unique bikes, I knew I had to have the first (and only?) Peacock Groove polo bike.

Details of note: 1.5” steerer and oversized headtube = super stiff front end and confident handling. Nose pivots will never ovalize this beastly headtube. Straight gauge tubing throughout – to me, durability was more important than weight savings. I can still hop this baby like a kangaroo, and it feels so quick and balanced. Canti (removable) and stainless steel faced disk mounts front and back. Hey, you never know, I might want dual brakes again… or quad (Paul duplex lever with problem solver splitters?). Internal cable routing for the rear brakes. Super deep horizontal dropouts for maximum chain length options. Nickel plated steel front disk brake guard with four point mounting. Obviously, the paint job. I have a color coordinated top tube and stem pad in the works, and really want some two side printed, watermelon cross-section Fixcraft HDPE wheel covers made, but they are prohibitively expensive for me right now

Frame & forkPeacock Groove of Minneapolis, MN. Oversized headtube and steerer (1.5”). Stainless on all raw surfaces, disk and cantilever brake mounts front and back, internal cable routing for rear. Multilayer watermelon paint job by Brad Galvin of Dirt Designs.

Drivetrain: EighthInch freestyle splined crankset (170) (arms painted to match), 30T Tree chainwheel, 18T White Industries trials freewheel, Time ATAC carbon pedals.

Wheelset: Fixcraft 48 hole disk hubs, Velocity NoBs 48 hole rims (26”), Bontrager Hardcase 1.5 x 26”.

Brakes:  Deore MTB (long) lever (I am missing half my left index finger, so I use longer levers so I can get  my middle and sometimes ring finger to it), Avid BB7, Avid clean sweep rotor. I will be replacing this with an Avid XX Hydraulic setup I picked up at a swap.

Stem/Bars/Headset:  New Transition Bikes Temple Lite Stem 1.5 x 50mm/Fleetvelo bars with Ergon grips/Cane Creek 1.5”.

Seatpost/Saddle: Thomson/Salsa lip lock/Brooks Colt.

bike check: ebbin martin 2 bike check: ebbin martin 3 photo[4] bike check : ebbin martin 5 bike check: ebbin martin 6

Editorial

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.

Editorial

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.

Culture

Hardcourt Soundtracks

January 29, 2014
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The very nature of sports yield a need for a soundtrack. Sadly, when you go to sports stadiums you seem to hear the AC/DC and Rolling Stones songs over and over. Thanks to Tommy Boy Records releasing five amazing editions of Jock Jams, the 1990s saw a few more great songs inter arenas. Hell, I could just find you links to those albums and they would make amazing hardcourt soundtracks, but instead of having you listen to the same 69 Boys, 2 Unlimited, Quad City DJ’s, and C+C Music Factory songs that you’ve heard many times, I figured it would be better to find dedicated soundtracks for hardcourt bike polo play. Wither you’re hitting the ball around by yourself, playing picking, having a good time with friends at a fun tournament, or getting your head in the game for something a little more serious, music plays an important role in putting our minds in the appropriate place, so I had to make my decisions carefully. Give these albums a listen and fall in love with your new hardcourt bike polo soundtrack.

Pick Up – These are the albums that have enough energy to get you moving on the court, while at the same time make you want to sit around with your friends and pop the tops off of some sodas. These albums are not too intense so that you are able to enjoy friendly games without anyone getting aggro. They create an environment that welcomes anyone to check out this silly sport that we all love.
1. Ceremony – Zoo:

2. Daylight – Jar:

Alone on the Court - When you’re alone on the court, you’re in a completely different mindset than when you are in game. These tunes allow you focus your mind so that you are able to find your inner chi. They allow all of your concentration to flow to your bike and ball handling without distraction. I’m not saying Koyo listens to these albums, but if you’re looking to be like him, these albums will help.
1. Prurient – Bermuda Drain:

2. Wintersun – Wintersun:

Fun Tournaments – These are the albums that make you feel like never going back to work and forever hanging out with your friends is a real option. They are lively, upbeat, and energetic in a way that creates a fun environment both on and off the court. They are tunes that can carry over from the daytime to the after party. If you’re looking for sunshine, fun times, and friends these are the albums for you.
1. Algernon Cadwallader – Some Kind of Cadwallader:

2. Andrew W.K. – I Get Wet:

Real Deal Tournaments – They are great albums to put on repeat from the moment you wake until you find yourself in the tournament final. They will get your blood flowing fast so that you can give nothing less than 110% on the court. They will allow you to ride faster than you’ve ever ridden and smash balls with the accuracy of a Clint Eastwood shooting a handgun.
1. Converge – Axe to Fall:

2. Outkast – Stankonia: