50 Shades of Ruben and The Lightest Mallet in History
Posted on December 6th, 2013 at 12:20 am by polonick
HOLY SH*%#TT!!! This is lightest mallet we have ever held! Ruben insists it is still in prototype mode, but we like where its headed.
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HOLY SHIT – Assassins vs Beavers WHBPC13
Posted on December 5th, 2013 at 3:50 pm by polonick
Assassins vs Beavers.
This is how bike polo is meant to be played. Hard-nosed, tough, physical and fast polo.
I can’t figure out how to embed the video into this post, so here’s the link: http://mrdovideo.com/2013/12/beavers-assassins/ ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Here’s what I was watching for:
Look at that sunset! Watching Koyo on the ball is like watching an American Bald Eagle poach a salmon out of the Mississippi River.
Ball handling. Koyo is a master at keeping the ball where only he can control it, specifically when he has a lot of momentum. I don’t think I saw him turn the ball over once. Do you know how incredible that is, to play the World Champions and never lose the ball? Teams that control the ball dictate the pace of the game. The Assassins play fast, take hard quick shots, and take a lot of calculated risks playing goal. This works out for them because they are positionally perfect; they don’t get caught behind the net or get beat at halfcourt. And to the Beavers credit, they are not dumb. They play tight, tenacious defense with a relatively soft forecheck and wait for the Assassins to shoot, taking advantage of the Assassins mistakes and creep into the offensive zone. That’s where they excel, pressuring the ball into the net.
LOL u r lookin the wrong way dood
Picks and setting up plays. The Beavers do it better than anyone. Whenever a Beaver feels pressure from any of the Assassins, they drop the ball to the last man back and pick that attacker off the ball. That’s phenomenally unselfish teamwork. Mediocre players want to streak down the court and force a shot into a wheelcover every time, but that’s not a great way to score goals. Great players are often patient and calm, waiting for a shot to present itself after the defense breaks down. That’s what happens at 2:55, Dillman slowly snakes his way into Assassins territory, draws Lefty Joe out of the goal with a deke, and shoves a limp dick goal into the net. It’s not very entertaining, but you can’t deny that it’s effective.
If Nick Kruse falls down in the forest and there’s no one there to make fun of him, did it really happen?
Bike handling. This is less important than controlling the ball or setting up picks, but holy shit these kids are great on their bikes. Obviously when you dab, you’re of no use to anyone on the court. This game displays a lot of smart hopping by both teams. Staying upright and turning towards the middle of the court is your best bet for creating or disrupting opportunities on the ball. My favorite example comes at 4:50, where Koyo takes an errant rip at the net and the rebound bounces out to the top of center court. Koyo is totally out of position, but he still uses his momentum to pivot turn on his front wheel and maintain possession of the ball. He then curves around down the left wall and takes a perfect backhand shot, resulting in a goal for the Assassins. Poetry in motion.
Thanks to Mr. Do for posting these incredible games on the internet and giving me something to do for an hour. I can only hope that some Boston players get on the internet so I can make fun of them, too. -ZS
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The Art of Losing Gracefully
Posted on December 2nd, 2013 at 5:43 pm by polonick
If you have played bike polo in your lifetime, you have been a loser.
If you continue to play bike polo, you will definitely lose again.
Losing sucks. It’s probably the second most shitty thing that can happen while playing polo, after breaking your scaphoid. There are only four different outcomes from a game of polo: your team wins, your team loses, both teams tie, or the game ends prematurely because someone broke his scaphoid. There are so many emotions that we have to deal with as players, and not to get all psychiatric or anything, but having the emotional maturity to deal with a tough loss is SUPER important when dealing with angry drunk bikers holding long aluminum sticks.
I’ve recently changed my perspective about losing (or as I like to call it, “not winning”), and while the pain of losing still stings like a nest of wasps, I am much more gracious than I used to be. I used to throw mallets and mean mug my friends and yell and scream like a little bitch. It was embarrassing in the purest sense of the word; embarrassing for my teammates, embarrassing for my club, and most of all embarrassing for me. I’m not proud of it, but I am man enough to admit that I can be a sore loser.
When you lose, don’t be this guy.
The change I made is specific to the way I relate to the game in my head. I make a very conscious effort to remind myself that I have to be friends with everyone I played with when I get off the court. On the court, this means that I can’t make fun of my opponents stupid shirt, no matter how fucking stupid it is. I can’t cheat or be a dick or be unsportsmanlike, it is unbecoming of a newly elected NAH Eastside Representative. Most importantly, I can’t avoid tapping mallets and saying “good game” to the guys who beat me, and I definitely can’t avoid acknowledging the effort made by the guys on my team.
