Saturday, April 2, 2011

Separation of Hardcourt and Grass...

Is this what Hardcourt Bike Polo has become? Do we all have "personal space" that cannot be breached? Are people really cussing at others in the hunt for an apology because they were bumped?

Sadly, Hardcourt Bike Polo is officially dying. Sure, 2011 will see the game grow faster than ever before. But the original spirit of the game: A fast, crazy, tough modernization of Grass Bike Polo is quickly eroding thanks to an influx of sissies determining how the game should be played and how the sport should move forward.

Pretty soon, Hardcourt Bike Polo will be nothing more than Grass Polo played on asphalt. The game will be watered-down into something that no longer possess the magic that existed when the highest level of the sport was tough and scary and reserved for a select few. It is already happening. Look at the video above. The slightest bump in the corner produces one of the biggest hissy fits I have seen at polo.

I do not remember Charlie whining and cussing when he got worked 20 times worse in Madison, WI last summer. He shook it off and finished the game like tough, great players do. If you do not know what I am talking about, watch the first eight seconds of this video:

North American Hardcourt Polo from Mr.Do on Vimeo.

So why is Charlie's recent bump in Little Rock, AR getting so much attention? Why does he get his own video proclaiming him "The Dick of The Week" and splattering "Dick Move" over the screen when he takes away a guy's line while remaining within the rules of the game? There is only one answer: Bike Polo is dying a slow death due to neutering. The game I have grown to love over the past year and half is having all of its sharp edges a house that has padding everywhere to protect a baby that has just started walking.

Stop protecting the babies. Weed them out.

In my opinion, this is the wrong way of developing the game of Hardcourt Bike Polo. Instead of dumbing-down the game and making it safe and accessible for everyone, there should always be a section of Bike Polo that maintains the original spirit of the game. The highest level of Bike Polo should always be rough, dangerous, and tough. That is what has really drawn me and others to the sport...And changes intended to diminish that spirit have pushed some great people out of the game. As long as Bike Polo exists, I want to have to deal with guys trying to take my line at full speed...I want to grind shoulder-to-shoulder down the rink in the attempt to earn a breakaway...I want to check and be checked when the opportunity presents itself. Hockey should not be controlled by figure skaters, and Hardcourt Bike Polo should not be influenced by people that want the game to be like Grass Bike Polo (whether they know it or not...The guy in the video above clearly falls in this category. If you do not want to get bumped and cut off, Grass Polo is always looking for new players).

I understand that there will always be new people discovering Bike Polo, and I do not want them to be scared-off by how amazingly tough and intense great games can be. To satisfy the new players, they should be cultivated in a warm, welcoming environment where they are allowed to learn the game and should not have be scared of being smashed through a wall (yet). I think this is possible without destroying what the best Bike Polo can and should be.

Let Hardcourt Bike Polo be Hardcourt Bike Polo!

The fact that the last sentence is not the opinion of the majority is really making me reconsider my involvement in the sport of Hardcourt Bike Polo. The thought of going to tournaments and wasting my weekend with referees and players that do not understand real Bike Polo is quite frustrating. I also do not have the patience to listen to some crybaby give me an earful because he objects to me playing the game within the rules.

The state of Hardcourt Bike Polo is uncertain. It may have already drifted down the wrong fork in the river. For the sake of the game, I hope that it has not.

Saint Louis Bike Polo


  1. You have no idea what you are talking about. First of all alexis was dick of thweek when this went down. That's the reference here. Second, grass polo is way more 'hardcore' than faggot bike golf, everyone who has ever played it at the pickup level knows that. Ask the 12 year olds from Phoenix who havebeen playing it their whole lives and are better than you at hardcourt.

  2. Also you have never been at what you refer to as the "highest level" so how would you know?

  3. A.) You are mistaken. Alexis was deemed "Dick of the Week" (for registering multiple times for a tournament) on a video that was posted ten days ago. This video featuring Alexis' crying and titled "Charlie Smallmountain: Dick of the Week" (clearly blaming Charlie for some wrongdoing) was filmed eight or nine days ago.

    Both your logic and your timeline do not work.

    B.) The "hardcore" levels of Grass Polo and Hardcourt Polo are apples and oranges. One is an endurance sport...The other is a physical sport.

    C.) I would expect anyone playing a sport for 12 years to be better than me...Someone that has played for 1.5 years.

    D.) Your use of the word "faggot" makes you an ignorant jackass.

    Keep it classy, kev.

  4. i was watching this game from the opposite angle while sitting on the benches that can be seen in this video. it seemed to be a clean move; charlie took alexis's line while they were both going for the ball, and in doing so hit alexis's front wheel, but not really with that much force. if alexis would have had full possession of the ball, he could have stopped it, stopped his bike, and avoided this collision. it seemed like he got pissed because his wheel was a bit out of true, but it wasn't fubar because he was able to open his brake and continue playing. i've played with charlie several times and he has never exhibited the behavior of an overly aggressive or reckless player. i don't understand all the fuss, honestly.

