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Tournaments, Regions, Seasons.

Here's a can o' worms for y'all:

Currently we have invitational tournaments. Strictly speaking the invitation is open to anyone who can make it, and the prize is awarded to whomever plays best over the course of that tourney.

Most of these tournaments are labeled as regional; East Side, North Side, Mid West, Etc. This year we see two international tourneys (CMWC and NACCC) that will crown their best-of-the-weekend-of-players with World and North American titles, respectivly.

My issues are thus: 1. I'm kind of a bugger for semantics, and 2. I, like a few others, believe that within a few more years like this one, there will be leagues  and seasons and real championship titles. To that end; we will need to start playing with consistent teams/alternates, keeping track of our records at inter and intra city play, having city and then regional tourneys to qualify for larger, national and international championships. Oh and we should all be playing by the same rules.

Am I alone on this? Will this ruin polo for some people and attract other, more competitive/less cool people to polo? Should we consider eventually making the regional contests exclusively regional? Are we organized enough to consider everyones records with fair-enough scrutiny to seed a real, season ending championship? Is it too soon in our development to be thinking about this?

St Louis is hosting the 5th Mid-West Bike Polo Champeenships this fall. As much as I'd like to see Doug again, I'd feel bad if NYC came but Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Lexington didn't. The Mid-West is still fighting the across the plains drive times to consolidate our conference and meet each other.

 

Chicago Bike Polo 2003-2008

St Louis Bike Polo 2008-now

Retired.

i dont think madison is very interested in a league right now. maybe if we had a larger pool of players ect, but it seems like people would rather play pick up and then put on and go to tournys. i cant say i agree, but ihave a lot of fun doing that. the city invite games are pretty fuckin rad, maybe we need to do more of that untill it feels like the game will progress from a leauge. no need to force it 

i think there is plenty of interests in a league i just have yet to see a format that seems feasible and able to work out well. I would like to see salary caps and a decent amount of random grouping.

A greement on the Salary Cap issue.  We don't want this getting out of hand.

 

 

 

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Just as long as they don't set up doping contols, I don't want to spend all my money on EPO for nothing. 

 

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Moooooo!

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Moooooo!

yeah, why get ahead of ourselves.  everyone's having a good 'ol time at the tournaments I've been to, let's just do what we're doing and let things progress naturally.

what's a salary cap, i need to know.

what's a salary??

 

 

Doug D

Brooklyn, New York

http://www.hardcourtbikepolo.com/

Doug D
Brooklyn, New York
hardcourtbikepolo+gmail+com
hardcourtbikepolo.com

so imagine this,  based on skil playersl are ranked either 1,2, or 3. then any team can have a total of 6 points. then teams can be made with a total of 6 points, or 7 at the most. you get a 1 a 3 a 3 and your at 6, you could make a 2 2 and 2 team. im not advocating this system... yet. but it might be fun to have season, or leauges. or it might suck, i dont know. 

complicated

you would be a 3 kev. or maybe a 2.87

How about: since the Mid-Wests is a one-day thing, the team you bring to the tournamnet plays the other team(s) from your city who are also coming. You tell the organizers those results, and we'll use that info to seed the groups.

 

That way; you get some more competitive practice in with your tourney teams, the groups will maybe be a little more fair (not that I think anyone's done a bad job putting groups together so far), and we can go on not worrying about seasons, records, and regional exclusivity.

 

Chicago Bike Polo 2003-2008

St Louis Bike Polo 2008-now

Retired.

My larger point was: If we're going to (one day) have real, season-ending championships, like most other sports, either the regional contests will have to become exclusive invites to teams in that region, or we'll have to find a way to not count in the season's standings the records of teams from outside a region who went to a regional.

 

So far I don't see a lot of support for such record keeping and official-ness. Which is cool with me, I just thought I'd ask. Since we're all here.

 

Did you know that Teams including Doug D currently hold the Mid-West, East-Side, North-Side, and World titles?