I am genuinely happy for anyone that scores a sick goal on me. Seriously! It fuels my fire. It makes me want to get better at defending shots, it shows me what I should do to prevent it from happening again, and it gives me and my team a chance to adjust and figure out what we can do to thrash the other team for the rest of the game. But no matter what happens with regards to the score, the tournament seeding, or the bracket standings, I will say that you did a great job and congratulate you on a good game.
I can only try to improve myself and my game. I can’t control the people around me. I want to win just as much as the other team, and while a loss is disappointing, it isn’t the end of the world. There will be other games, other tournaments, other players and other teams. As long as we keep playing bike polo, there will always be winners and losers. And in a way, none of us ever really win, we just do a little better each time. -ZS
This guy is a huge loser, but for a slightly different reason. Maybe it’s his denim jacket & jeans combo. Maybe it’s his extra long fu manchu. But it’s probably just his dual-dildo sideways bike.
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50 Shades of Zip Ties
Posted on November 28th, 2013 at 12:26 pm by polonick
If you consider yourself a polo player, you have zip ties on you at ALL TIMES. They can literally save your life. However, most people haven’t discovered the most single important service a zip tie can offer. In this episode of 50 Shades of Ruben, Ruben demonstrates this “polo hack” guaranteed to bring joy to your game. You can thank us later.
utilitarianism is a beautiful thing
I guarantee you won’t feel better after using a zip tie
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Let There Be Lights! (on our court plz)
Posted on November 27th, 2013 at 5:10 am by polonick
Those lights in the background are only powered from April through October
What the hell are we supposed to do during the winter without lights? The sun sets at 4pm and we’re stuck without usable daylight for polo. Boston Bike Polo is truly blessed to have such a fantastic court— four foot boards, chain link fence, fully pro nets, and the city lights the court until 10:45pm on weeknights from April to late October. However, when November rolls around, we bring up the same argument every year: do we play in the dark at our usual spot and increase the chances of injury and potentially get worse at playing the sport? or do we seek out a new lit playing surface, even though a basketball court wouldn’t have the things we’ve become accustomed to (i.e. boards, fences, nets, etc.)? or do we try to find a new way to light our current court within our budget of zero dollars?
In my admittedly limited travels through polo-playing cities I’ve seen how some other clubs deal with the cold and the dark. Charleston, SC has a covered space in a bus station that is lit well into the night, impervious to the rain and snow, but they don’t have the boards that allow you to check someone properly. New York City uses a basketball court in Brooklyn, far away from the famous Pit, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is the most slippery court I’ve ever eaten shit upon. In Boston, we just play in the dark under a flickering street light until someone gets hurt. It’s super dumb.
There are certain advantages to our famous Allston court; the city leaves us alone completely, so we can do all the fun semi-legal activities that make polo worth playing, and it’s just barely off-center geographically in Boston, so the kids from Somerville, Cambridge, and Jamaica Plain are approximately equidistant from the court. Even Javier, who lives eight miles away in the burbs with his wife and kids, only takes half an hour to drive to polo.
See? Our photos aren’t even in focus because they aren’t lit properly!
Playing in the dark makes us worse at polo. Everyone chases the ball, people play with their head down, and shots are almost completely invisible. Yes, we would be making a sacrifice. Maybe we wouldn’t be able to shotgun PBRs in public anymore, but we could get more kids on polo bikes, which means more nights of polo to accommodate them.
Tyler and I have been suggesting to our club that we find a different, fully lit court even closer to the center of the city to increase our street appeal and get new kids interested in the sport. Even if we have to play on a tennis court with cones and check each other into a chain link fence, that’s better than potentially taking a mallet to the face in the dark. It would help our close-quarters game as well: handling the ball, short finesse passes, and pivot turns.
If someone has a suggestion, please let me know, because I am not satisfied playing decent polo only one day a week. I need more. After 7 winters in Boston, I am impervious to cold, but I just need someone to shine a light on this issue. Pun intended. -ZS
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Commonwealth Classic 2014: Dizzy Bat, Fireworks, and Bulged Nets
Posted on November 26th, 2013 at 5:45 am by polonick
The weekend after Worlds, October 26-27, 14 teams descended on Boston for the 3rd annual Commonwealth Classic. We witnessed the future of bike polo – dizzy bat, watched Nico reverse enter a hammock on a fence (wtf. still don’t understand), and took heckling to the next level by adding some firecrackers behind those insults.
