Chicago and Milwaukee played out an all-American Final at Berlin in 2010.
The lucky few who made it to a Brooks Dealer Of Excellence in April in time to get their hands on one of our Limited Edition “England” mallets will hopefully have already begun the process of breaking them in for the 2011 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships, taking place this September in Seattle and presented by Brooks England.
Scenes from the 2010 WHBPC in Berlin.
Last year’s WHBPC held in Berlin drew nearly one hundred teams, and if indications from various polo sites and online forums are anything to go by, we can expect even greater numbers to make it to Seattle in September.
It’s interesting, and perhaps a mark of the sport’s inclusive nature, that today many of its more serious practitioners no longer opt for a brakeless fixed gear, but for a freewheel with brake. (As yet, however, nobody has won anything on a trike. Nor is it immediately clear whether they would even be allowed to, should a third wheel prove advantageous.)
But in the few years that bike polo has gone from being chiefly a somewhat-spontaneous recreation to an increasingly structured sport, Brooks has been discreetly yet enthusiastically cheering from the sidelines, having been the main sponsor of every major polo event since 2008 and the Shoreditch Invitational.
Charmingly, within this time there have already developed two generally accepted and distinct styles of play – a “European” style, and an “American” style. Both of them of course highly skilled. However, broadly speaking, they seem to differ mainly in the level of robustness, or as some would allege, in the flagrant disregard for one’s safety with which a rider approaches the ball and/or his or her adversary.
We leave it to the gentle reader to guess which variant features thoughtful feints and deft flourishes, and which is mostly just elbows and broken teeth. Suffice it to say, that based on previous results, the Europeans might need a little more “Yank” in their game if one of their tribe is to break the American stranglehold on the world title and make off with the spoils this year.
Brooks Presents The 2011 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships. September 8-11, Seattle Washington.