Editorial, Hot Tip

On Women in the Net

November 5, 2013

10413519535_783568d42c_z

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)hotmail.com. 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, Interview, Player Profile

Meet your World’s Refs: Zach Blackburn

November 4, 2013

The second ref we want to introduce you to is Zach Blackburn. A long time veteran to the sport, I’m sure many of you know him, but as the ref for the 2012 and 2013 World Championship finals, we feel you should get to know ref Zach.

1382798_10100649619863625_1296609125_n

321Polo: What is your home club?
Blackburn: NYC, home of the first worlds champions (2008, Toronto)

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

Blackburn: Since 2005, back when it was a drinking game and we just circled out for a dab

321Polo: When was the first time you reffed at a tournament?
Blackburn: I think the World Champs in Geneva (2012) was the first time I actually signed up for the job. I vaguely remember holding a whistle before then, I don’t remember where.

321Polo: What do you think of fans heckling you?
Blackburn: It must mean I’m making too much of an impression on the game. The match and the fans should be focused on the players, it shouldn’t be about what the ref is doing. That said, any true fan isn’t going to like a call against the team they’re rooting for, no matter how deserved.

321Polo: Are there any major changes you hope to see in the reffing world next year?
Blackburn: I can think of a few. In fact, I can think of a couple hundred. I wish NAH would let me rewrite the rule set to make it a bit more readable, and also to close up a couple glaring omissions: like being able to check someone that’s trying to get out of play. Unless they’re in the way they shouldn’t be able to get blasted while heading to tap in because if they protect themselves in any way they’re effecting the game, and thus, get penalized. Also the goalie shouldn’t be fair game for getting checked into the net, they’re in a vulnerable position while standing there and should deserve more respect than being an easy target for elbows and shoulders. The rule against throwing your mallet should include strategically dropping it. The requirements for possession of the ball should be more specific. With the way it was interpreted in Minneapolis this year it was possible to score while having a delayed penalty against you because refs weren’t blowing the whistle until the offending team was controlling the ball for a couple seconds. I was just dreading the moment that someone one-timed it in the net and the shit show that would follow. The high sticking penalty also got out of hand at NA’s. Luckily we didn’t have a rash of sticks-to-the-face at Worlds, but all we needed to do was just take out “attempts” from the stupid rule that says you can’t “attempt to contact the ball above the shoulders etc etc”. It would have been so simple to just say, if you hit the ball over your shoulders you’ll get it turned over. If you hit an opponent with your mallet up, you’re going to get the book thrown at you. Kev got hit twice in the same game by a stray mallet! He had to deal with a minor face injury for the whole tournament, so the offending team should have at least had someone in the box for 2 min or until Kev’s team scored. If that had happened after the first incident, I highly doubt he would’ve been caught a second time up high. Make a big enough deterrent, and people will be a lot more careful about where they’re swinging.

Video

Watch MalletheadZ Now!

October 31, 2013
malletheadz

Sorry to say, this article is not about the infamous bike polo product company. Womp, womp. Instead, we are advertising the bike polo documentary that was filmed last year in Colorado. A film crew followed the Durango, Colorado grass polo team, The MalletheadZ, as they headed to Denver, Colorado to compete in their first hardcourt bike polo competition.

After a summer of taking the film to festivals, yesterday director Tom Donley decided to post the documentary on his Vimeo page. Clocking in at 30:41, this short documentary is worth your time!

Check it out here:

Product

Channel your inner Warlock

October 30, 2013

1375779_10101803168437950_973171664_n (1)
Down in Florida at the 2013 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship, Magic Bike Polo debuted their new tournament head. Just like the other themed named heads, this new one is appropriately named Warlock. Weighing in at 90 grams, Warlock is looking to conjure spells on the court that allow players to hit harder, scoop easier, and win more games. While this may be heavier than other “tournament” heads on the market, that shouldn’t turn you away from giving this head a try! Unlike other tournament heads, the Warlock has an outer diameter of 2.6 inches. In a game where heavy accurate shots can be the final deciding factor between two teams, it’s important to have more surface area on the head to contact with the ball.

Magic Bike Polo sold out of these heads at Worlds, and I’m sure for good reason. But no worries, the Warlock is back in stock and ready for you to build up. Head on over to the Magic Bike Polo website to pick one or two or three up!

1383535_10101803168597630_1986356199_n (1)1395833_727733197241624_1125555922_n

Editorial, Interview, Player Profile

Meet your World’s Refs: Bruce Wahl

October 29, 2013

This is the beginning of a mini-series where we will be introducing you to the top notch people that slayed from the ref stand at Worlds. We will be focusing on the four refs that took us through the finals as the tournament dwindled from four courts to two. On the Republic/Origin 8 court we had Zach Blackburn and Robin Cunningham, while on the Chunk court we had Joe Rstom and Bruce Wahl. The first ref we will be introducing you to is Bruce Wahl. Poloverse, meet Bruce Wahl.

1234533_10200865139412340_2047592892_n
321Polo: What is your home club?
Wahl: My home club is the Mankato Blue Skunk Bike Polo Club.

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

Wahl: I’ve been playing for three years

321Polo: When was the first time you reffed at a tournament?
Wahl: The first time I officiated was at this year’s North American Championships in Minneapolis.

321Polo: What do you think of fans heckling you?
Wahl: Personally, fan heckling doesn’t bother me. It comes with the territory and my expectations are that I will be hassled in each and every match that I officiate. Just like in all sports, spectators have their bias towards a team so whether or not you make a right or wrong call, it will always and forever be scrutinized. As a referee you simply need to focus and be resolute on each and every call despite the persistent badgering from onlookers.

321Polo: Are there any major changes you hope to see in the reffing world next year?
Wahl: I believe there are many things we can do in bike polo to help facilitate a better environment for consistent officiating. One, I feel strongly that our sport needs multiple referees officiating a match. As a head referee it is extremely difficult to see everything that is going on off ball and extra sets of eyes would be paramount in catching important infractions that are potentially changing the outcome of games. A repetitive issue at Worlds was it was increasingly harder and harder to catch infractions near and around the net. With so many bicycles stacked within that area that I feel goal judges need to be trained referees with the capability to blow a play dead and make a call which would be hard or almost impossible for the head referee to see. So in a perfect world I think a match of bike polo needs a referee crew of at least 4 to 5 officials. There are also things within the rule set that I would like to see changed to make our jobs as referees easier but that’s another can of worms for another day. Ultimately, I would also like to see the referees get compensated for their time. I realize our sport isn’t gushing with money but if you want an individual to be dedicated to something that is demanding as officiating, you need to pay them. Personally, I enjoy officiating bike polo but I would much rather be enjoying a beverage and cheering on the teams when I travel to beautiful places such as Minneapolis or Florida. Make it worth my while to referee a game because I’m missing out on being a fan which I was first and foremost before I picked up the whistle. The final thing I would like to see in the referee world is more participation. More referees will lead to better play across the country at local tournaments and qualifiers, which in turn will create a better brand of clean, beautiful bike polo.