In his third post chronicling his experiences in entering the world of bike polo, Matt looks back on our first tournament as an Association, and the work that went into making it happen.
Everyday We’re Shuffling.
The first month of Glasgow Hardcourt Bike Polo Association’s official existence was busy. We were already planning our first event and it would take hard work from everyone to keep us on track. Alongside other projects, ideas and targets, our main priority was our tournament, the Christmas Shuffle; our way of letting the world know who we were. We envisioned a full day of polo, with players coming from other cities, but also giving the general public a chance to find out what Bike Polo is and have a go.
Over the next few weeks while our Publicity Officer spread the word through social networks and bikes shops alike, we spread the word via video trailers, posters, spoke cards, and leaflets. Everyone jumped on board to try and make it work, and if we were going to convince folk to come out on their bikes for a full day in December (in Scotland!) we were going to need as much help as possible. Then as we got closer to the day, we contacted a number of companies inviting them to get involved. Much to our glee we ended up with a handful of eager sponsors for the event who all donated some great prizes for the tournament and snacks for the day. It was all going smoothly.
Then, just days before the event, the UK decided to go all ice age on us.
Ice Ice Baby.
Literally overnight our court became an ice rink; the repeated melting and freezing of the slush meant we had to cancel our usual weekly sessions in favour of buying masses of salt and chipping away through inches of solid ice. We salted and swept the court a number of times over the next few days and just prayed that the weather would improve just for the day. It did.
We arrived at the court at 7am and began setting up, which took longer than expected due to the fact there was no rain through the night to wash away the grit salt, but we weren’t about to complain about the weather now. Despite us all having to get up early (on a Saturday!) spirits were high and the seemingly endless supply of goodies generously donated by Tunnock’s kept us content until people started to show up.
It went very smoothly, we had players from Edinburgh and Manchester turn up and a few who had never played (the posters worked!) giving us a steady stream of players and games for almost the whole day. We even got some passers by joining in and a bunch more stopping to chat.
“I’ve lived here for over 60 years; it’s nice to see the area being used well” said one lady, “I must’ve had too much, I swear I saw Santa’s on bikes” joked another when she saw our Christmas themed team kits.
The weather held up most of the day only starting to rain in the evening, which is when some folk hung up their Santa hats and said their goodbyes, still a good number of us kept on going until the rain/salt combo rendered brakes useless and we retreated to the warmth and hospitality of Siempre Bicycle Cafe.
Overall it was a huge success, putting GHBPA on the polo map and giving us the confidence to aim high for the New Year.
– Matt. Photos courtesy of Euan Ryan.