  5. b) you write a whole essay ignorantly comparing them, but then tell that they can't be compared? both can be physical sports, both can be endurance sports.

    d) the quotes mean they're not my words. but if someone tries to insult you by calling you a name, and you adopt that name proudly, then you win. Also it's good to remind people of that perception of our sport when they let their testosterone get the better of them.

  6. "when they let their testosterone get the better of them." i couldn't agree more on account that this was nearly my response to the first video.

  7. All contact should be encouraged. Put on some pads and make WHEEL COVERS MANDATORY. This sport needs to be more like death metal. And less like Simon and Garfunkel. I don't care if you hit me off my bike. That makes you the better bike rider in that one moment. Your all bitching about the same thing. You want to make this sport better. So quit making rules to satisfy the complainant and make some that are truly safety oriented. If I get wrecked by another pedal in open spoke because your too cool to run wheel covers, you bet I'm gonna get mad. But if were fighting for the ball, anything goes. Get mad on the ground. I'm gonna put the ball in the net while your crying. I'm sick of bike polo players that feel entitled to complain because the spend more time on LOBP. Get off the ground shut up and play your heart out. This sport has more sore winners and shit talking people that walk away when confronted about it. On a hockey rink you'd get stitched up for that shit.
    In short, shut up and play the game. Quit making your boards knee high.Learn to fall and get back up before u get scored on. Quit making a scene and throwing a bitch fit when you get out ridden. It's the best way to learn and progress the sport.

  8. So you are going to try and get elected as a rep and work on a ruleset for next year that is favorable to you? Or have you no time to be bothered?

  9. The wheel got out of true because of bike on bike contact. Its not allowed. Regardless of how either player reacted after the foul it was still illegal.

  10. Foul? Illegal? These rules are horible. Am I gonna get elected? FUCK NO. I have time but I'd rather use it to RIDE MY BIKE.

    Anyone want to play bike hockey? It's a mend sport

  11. Hardcourt is a contact sport where you line is never guaranteed. You play on a relatively small rink with five other people.

    Grass Polo is played by teams of four people (plus subs) on a giant grass field. You can't bump people, and you can't cut people off.

    These are two different sports.

    Let each sport be what it is supposed to be.

    Watering-down Hardcourt to eliminate checking and bike-on-bike contact is slowly turning Hardcourt into something, in my opinion, that is not as good...Grass polo...On a small rink.

    The bike-on-bike rule needs to be redefined. If Charlie's little bump is illegal, it's just another step in the wrong direction. We're in tight confines...Bikes are going to hit each other. Malicious contact should be illegal (t-bones/plowing into people)...The fact that people consider Charlie's bump an illegal hit is laughable.

  12. Nobody considered it an illegal hit certainly not the "REFS".

    Charlie is not playing the ball, which is apparent since his mallet is on his bars.

    Maybe the dick move is that he helps his team in no way in this situation... foots himself, doesn't gain possession of the ball, keeps himself out of the play by listening to Alexis.

    It's hard to tell which team scores while they are talking.

  13. If you think this was a dirty/illegal move, you can suck a fat cock.

    Charlie cut the line around the corner. As far as you can tell from this video, Alexis went into him. You can't see shit, and until you have another view, shut the fuck up because there's nothing here to show this was a malicious play.

    And enough with the ad hominems. "You aren't at the top level play so your opinion about top level play doesn't matter" is a pussy argument. Fuck that. Fucking celebrity bullshit.

    Also, put your name on your comments, pussies.

  14. Hahahaha you guys...

    This video was posted on April 1. Its an April fools day joke! It has to be! No one is that ridiculous.

  15. I love the harmonica playing in the background. Soundtrack courtesy of Cleveland the wino.

  16. The problem with putting your name in the comments is anyone can do it. So who knows who is actually leaving comments.

    Like earlier when I said,
    "If you think this was a dirty/illegal move, you can suck a fat cock."

    and then I said,

    "And enough with the ad hominems."

    I was obviously so distracted by the big cock in my mouth I could barely use the term correctly let alone remember that I had just told someone to suck a fat cock in the previous paragraphs.

  17. Shut up Nick K you can suck a fat cock!

  18. Consider the differences in Basketball - An NBA game is not played the same way as a NCAA game, which is basically a different game than a suburban YMCA game or an inner-city game. The best part of hardcourt is that it's essentially self-regulating. Like to play a civilized game? Play with civilized folks. Don't mind getting crushed against the chainlink? I'm sure you know the 5 other guys in your town who you want to play with. Folks can bitch all they want about rough play, but who the hell cares unless it's called at a tourney? I play in a small college town where we're (mostly) a civilized bunch of mixed-skill players, but I know exactly which nearby larger city I need to go to get my ass kicked and get knocked off my bike by clean play (no blood, no foul, right?).