 

Chicago Bike Polo 2003-2008

St Louis Bike Polo 2008-now

Retired.

While I love playing bike polo, and love the camraderie with not only my friends who play here locally, but also among communities such as this, I'd question how serious I would be about keeping records and being a part of the official-ness of it. Even though I try to play twice a week, and enjoy playing hard, it is still more about having a good time on my bike rather than getting deep into the competitiveness of it.

That said, I can totally understand the desire to make the bigger national tournaments more organized, and possibly seeded into skill levels... but to be honest, the thought of getting a chance to play other cities' team, even if it meant getting absolutely spanked in a match, would still be worth it to me in terms of the experience, and meeting new folks who also enjoyed playing bike polo.

{}------- lexington -------{}

I do wonder, if the sport continues to expand like it has, if we'll have to have qualifiers for the big tourneys like the ESPI.  At this rate we won't be able to play enough games in a weekend.

If we keep growing this game at the rate we are then it believe 3-4 day tourneys will be useful sometime in the future.

3...2...1...GO!

 
I'm with you on this one, Lucky. Making the East Side Polo invite exclusive to the "East Side Region" and the North Side to the "North Side" region, etc is a good way to create qualifying rounds for World Championships. My feeling is that The winners of these regional tournaments advance directly to the quarterfinals of a World Championship. All other teams from all regions are welcome to play in the tournament from round 1, and possibly gain a spot in the quarterfinals. They might even knock out a regional champ or two. 

 

Of course, this excludes a lot of people from a lot of tournaments. I freakin' love going to Ottawa. Missing the NSPIs would be a bummer.

 

It's not an ideal setup yet, but I definitely believe you're on the right track.  

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Does not apply at Los Marcos Madness

 

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Does not apply at Los Marcos Melee

and come on, are you going to not let me play at the north side because i happen to live out west?! at this point, the more the merrier. 

Pieter you have a lifetime invitation to Ottawa.

i think that we should keep the bracketed style of tournaments. I think seeding is important for keeping the round robins a little bit more even, other then that i think that longer travel days for tournaments is the solution.

Seeding might have to be done on an honors system. Like "grade your team A, B, or C" level before the tournament. That's how Ottawa did it last year...but it didn't actually work out that well. My team was a "B" team (hands down), but Milwaukkee also put themselves down as a "B" team (there were only A and B fields) and ran rampant over an easy field. 

Another benefit (and a counterargument to my previous statement) to traveling to all of these tournaments is that organizers get a better idea of how different cities' teams play. Before the NYCBBRRAARPWWFROFL, we tried our best to seed teams, but we had no idea Richmond was so damned good. Had they been crappy, it wouldn't have caused any issues. But it turned out that their bad seeding (on my part) led to some complications.  

 

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Does not apply at Los Marcos Madness

 

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Does not apply at Los Marcos Melee

if we put ourselves down as a b team at last years NSPI that was purely because we had once maybe twice played with the small ball style and we had also been using wooden mallets i think we were handicapped enough to be labeled b team at that point....sorry maybe we were a b+....my bad.  no dice nyc...MKE!

more like an a-

- Beaver Boys * Milwaukee Bike Polo Club -

i think finding ways to exclude players is bad. if a player, or team, is from the "wrong region" or of the wrong caliaber, too good or not good enough, and discouraged to play polo you just stunted the growth of this sport. I think tournaments are fun for everyone, not just the top placing teams. we should find ways to make the events more organized in the way of handeling more teams/players. not think of ways to exclude anyone.

maybe shorter game time for earliy rounds. or for 2 day tournys hold the first day at an alt. location with more courts. and the finals day at the prime court. (something NYC may need to do for our next big tourny.
Does not apply at Los Marcos Madness ) or maybe games to three for the first rounds, just to save time for more important games. we could think of more ideas to include everyone.

i like to see less talk about excluding, banning, and DQing.

