Hardcourt bike polo gears up at Santa Clara rec center
by Ethan Orenstein
Published - 04/11/13 - 11:17 AM | 5205 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Polo goes extreme
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With mallets made from repurposed ski poles and single-speed bikes modified to withstand some contact, the San Diego Bike Polo Club plays on the basketball courts at the Santa Clara Recreation Center, located at 1008 Santa Clara Place, on Sundays from noon until 6 p.m.

Players toss their mallets to the middle of the court before each game to choose teams, and games are played with teams of three, attacking small goals at opposite ends of the court. The first team to score five points wins and the mallets are shuffled again.

San Diego Bike Polo has been playing at public parks like Santa Clara for about four years and the enthusiasm continues to grow.

According to the League of Bike Polo, a website launched in 2008 to provide information about bike polo clubs and tournaments, the sport was invented in the late 1800s in Ireland on a grass polo field.

In the 1990s, bike messengers in Seattle began playing on hardcourts, and the new variation slowly gained popularity. Today, regional and world tournaments are held all over the world, where local clubs compete and network.

In the U.S. alone, there are over 170 bike polo clubs. Members of the San Diego Bike Polo Club said it’s a sport with an accommodating community atmosphere. Out-of-town players and people new to the sport are always welcome to play with local clubs.

Members of the San Diego Bike Polo Club said there is always room for more players, and they encourage participants to come by and try it out. Members usually have extra bikes and mallets.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/SDBikePolo.

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