    If you don't like the rules, get involved with the bodies that decide how tourneys are officiated. It didn't look like this video resulted in any sort of penalty. Who cares if he bitches? It's clean as long as it's not penalized, right? I don't like getting hit hard during a casual game, but those aren't the kinds of people I play with. When I go play tourney, I expect to get played hard. Having the attitude that "All Hardcourt Must Be Played A Certain Way" is exclusionary at best and kind of douchey at worst. We're not all NYC Bike Couriers. I play with a mixture of triathalon athletes, mountain bikers, and (like myself) bike commuters who like to compete in things. Don't tell me to go play grass 'cause I don't play exactly like you.

    However, I think this video is kind of overblown. He didn't like the way he was played. So? He lost the ball and lost his wheel (momentarily). I'd be pissed, but I'm a competitive guy. The important thing is that it wasn't called as a foul. Anyone can put anything on youtube, but I'd hardly consider it a sign of the coming hardcourt apocalypse.


  19. To clarify re: above post, I'm not the same Nick as STL Nick.
    -Nick B

  20. Bike Polo is a rough sport -- that's what drew me to the game. When I lived in New York I would watch from a distance players go at it in a park around the corner from my apartment that I now know as The Pit. I was afraid I'd get my head ripped off just for watching too long, but it looked so awesome it would almost be worth it.

    I finally worked up the courage to start playing when I moved to back to St. Louis. I was lucky to join a club that relishes in the physical aspects of the game, but is also accepting and encouraging enough to coach a rookie into the action. The first couple months was split between players taking it easy on me and getting completely burned. And that's the way it should be -- no one's going to get anywhere if they're not pushed around a little.

    But I have to say that had I seen an episode like Alexis in the above video before I decided to man up and play, I would have immediately lost all desire for polo. I may be new to the game, but I feel completely safe saying that toning polo down to make it more accessible is a bad move. More great players will leave the sport than will be replaced. If you and your friends want to put together a casual game, that's fine -- but when it comes to tournaments and everyday pick-up games, hard nosed legal play should be expected.

    No foul was called, but it still puts a damper on things when someone blows up over the essence of the game. I'm seriously hoping that this embarrassing moment can soon be forgotten and we can go on playing polo like it's supposed to be played.

  21. Ben the midwest style that you love comes from its roots in grass polo. playing fast, hard, physical games. 3 on 3.

    Arguably grass is the reason why MKE and Chicago ended up 1st and 2nd at WHBPC (playing a fairly physical style compared to everyone else), and two Madison players ended up 5th. i think 6 out of 8 of those players played grass at some point, and the other two played "big ball" on hardcourt which had all the speed aspects from the grass game.

    I kinda regret some of my earlier comments on this thread, i realize now they weren't that productive, i just didn't think you were trying to be productive in your post. I'm glad you put forward your candidature for NAH regional rep. And even though i like a physical game, I probably disagree with you about your vision of the sport and from a practical how you would go about implementing it.

  22. if this play had been shoulder to shoulder or anywhere close to it, i would have had no problem with it. my issue was with him riding his bike directly into me without any attempt at body to body contact. that is all. it was a t bone plain and simple. to the guys who think i should stick to grass polo, give me a break. i've been playing hardcourt since 2003. i've been around for rough play. for epic physical confrontations. and i can roll with it. ask doug. so i hope you get on the rules committee and change things up. let's take it back to stone age polo. i'll be waiting on the court.


  23. i think people are a little precious and will easily fly off the rails if they feel they have been done wrong by. that's where the fun gets taken out of game.

    if you think/feel you are going to get injured, protect yourself. buy some pads, masks, padded gloves, etc. dont have a cry when you cop a mallet to the shin blocking a shot.

    i understand that watching an intense game is off putting for some newcomers. but people need to use their heads when playing against less experience players.

    bike polo is a physical sport in my mind. and in physical sports you can get hurt and injured and equipment can get damaged and broken like any other sport.

  24. favourite moment from 2008 ESPI: Alexis watching me jonny and ben play Milwaukee in a particularly brutal physical game, jumping up and down with joy and yelling "this is better than christmas"

  25. I agree with you that Hardcourt has too many rules. We play grass polo here in colorado with only 1 real rule, touch your foot to the ground and just get out of the way for a pedal stroke or two and then play. The grass polo you speak of is the traditional horse polo version. We play British rules for the most part, without all the gear restrictions. You should try it, we havent had a whinny punk in 10 years.