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Hard Court Bike Polo
Chrystie Street Park on the Lower East Side (L.E.S.)

Written and Photographed by Angelo Rivera

I saw a group of bike riders at the Christie Street Park on the Lower East Side. They were riding around the court yard whacking at the ground with mallets.

On closer observation it seemed that these Polo enthusiasts were chasing a little orange ball from one side of the field to the other, trying to get it to go between two orange cones on either end.

A tall slender guy with tats named Doug rode up to me and asked, "Who are you shooting for?" I told him New York Cool. He said he's heard of us and that I should stick around because the games were going to begin at 1pm.

So I walked over to where they were "getting themselves together." I'm thinking that the players will don protective gear, review rules and design some plan of attack.

Hell No!

The sport originated somewhere in England and was adopted onto the streets of the L.E.S..

The game consists of:

Two teams, made up of three players with one substitute, start at opposite ends of the field and one side brings the ball forward. Now mind you, no one has on protective gear: no mouth piece, no helmet, no facial guard, no shin guards, just a plastic mallet with a handle for both offense and defense. It is a good thing they are all drinking buddies.

Riding a bike with spoke guards while swinging a mallet to either side that weighs roughly about a pound with protection at hi speed on concrete is going to make for some nasty-ass rug burns or black and blues in the morning.."OUCH".

But as the players instructed me, the purpose it to ride hard, swing hard and drink hard; that is the name of the game.

Hard Court Bike Polo: Get the orange ball through the cones at any means.

Boy, I can't wait till next season.






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