Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bike Polo

For me the highlight of the weekend was a truly epic bike polo finals event that included both the prerequisite drama/intrique/blood but added some mild hypothermia along with more profanity to the mix. (Quick explanation of bike polo: three person teams, semifinals/finals were untimed with teams playing to a preset goal limit that was raised for the finals, goals are scored by hitting the ball through your opponents' cones, contact is generally discouraged/illegal but at times is unavoidable, players cannot touch the ground with a foot and remain in play without first touching the center line.) Like the main race, qualifying for the finals bracket was held on Saturday and as one might imagine consisted of teams playing multiple games with the more successful teams advancing to play the next day. Long story short: four courts, lots of games, cheers, tears, some busted up bikes, teams advance, teams go home/to the "bar", and then the semi's roll around. The first match was between NYC's Trackstar team and a Madison, Wisc. team. The court was slick from the rain that was a constant at that point in the day and play was chippy. NYC took an early lead while play was still fairly open but Madison rallied back with some timely scoring as the game became more settled in the half court. Cheering was decidedly split between a rowdy contigent of NYC backers and the equally vocal Wisco kids. {Sidenote: if awards were given to spectators the Wisco kids would take home some sort on hardware for the bunker they built by propping plywood between a fence and bleachers. It was pretty impressive for an improv structure with found materials, plus it kept me pretty dry and warm, so thanks for that. If any one has a picture of the structure I would appreciate it if you could send it on to me.) The NYC/Madison game was suspended briefly after one of the players on the Madison caught an errant elbow that opened a nasty gash below his left eye. Rugged. Play would resume after tempers cooled a bit and NYC would end up carrying the match but for sheer entertainment value, I believe this match outdid the final. While the NYC/Madison match was on hiatus the second semi-final match was played between Milwaukee and East Vancouver. This match ended up being a slightly more civil affair but with high quality play from both sides. It seemed that Milwaukee benefitted when the game opened up but eventually E.Van were able to exert their will, settle the game down, and capture a finals berth. Most of the rain had abated by the time the finals rolled around but daylight was in short supply. The two teams traded periods of dominant play, with NYC jumping out quickly only to have E. Van battle back and so on and so forth with NYC eventually emerging as your inaugural champs. Also a pretty nice little youtube clip of these fine young Luchadors pilfered from John Prolly's blog

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