 

Doug D

Brooklyn, New York

http://www.hardcourtbikepolo.com/

Doug D
Brooklyn, New York
hardcourtbikepolo+gmail+com
hardcourtbikepolo.com

i really agree with doug on this one. I think one thing that tourneys has done is really exclude teams that are not in the top 4 or 8 but are still really good polo players and drove a long distance to play polo as a team. I would like to see the medium level teams get more games in some how, i'm not sure how to accomadate this but it would be really great if we could.

 

jonny

changing up the format was fun for us here in NY. the pre worlds BBQ tourny was 100% round robin, every team played 14 games, + pick ups 

Doug D

Brooklyn, New York

http://www.hardcourtbikepolo.com/

Doug D
Brooklyn, New York
hardcourtbikepolo+gmail+com
hardcourtbikepolo.com

I heartily agree with Doug.  Inclusiveness of new players
and bonding with/playing against folks from other cities is what is
making this game the beautiful thing it is right now.  Doug's and other
folks' suggestions for fitting in enough games comfortably seem like
much better ideas to me than making regional tournaments exclusive. 

"losers" bracket.  teams knocked out in or before quarterfinals play their own mini-tourney for a first-second prize? a way to get the mid-skill-level teams some more play time against folks on the same level.  especially in larger tourneys.

coffee, whiskey, beer. repeat.

that's a great idea

[?]

Yes and Yes. I'm also thinking about how this kind of thinking, which I agree may become quite important in years to come, will affect cities where polo is still really new. We have just as many new people (that is 1-3 months new) as 'experienced' players (we've been around for just over a year now), and if I start trying to rack up points so I can compete in Los Marcos or wherever, it could really affect the local dynamic of my community, which is more important in my mind than any regional qualifying tournament. Anyways, I would never block such an initiative if enough people wanted it to come about, but communities are playing on lots of different levels and I really think that getting more people playing regularly in all cities should be the main priority for all of us right now.

i think we need more tournys, and we all need to go to more tournys. i commit to make it to every tourny that i can get off work for and i can convince my wife that i actually have work. so heres the deal. i now vow to make polo the most important priority in my life second to my kids.

i vow to make bike polo the number one priortity in my life...haha i out did you ben!but if the brewers are in the playoffs i cant make it to los marcos cuz i'll be at Miller park, or glued to a TVno dice nyc...MKE!

even weirder.

Not weird, pieter, these boys come from hearty Midwestern stock.  This kind of dedication is bred into us and then reinforced every time school is canceled for opening day of deer hunting season (annually). 

 i would like to add on to that....

 

uh... i just want to make sure that we all know that the mid-west of the the USA is kinda KNOWN for the their work ethic!

real story... ive relocated to Portland Or.... looking for a job... on craigslist... add said... "looking for that "midwestern work ethinc"...

 

... word. ya heard. 

 

 

Bicycle/cykel/自行車/das Fahrrad/polkupyörä/bicicletta/bicicleta/reiðhjól/fiets/يَرْكَبُ درّاجة هوائ

 
I hope everyone knows that they can suck at polo but still win LOS MARCOS MADNESS. seriously. if los marcos is drunk the whole weekend because you bribed them with beerz or fourmaxxed or whatever that awesome purple shit from Richmond was, you'll get something like 3,000 points just for that.

On a serious note however, I agree and disagree with Doug, as usual. I don't want to have to exclude anyone from traveleing anywhere to play some polo. But if our sport is going to advance to any kind of "serious" level, we have to start thinking about how to establish regionai championships. As long as these decisions are in *our* hands, we're in a good place. I am *not* offering a solution to this question right now, but I'm only supporting the eventual idea of exclusive regional championships. It will take time for us to figure out how to delineate the regions based on skill level and financial culpability. And for better or for worse, if Redbull* decides to throw a $XX,XXX towards us to throw an epic tournament, I'd rather every decision be in our hands than theirs. That's why I'm happy this forum is here. 

