Gee, what a surprise, Ranga has some grazes on his elbows. You all know how keen I am on polo, and seeing as last weekend was the Throw Up tournament, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon (thanks antmandan!) to work out that I probably spent more time on the ground than I did in the saddle.
And the damage to my body doesn't stop at my elbow. It also extends to my ankle, my shins, my knees, and my shoulder. And that doesn't include the massive bruising I have on my hip, my left elbow which is painfully stiff, or my right wrist which cringes at each strike of this keyboard. So I definitely haven't learned to keep rubber side down...
(thanks Root Beer for the concern!)
So how was the weekend? I am very biased, but let me say it was unbelievably fantastic! Everyone got to play with and against everyone else, and the weather gave us two distinctly different game days. Saturday was wet, and considerably slippery, which forced players to slow down, concentrate and plan their play (lots of passing was in order). Sunday on the other hand was dry as a bone yet windy. Play sped up, shots at goal were faster/harder/better/stronger, individual play became more apparent, and crashes were more spectacular, (and yes, this was when I lost a lot of skin).
The problem with typical polo tournaments is the concept of teams. Normally you play in a dedicated team of three, which makes it hard for most interstate people if they don't have their own team. Throw Up! however took the concept of teams and threw it right out the window. Each game had a unique line up; players were randomly sorted into two teams of three and then play began. If your team wins, each individual gains a point. Draw? Half a point. You lose, you get nothing. Game over, shuffle the mallets again and randomly select the next game and teams.
What does this mean? Well, for starters you don't need a dedicated team. You also don't need to be the best player as chances are there will be some better players on your team who can help you out, and provide tips. It also means you will be both playing with everyone else, as well as against everyone else. People are progressively your friends and your foe. You learn how others play, discover ways to complement their skills, and then when you verse them from the other side of the court, discover how to beat them. This tournament set up is definitely the best way to learn new skills and techniques, especially as we had a handful of interstate players.
While on the topic of interstaters, a big thanks must go to all of them for making the trip up! Cheers to the players from Sydney, Melbourne, New Zealand, Canada, and the States (I hope I am not forgetting anyone!) And it certainly paid to be an interstater, as the winning team was made completely up of non-Brisbanites. Congratulations to Damon (Melbourne), Lewis (Sydney), and Root Beer (USA) for winning the grand final! They managed to pull in a cash prize of over $150 each. Damon also managed to score himself a Papermunky, while GEAR Brisbane threw in a pile of T-shirts to the top two teams, DFL, best newbie, and something else which I can't remember!
All in all, it was a weekend of fun yet intense bike polo. We even managed to fit in a Vegan Vs. Meat Eater game, complete with a lot of trash talk... "cement with your tofu?" or "do it for the chickens!". A big thank you needs to go out to Gypsy and Lewis for organising the event, the sponsors, as well as all the interstate people for making the trip up to Brisbane! A big shout out also goes to Gavin Bannerman who runs the blog Biking Brisbane. He came along to join in the fun and shot a considerable amount of photos and video. You can check out his Flickr upload here!
So, I am stiff and sore, limping slightly, and can no longer sleep on my right hand side. Would I change this? Hell no! The weekend was an amazing success, and I absolutely cannot wait for the next Throw Up! series.