Other than Polo

It’s Been a Great Run

January 16, 2015

The short story: on January 25th the anniversary of this site going live, I’m shutting down lancasterpolo.com.

The long story:

Holy hell, I never could have imagined how far this little site would take me. For something I started purely because I felt guilty I couldn’t do anything else for my club, it’s led me across the country, made me recognizable to some of the most amazing people, and provided me more free swigs of whiskey and cans of beer than I could have ever hoped for. In all earnestness, it’s made me as close as I’ll ever come to being a polo household name. That’s unbelievable.

In that time, I’ve made lots of friends and a few enemies. And I thank both of those groups because, of course, they kept me on my toes. Friends because I hate to disappoint them, and enemies because I love to disappoint them. Hopefully one side is more full than the other, but who knows.

I’ve decided to shutter lancasterpolo for a few reasons. One, my writing life is taking off at an accelerated rate (my creative writing, not my “creative” writing here) and I find myself the editor in chief of Third Point Press, a new online magazine and press. This is going to take up an enormous amount of my time, and I simply couldn’t do justice to either site if both existed.

Secondly (and I’m sure this will come as no surprise to most of you): it’s hard to run a site that publishes constantly by yourself. I simply can’t have material at a regular clip anymore, and that makes having a site on my own too costly and too time consuming. Add to this the simple expense of the site, and you have a good mix for going completely broke.

But this is not to say that I’m never writing again, of course. I’ve made an offer (and Aaron accepted) to move myself over to 321 POLO! as a contributing writer. Simply put, I’ll write when I want to (which I’m aiming for once a week or biweekly if I’m very busy), but I won’t worry about having something fresh out to you everyday. You’ll still get your fill of nonsense and righteous indignation from me, just not here.

I’ve written so many things that I have been proud of, and lots more that I’ve been embarrassed by. I’ve written about serious, meaningful issues and nonsensical dribble. I enjoyed every minute of it. This blog consumed my life, and I was happy to have it do so. It was a joy, it was an honor.

There are specific people I want to thank, but there are so many of you I don’t know that I could do justice to it here. I want to thank the big names in the sport who pulled me up alongside them, who took the time to talk and to listen. I want to thank my club, of course, my god, for being so fantastic to me and for humoring me when I started this site up. I want to thank all of the people who shouted at me when they saw me and offered me food and beer and money when I was flat broke at every damn tourney. I want to thank the newbs who looked at me wide eyes and unbelieving that someone so fat and short could be “that Crusher from the blog.” I want to thank the people who let me be annoying to get the story, or who were so sweet to me when they had no reason to be other than knowing I needed that comfort. (Yes, I’m actually crying now. No, I’m not ashamed). I want to thank the readers, who pushed me on for so long and who made me feel like my voice was worth something.

It’s hard for me to put into words just how hard this decision was, or just how much Lancasterpolo means to me. It’s not an exaggeration: this is one of the most successful, rewarding things I’ve done in my life. It’s connected me with so many people and provided me with so much…I don’t know…respect in a community, I guess? By nature I’m a sensitive, shy guy–so having people know me before I met them and genuinely be happy to see me was amazing. I won’t be able to say more than thank you to the people who supported me and looked after me. I won’t be able to say more than I love you, and this website over the years has been such a great ride.

But this isn’t really goodbye, of course. I’ll see you over at 321 POLO and I’ll see you at the courts. You, dear reader, mean so much to me. I can’t think of a better bunch of misfits I could write to for all these years.

This is Crusher, Editor of Lancasterpolo, signing off.


Rose City Royal Rumble II

January 11, 2015
royal rumble 2

Shameless plug for Portland’s second annual Rose City Royal Rumble. This two day single player tournament will again be held at Portland Bike Polo’s home court in Alberta Park. There is a 60 player maximum, with only ONE player walking away with cash, prizes, and the title of 2015 Royal Rumble Champion! So mark your calendars for March 28th and 29th, and start thinking of which wrestler most closely mimics your bike polo personality. You can find more info over on League of Bike Polo.


3-2-1 Polo! Instagram Take Over

January 8, 2015
bike polo instagram2

Quite often I get emails from people asking me if I can help them promote their hardcourt bike polo tournament or share some photos/videos from a bike polo tournament that they recently hosted. I always help out in these situations because I love being able to show off how the sport is developing around the world. Recently I’ve been trying to think of ways for me to help showcase these tournaments even more and I came up with the idea of sharing my Instagram with tournaments hosts/attendees.

This is how it will work: Hosts of bike polo tournament will contact us via email or Facebook, we will add their tournament to our calendar on a first come first serve basis (i.e. one Instagram take over per weekend), and on the Friday before the tournament starts, the host/attendee will receive our Instagram log-in and password so that it can be theirs for the weekend.

Simple as that and we can all more easily enjoy hardcourt bike polo tournaments from all over the world!

Email us or hit us up on Facebook if you want to take advantage of this for a tournament that you are hosting or attending!


Are You Playing Your Game, or Theirs?

January 7, 2015

We’ve all had them: games where no matter what you do, the other team is out pacing you. They are forcing you into situations you don’t want, not allowing any of your plays to occur, and are generally slapping your bottom with skill.

It’s okay to admit this. I’m not here to judge.

But what if I told you it wasn’t necessarily all their fault that you weren’t able to keep up? What if I told you, dear reader, that it was partially your fault.

No, really.

There is one thing I’ve learned in being a slow player: you are in control of the pace of the game (at least when your team has the ball). Just because the other team is going full steam every single time they get possession doesn’t mean at all that you need to match suit. Point in fact, you really shouldn’t match their speed. If your team is more calculating and more technical, use those skills to throw off the speed/power game of the other team. Likewise, if your team is more power/speed, use that against the slow, methodical team you find yourself against.

But, for the love of Pete & Pete, don’t think that just because your opponent is turning it up to 11 that you need to. Don’t fall into that trap.

The real trick of this is recognizing whether you are playing your own game or playing the opponent’s game. I’ve made it a habit to, after each score on our goal, ask myself if I am playing my game. I tell my team how the other team is playing: they are taking long shots, they are counting on breakaways, they are waiting for us to shoot. I figure out whether they are changing my habits as a player–whether they are forcing me out of my skill set.

If they are, I recenter. I work out what I need to do to go back to my skills and use them against the other team. I’m not saying that you should only count on what your good at to save you (that’s a good way to not grow as a player), but if your in a tourney or some such, it’s likely that you’re not exactly focusing on becoming a better player nearly so much as you are focusing on winning your next match.

So there’s my suggestion: playing your own game, on your terms, is a skill you need to develop during hot n’ heavy play. Learn to recognize when it’s not happening, and learn to make it happen when that’s the case.