*or whoever **

** or whoever decides to accept that sponsorship***

***it's gonna happen.  

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Does not apply at Los Marcos Madness

 

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Does not apply at Los Marcos Melee

Correct. My position was not that the regionals should become exclusive cos I don't want coasters in the mid-west. It was that if we are building towards a season-ending championship, that regionals would have to include more local teams and exclude the few outside of region teams who would otherwise show up.

If there were regional play-offs, as it were, you could have a one or two day championship start with a limited number of teams. Fewer participants and a higher level of competition would be easier to organize (see #3). I don't know about flying into a city just to watch polo, though. (Assuming I'm not in the final 8, or whatever) 

1. If anything I want to see the regional tourneys become more important locally. With more and more crews forming, these will be the first contests they are likely to come to. This will help establish them in the larger community and excite them about even bigger tourneys in the future.

2. I pledge to go to no more than 4 polo tournaments a year, but to get to as many friendlies with other mid-western cities as I can. Traveling is expensive, if we were sponsored it would help, but I'm not going to risk my relationship with my employer so I can get to a tournament.

3. The bigger/longer the tournament you want to play in or host, the more expensive and logistically challenging it would become. Thousands of dollars are being thrown at a 2-day NACCC for park fees and insurance. You could not show up at the same court or courts for 3-4 days running and not be legit this way. As much as I'd like to have a week of polo fun with people from around the world, no club I know of is in a position to host such an event, and I am not in a position (financially) to attend one.

 

Chicago Bike Polo 2003-2008

St Louis Bike Polo 2008-now

Retired.

we could do it

so could ottawa, lucky you need to get out more.

yeah, big tournaments are not a problem, especially in canada.  ottawa re-paved the court for the last nspi.   and in vancouver we can run two courts all day for four days in multiple places. four courts are a little harder to come by but i've thought about it.  the thing is that the location is sometimes more important than the courts themselves.  our main courts are right in the middle of a lively international district, just like new york's.  who wants four courts in the middle of nowhere where no one but polo players watch when you can have one or two awesome courts that the community at large stumbles upon. soon i think people will find that it is far easier to run tourneys with less money from the players in fees.  tournaments do not need budgets in the tens of thousands and those sorts of minor sponsorships will become easier to come by for a polo-only event. we've been running pabst-sponsored polo weekends on the west coast for years. so lucky, get up here to canada and check it out. 

we ran the last midwests on about a budget of about $20 per player, including two meals, tons of beer, and pretty decent prizes from cool businesses. and i think it would have been easily scaleable another three or four times over without running into many problems.

course insurance is a bitch and unavoidable in certain situations and multiple court access is definitely harder in big cities. 

I tried that. I spent 10 days in/around Vancouver in November of '04 with my immigration papers and fees in my messenger bag. I found out that I would earn less and spend more with the work I do and the life I lead. Also, Canadians are watching America all the time, and with more scrutiny than most Americans. At least from this side of the border I can protest and vote.

 

But anyway: Yeah, the 2nd Mid Wests (in Chicago) actually turned a profit with 11 teams giving 15 bux per. But we had to move the courts in the middle of the day because we couldn't reserve the park space we were on.

I would think that if you wanted a 3-4 day international championship, you would want it to be a pretty big deal with big prizes, insurance, PA/music, great courts, etc. That is some champaign taste-type-stuff. Can't do it on a beer budget. 

 

Chicago Bike Polo 2003-2008

St Louis Bike Polo 2008-now

Retired.

Lucky, the whole world watches the United States with more scrutiny than most Americans. I still get to vote, although this time I think I'll just soil my ballet. Have fun with the next 4 years.

yeah, it always shocks people that universal healthcare and good schools and clean streets actually cost money.  vancouver is also the most expensive city in canada by a good margin, but the jobs and opportunities available rival the expenses.  you'll be back, ten days do not an immigration make. of course these champagne things can be done on a beer budget.  you just need sponsors. 

 champagne budget beer taste! no dice nyc...MKE!

