Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bike polo

Today I came upon some pick-up bike polo matches occurring at the tennis court across the street from where I was getting ice cream. It is kind of like roller hockey on bikes: players have sticks with which they handle the ball*. It looks like a technically interesting (and potentially dangerous) sport. I would compare it more to fencing than to something like ice hockey: it seems like technique is much more important than level of physical fitness. It was the first time I had ever seen or heard of such a thing!

According to the US Bicycle Polo Association, the sport is thought to have originated in India, where British troops used bikes to work on their equestrian polo skills. It is also apparently growing in popularity throughout the US and world. :) The NY Times also has a 2007 article about bike polo.

* According to internet sources the stick is supposed to be a mallet, but the players I saw had lightweight metal sticks with thin hollow cylinders at one end. (A really interesting thing was they shuffled teams by putting all n sticks in the middle of the court and randomly throwing n/2 to each goal.)

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