Editorial, Hot Tip

Stepping Up: Getting Ladies Tournament Ready

November 14, 2013

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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

2014 Rules Survey

November 13, 2013
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With the 2013 WHBPC less than a month behind of us, the NAH is wasting no time getting things rolling to improve the 2014 season. Yesterday, the head of the NAH Rules Committee, Nick Kruse, released a survey on some possible amendments for next year’s rule set. There are only eight questions so we encourage you all to take ten minutes out of your time for this survey. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s important for the future of hardcourt play! Here’s what Kruse had to say during his League of Bike Polo press release:

“As part of my effort to move the rule set forward, I said that, following worlds, I wanted to have some informal polls about some of the controversial rule changes that get discussed here on the boards and maybe sometimes in real life. With big, big help from Joe Rstom, the following was put together:

http://www.nahardcourt.com/voting/

Go forth and click. These votes aren’t tied to where you live or even if you play polo. The goal here is to gain experience in a systematic method for developing the rule set. And to simply get some information out there about what ‘people’ may want. We’d appreciate some community integrity in your votes, and I’m sure you all will grant it. Non-North Americans, feel free to contribute.

If you don’t see something here that is important to you, please email rules@nahardcourt.com. Aside from the topics brought up in these polls, I have a list of issues that I am addressing in the current rule set that vary less with individual opinions and are centered on safety. They are things that have been presumed but not written due to past haste in drafting the rules. One of your things may be one of mine. Get at me.

Maybe you don’t see an option to click that you feel should really be in there for one of the topics. If this is you, post below about it. Let’s see what the x2s say.

Thanks for your help. Try to not get worked up about this; the rules are going to be sweet next year. This is one step among many, and I want to stress that it is just a census of opinion. We have plenty of time. Enjoy your off-season, if that is even a thing.”

As Kruse stated, this is just the first step among many to better next season and I couldn’t be more excited! The 2014 season is destine to be the best we have ever seen. But it will only happen if everyone puts in a little help; take the SURVEY and then join in on the discussion via League of Bike Polo.

Video

Alan Partridge does Polo

November 12, 2013
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If you are unfamiliar with Alan Partridge, (no, he’s not part of the classic 70’s TV show The Partridge Family) he is a fictional radio and television host played by the iconic comedian Steven Coogan. Partridge’s antics have been splitting sides for decades and now, thanks to Andrew “Chan” McRae, Partridge has entered the Poloverse. Chan took some polo footage from 2011, dubbed Alan Partridge’s football (soccer for the Americans) commentary over it, and now a tsunami of laughter is about to unleash across the hardcourt interwebs.

Enjoy and share with your friends!

Editorial, Interview, Player Profile

Meet your World’s Refs: Robin Cunningham

November 11, 2013

The third installment of our “Meet Your World’s Refs” series introduces you to a player from one of NAH’s most forgotten regions. Hailing from the Southwest, Robin Cunningham is the unsung hero of World’s Refs. As one of only three refs to sign the volunteer sheet put out before Worlds began, Cunningham showed his commitment and talent all the way through the tournament to the final game. Find out a little more about him here!

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321Polo: What is your home club?
Cunningham: Home Club = Albuquerque Bike Polo

321Polo: How long have you been playing bike polo?

Cunningham: I’ve been playing for 4 years.

321Polo: When was the first time you reffed at a tournament?
Cunningham: I first reffed at our own tournament in Santa Fe, NM in April 2010.

321Polo: What do you think of fans heckling you?
Cunningham: I don’t mind the fans heckling me, it can be a bit distracting though. I started reffing soccer when I was very young, so I was used to a minimum of 22 parents yelling at you at the same time. No one is ever happy all of the time.

321Polo: Are there any major changes you hope to see in the reffing world next year?
Cunningham: The major changes I would like to see would be an acceptance of world rules, not just NAH. The NAH/world rules translated into 5 or 8 major languages so everyone can read them. And lastly, hand signals for the 10 major fouls. It can be very hard to tell the players (and fans) what the foul call is when everyone is yelling at the same time. We could adopt a football/hockey style hand signals that would be international. Then there would be no discrepancy with what the actual call was. With the addition of the hand signals would be pointing in the direction of play after a foul. That way the teams can have an idea of which side has possession of the ball. Lastly, if we want to have good refs, then pay them (or honor their efforts with proper respect). When refs are getting paid they will take it more seriously. My final thought is: “You can hate me on the court, but love me off the court.”

Editorial

Welcome our New Writer!

November 8, 2013

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We heard the calls from the poloverse and couldn’t have agreed more: the Association of Bike Polo Journalists needs a more diverse voice. Earlier this week, Lancaster Polo added Charlotte Fagan Caroline Schruff to their writing staff and in doing what we at 321Polo do best (attempting to steal the thunder of Lancaster Polo) we now introduce to you our newest member, Sam Bell. We sent out a call earlier this week for a female voice at 321Polo and Sam was gracious enough to answer!

Sam Bell is an avid polo player and cyclocross racer from San Francisco and we couldn’t be happier to have her as part of the 321Polo family. Fast into action, Sam’s first article for the site will come to the poloverse next week. We are excited for her enthusiasm and we can’t wait to have her voice heard!

If anyone else would love to join the 321Polo writing staff, send us an email (a.hand(at)hotmail.com) so we can have a chat!