Nah, I factored the taxes/benefits stuff into my calculations. The wages for my trade in Van were low, and the living expenses there are high. The attention paid to American politics without being able to affect them was a revelation for me. But what really made the decision was that I just didn't get that feeling from the city that I like. I'm a brick and filth rust-belt boy. 

It is amazing that a country with twice the land and 1/10 the population can have such neat and well cared for national and city parks.

Chicago Bike Polo 2003-2008

St Louis Bike Polo 2008-now

Retired.

Goddamn near impossible to affect american politics if you're an american too. 

I'm not against a regional system leading to a national/continental/world championship, but I really think holding more non-championship-based tournaments will be key getting the B and C teams excited to play, practice, and improve. I'm not one to talk, because I won't make it to any tourneys outside of my 1.5 hour radius this year, but I think events that aren't championship-oriented, but still draw a big crowd from all around are important to the growth of the sport.

The NSPI this year will combine the fun of a round robin tourney with a dash of the thrilling "playoff" games. The tournament will be 95% round robin meaning each team will play a lot of games and no one will go home having only played one or two games Sunday. That's always a bummer especially if you drove 8+ hours to get there. At the end of Sunday there will be a 4 team playoff. Say the top 2 teams from each group, or the top 4 teams in total. Semifinals will be played with 2 ten minute halves. Teams switch ends at half time and the most goals scored wins. The final will be likewise but with 2 fifteen minute halves. Hopefully this will please you guys.

3...2...1...GO!

Also, fingers crossed, a hardest shot competition complete with radar gun

would be nice to have 8 teams in the playoffs, better chance for an upset and allows for some correction to getting stuck in a loaded group.

 i love the idea of having more games and more round robins.

 

jonny

I agree, depending on time and number of teams. If time allows, 4 teams on each side would be awesome. Also, losers of the first round could play for 5th-8th, losers of the second round could play for 3rd and 4th. Those games could all be the normal 10 minute games, to keep things on the faster side of things...

How many teams are you expecting at NSPI this year Alexis/Brian/Ange?

slapdick bike polo - washington dc

I will take all your suggestions into considerations. Time will be the ultimate factor in deciding how this shakes out. I will however make sure that every team plays A LOT of games both Saturday AND Sunday AAAAND that everyone has a shit load of fun. Any player found to be not having fun will be kindly asked to leave, and un-invited for next year.

Ryan: we are hoping to top last years turnout of 20 or so teams. If the same crew makes it here again plus teams from Richmond, Boston, Washington and Madison? (not present last year) we could be looking at around 30 teams

3...2...1...GO!

Oh damnit. I hope you don't think I'm unfun... I know I probably can't compare to the amount of fun Richmond is going to bring with their drunken shenanigans.

I'd say expect 1 or 2 teams from DC. I already contacted Brian about housing, I'll try and find out if any other teams are heading up for sure.

slapdick bike polo - washington dc

madison is coming for sure. Just one team carpooling with milwaukee,

 jonny

also, can you guys please bracket the madison with at least two teams from ottawa, i have yet to play a game against you guys.

 also, i'm coming with jill and leif, dropping the dead weight.

I dont think mke has lost to ottawa yet... so can we play in that bracket too?

no dice nyc...MKE!

 

 that is a great team. 

i had a blast... full of great passing.

 say hi to jill for me please!

Bicycle/cykel/自行車/das Fahrrad/polkupyörä/bicicletta/bicicleta/reiðhjól/fiets/يَرْكَبُ درّاجة هوائ

Anything for you Jonny 

3...2...1...GO!

will english dave get naked and leg wrestle milwaukee again? or at least mc the touney? that was one of the best things last year.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/messenger13/1335067135/in/photostream/

- Beaver Boys * Milwaukee Bike Polo Club -

we are in contract negotiations with Dave's agent. Something about a wardrobe budget.