Photo Cred: Gus Hoiland
Photo Credit: Gus Hoiland
We kicked off the tournament Boston style – with bloody mary’s – and played some brisk fall polo during 5 rounds of swiss play on Saturday. Despite some
complaining constructive feedback about how to deal with shuffle teams in the swiss rounds, Saturday ended with some beautiful displays of purple smoke-bombs and firecrackers on the court.
Saturday night while drinking some beer and watching some hockey, some New York dudes began to tell us some mystical tales of ‘dizzy bat.’ ‘It will save bike polo,’ they said, and although they tried to explain it to us, it wasn’t until double elims on Sunday that we saw it with our own eyes.
Thanks Zac, for this instragram magic.
Photo Cred: Gus Hoiland
Photo Cred: Gus Hoiland
Action stepped up another level on Sunday afternoon as Boston Pro Squad (Addison, Robby, Johan) went into golden goal OT versus Something Offensive (Kruse, Blackburn, Mumford), with Something Offensive going on to win the winners bracket. Something Offensive went into a double final versus Bulging Net (Hamersly, Norris, Toni), losing twice to a team they beat in the winner’s bracket. However, the most exciting part of the finals was the sanctioned firework throwing (and I mean, legit fireworks exploding into shapes in the sky, not just some firecracker kid shit). Nothing lights a game on fire, like literal fire and gun powder on the court.
Photo Cred: Gus Hoiland
Photo Cred: decog
Thus, by some bullshit of Toni bringing in out of town ringers, the Commonwealth Cup stays in Boston. Toni is currently letting his cats fondle the cup, and then doing what he does best – creating instagram masterpieces.
Next year the cup will stay in Boston with a full Boston team. COUNT IT.
Huge shout out to our sponsors – thanks for your support! And thanks for the photos Gus!
- John Harvard Brewery
Vitacoco for the win!
Thanks for the swag Sram! Photo cred: Alan
I don’t know what Addison is doing in this picture. But he’s going it with some free Sram swag on. And camo leggings.
(also Vitacoco, you should know, that vitacoco+flat beer+whiskey = not as gross as you’d think. Thanks for the recipe, Deco.)
See y’all for Commonwealth Classic 2014 – fireworks guaranteed!
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Bike Check: Tyler Paul Farris
Posted on November 24th, 2013 at 6:34 pm by polonick
It was a cold, blustery day in Lower Allston on Sunday, but we managed to get in a few games of polo before our toes and fingers started to go numb. During a particularly physical game, the unthinkable happened: Tyler Paul Farris’s (Instagram: @420cat) Peruvian-made Marino fork snapped at the steerer tube, precisely over the crown.
sorry about your bike, bro
Obviously Tyler wasn’t happy. “I guess this is what that creaking sound was. I heard it a lot while we were playing.”
We had been talking just yesterday about how reliable the fork appeared to be, and I was seriously considering buying one of these Marino forks myself. I think now I might go with a different company.
He looks so beefy in that jacket, like he broke the damn thing himself with his bare hands.
I think Tyler got his money’s worth, as the fork only cost $80. Shout out to Shelley Smith of NYC for the pro tip; for anyone considering buying a new fork for their polo bike, stay away from Marino.
what a piece of shit!
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The Polo Injury and the Happy Life
Posted on November 24th, 2013 at 12:03 pm by polonick
When my left scaphoid, the bone supporting the thumb, broke, I did not know it. Felt like a sprain. I would have just hopped on my bike and kept playing but my stem was twisted 90* so I took a sub, and went to go fix my bike and finish my beer. I played a few more games that afternoon in early August. It was six weeks before I would go see the doc. Displaced fracture. Bone graft and a titanium screw. 12+ weeks in a cast. FML.
The game must go on
In my 6 years of playing polo I’ve had my share of nasty bruises and cuts. Especially in the first few years I excelled at crashing my bike for no reason. But I somehow always was able to limp off the court with only surface wounds.
I remember a dude who showed up for the first time to play pickup a few years ago. He’d heard about us online and was stoked to play. Even had slightly modified his commuter rig to play. Couple games in he has a bad crash. Fucks up his shoulder super bad. Like can’t move his arm. Someone gave him a ride to the hospital. That was it. Never saw him again. Polo career lasted one afternoon.
I wonder if I had broken my scaphoid 6 years ago, that first time I played, what I would have missed out on. Or was I already hooked? We all know players who have bowed out of the game after injury.
Threads – in your hand!
Which kind of leads to the whole question of why we play a pretty dangerous game just for fun. Or better yet how does the danger make it fun? Ask any polo player about injuries and watch them relish describing taking a handlebar to the nuts at high speed while dishing off a pass for a one timer. “Bike polo is my abusive boyfriend”. The fight club warrior mentality which is hilarious in the context of bike nerd stoners. I dunno. I’m just worried about everyone’s scaphoids.
Watch the crashing montage in this vid starting at 1:20 and tell me you aren’t worried about their scaphoids.
My problem is that even having gone through this shitty injury, I still can’t really entertain the idea of quitting polo, even though I’m if anything more likely to get hurt again. I’m older. Fuck, I have kids and responsibilities now. Hockey on bikes + Broken bones= WTF.
Damnnn kid, is that titanium!
Thank god my wife at least gets it. Bulging nets on Sunday with buddies. A beverage or two with company in the great outdoors. A new thing that feels ancient even as we codify it. That in my polo dreams there are no bikes and we are just hovering midair. Gym class. Stretching my legs. So simple.
For her sake I’ll try to be smart and take it easy for a while. And I will.
But I know and you know that in a few months my hand will feel better, and I’ll be back into it. Going fast, feeling pressure from defenders, and I’ll have to take myself to the edge of my control, more worried about scoring than falling. To put a rubber ball in a net. Hah.
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Lexington, KY: Midwest Open 4 Sure
Posted on November 22nd, 2013 at 8:54 pm by polonick
I had a few “holy shit!” moments this weekend. It was never, “holy shit! I’m going to die!” or “holy shit! there’s Obama, where’s my healthcare!” It was more along the lines of, “holy shit! I’m on the road to Lexington, KY and I’m going to poop my pants with excitement!”
That’s a dank wheelcover, kid. (photo: @thekaylastory)
I had never been to Kentucky and I was jazzed to get down there. I had heard legends of bourbon-fueled chaos and hardcore polo in Lexington, as the city is clearly the lynchpin that keeps the Eastside and Midwest polo regions together. It goes without saying I was super stoked for the games, the bourbon, and to see all the kids that are as addicted to polo as I am. In the weeks preceding the tournament I had been hearing rumors of brand new fully-lit courts and boards provided by the Lexington Parks Department, which was as baffling as it was tantalizing. Somehow these Lex kids tricked the city into cooperating with them, and I was going to reap the benefits of a fully torqued weekend of high-octane polo.
***I wrote a couple paragraphs about our road trip down to Kentucky, which was eventful but irrelevant. Skip down to the end if you want to read about it ;’) ***
Check out these courts, they were so fucking nice! (photo: @willisvandamage)
Anyway, back to the polo. Pickup on Friday night was fantastic. I really can’t stress how awesome the new courts and boards are. The surface was incredibly grippy— almost no one slid out and the boards were wicked live, so all the rebounds bounced deep back into the crease. As more friends arrived, it turned into a PBR-crushing party until the lights went out. Afterwards we hit Al’s, the local dive bar, where I drank local beers until I couldn’t see straight and then I passed out on a futon in Irishtown, a small ghetto on the other side of Lexington. I woke up at 8am in a room full of new friends. I blasted What’s New Pussycat? at full volume for several repeats until everyone was awake enough to tuck away their morning erections. Chris Simpson “cooked” a shitty piece of steak and destroyed a fried egg for me, so I was ready to get on the court and smack some balls.
This dude thinks he can match my American flag hat game, but everyone I asked said my hat has much more character ;’) (photo: @bearcat2004)
Swiss rounds were awesome, as the morning bracket was full of really impressive talent. My favorite team to watch was Fuck’n Fat Chance, made up of Charlie Sprinkle and Daniel Sebring (Instagram: @sprinkskinks and @rimgrippers, respectively) and they had a great showing. I didn’t get to meet every player on every team, but of the kids I remember, The Grins (Jessi with Nick McLean) and the Green Beards (Hamersly and Nate) were clearly winners bracket contenders. We’re Just Partyin’ (Chris Simpson and Nic Maglio) knocked me around like a pinball on the court, and The Significant Otters (John Hayes and Nic Savage) were some of the most fun opponents I’ve faced in recent memory. The weather was beautiful and spirits were high. No one cried, everyone got laid, and the Spice Girls showed up and made out with everyone– it was crazy, you should have been there.
Later on, everyone ended up at Sidecar, a shitty bar physically attached to Al’s, and we all got shitfaced on $2 PBRs, $3 bud lite lime-a-ritas, and had a crazy karaoke sing-along. Nico Paris (@robo_nico) screamed Bohemian Rhapsody into my face, including the guitar solos, and everyone in the room felt his/her junk wiggle when a kid named AJ sang Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye. I considered breaking out my favorite R. Kelly songs, but in a very uncharacteristic move on my part I chickened out like a little bitch and slinked back to my futon in Irishtown to watch VHS tapes, most memorably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze.
The rain didn’t stop anyone from playing polo, the courts were too nice and we were having too much fun to care. (photo: @c0motimd)
The fun stopped temporarily on Sunday when it started to rain. There were tornado warnings screeching and the skies opened up and poured out like God’s vagina, so we all knew some serious shit was about to go down. Everyone got soaked, and not in a fun way. I didn’t pack at all for the rain and I was freezing my shaft off all morning. The games were too infrequent to keep my blood pumping so I hid out in the nearby rec center with the hot coffee. I got several cups and some dank maple bacon doughnuts with Kiki of Toronto (@kikiknots) from the local bakery / coffee roasters, North Lime coffee shop across the street from Al’s. The doughnuts were so dank that I felt the need to put it in writing; thinking about those doughnuts makes my peen swell. After my team was eliminated I reffed and timed a bunch of games, reminding everyone that we still had to be friends after this tournament’s winner was decided. It got chippy on the court, but it never got out of hand. You’re welcome, Lexington.
Her face says it all. Wicked dank doughnuts. (photo: @bearcat2004)
Unfortunately, we all know how this story ends: two Lexington-led teams ended up in the final match. The Grins forced a double final, and Drew of The Green Beards let in a heartbreaking own-goal in the second final game, forcing an overtime re-joust for a golden goal. The tournament ended when Nick McLean ripped a perfect shot, bulging the net, costing Nate’s team the trophy, the glory, and the fame (for the second time in three weeks). Everyone was very gracious, no one acted like a dick, and we made a solemn promise never to forget the events that transpired this weekend. It was very special.
I don’t mean to get all sentimental but I just don’t know how else to sum up this trip. Personally, I felt like I connected with a bunch of people that I didn’t give a fair chance in the past. And that’s really what I love about bike polo; I feel like we’re all constantly growing up and balancing out. This sport has forced me to become more understanding of myself and more in tune with others. I can more effectively balance out my aggression and passion, and I can see what connects my friends to each other and to their friends in other clubs. Ok, now that all that mushy bullshit is out of my system, I’m going to go to pickup and knock some rookies off their bikes. See you next time, Lexington! -ZS
THESE ARE THE MISSING PARAGRAPHS ABOUT MY ROAD TRIP DOWN TO KY
This is obviously super illegal but how else were we supposed to get back on the road? CSDees is a hero. (photo: @bearcat2004)
***At 11:30pm on a Thursday, Colin Scott Dees (@CSDEES) picked me up in his ancient 1990 Audi and we hauled ass out of Boston. As a newly appointed NAH Eastside Rep, I was exhausted from my responsibilities so I fell asleep pretty much instantly. After a few wrong turns in New Jersey, we made it to Crown Heights in Brooklyn around 4am where we bodysnatched Nate Mumford (@nate_mumford) and all his gear. So now that all three of us were in the same car, we kicked off our bro-road-trip towards Kentucky. We were the only three Northerners heading to Lexington for this tournament and that was about all that we had in common. It was nice to pick their brains about how their clubs work, how they approach the game, and what they look for in teammates. However, as soon they started talking about cyclocross I fell the fuck asleep and drooled all over myself, because that shit is boring.
Aww, he sleeps sitting up and pees sitting down. (photo: @bearcat2004)
Now I am not a religious man, but I thank God for troopers like Colin. This dude drove 18 straight hours all the way from Boston to Lexington, stopping only a few times to roll a splif and eat a banana. I was astonished that he didn’t ask me or Nate for any help with the driving at all, and believe me, we offered. To be fair, his shitty old car was full of quirks— our phones kept dying as there was no place to stick in a phone charger, and we ran out of gas on the goddamn highway because of a faulty gas gauge. But Colin took full responsibility: he assembled one of the bikes in the trunk, rode the wrong way down the highway for a mile to the nearest gas station, and filled an emptied gallon jug water bottle with enough fuel to get us back on the road. He’s a peach, and I wish him nothing but happiness and wealth for the rest of his days. Also I hope he gets a better car.***
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50 Shades of Ruben and a Killer Rack!
Posted on November 21st, 2013 at 1:55 am by polonick
Flash back to April fools. On April 1, 2013, this porteur arrived fresh off of the streets of downtown Boston. “Don’t worry it comes off.” -Ruben
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