- GAME ONE -
First game jitters abound on player faces as the newest member of BPTO (Dirks!) sets up this evening’s event by kicking the orange ball all six of them will soon be whacking and chasing around into place, and asks… “Have all pee breaks been taken?”
You may find out later if all were, but right away it is ‘3-2-1… POLO!’
Bicycles are being pedaled by people in this fringe sport that would otherwise resemble croquet. These are handsome people - with helmets and kneepads - that want to keep handsome. Any malicious mallet fencing will bring boos and scowls from this crowd of gentleman-and-woman enthusiast gathered here tonight whose only care is fair-play.
Within moments… so fast that nobody even knows how it happened… Maija in her fancy red racing jersey has scored the historic first ever league goal!
Acid Cat Reflex leads 1-0.
The ‘I Wanna Beard’ boys follow-up with a bunch of scrums along the boards that don’t go anywhere. Various giveaways and takeaways with nothing much else going on creates an atmosphere of not-the-most-exciting-polo-game-ever-played for the next couple minutes.
Nick makes a really nice pass to Frank. Having had the pleasure of playing a game of pickup with the tandem earlier in the night, I feel like this will be something to watch for and enjoy in future matches.
Patty loses the ball, but recovers and sends it to Maija… she takes the shot… but it’s saved by Iwanyshan. The ball is sent the length of the court and another scrum ensues in the southwest corner. Frank recovers and sends it to an open Nicky I. who has sneaked in, but his shot goes wide of the empty goal.
A bunch of other stuff happens, but the bench is clearly more engaged in unrelated conversations at this time until… Frank breaks up the left side and shoots!
Anyone I ask hasn’t an answer how… but the ball blasts through, and we’re tied 1-1.
Patty brings the game back to action with a shot past the defenders that knocks Nick off his bike. No goal, but Patty is clearly beginning to want one. The game is 4 minutes in and Maija has not utilized the lightning speed of her red racing jersey as often as her fans would like. Acid Cat Reflex is dipsy-doodling and getting more passes off in the offensive end, Patty is found open again and shoots… but the voice recorder on my phone – that which I was using to remember all this stuff - suddenly stops?!
I think what happens next is this:
Aaron gets a goal. 2-1 Acid Cat Reflex.
Patty gets a goal. 3-1 Acid Cat Reflex.
John gets a goal. 3-2 Acid Cat Reflex.
And in the final minutes…
Nick ties the game 3-3.
Frank scores the game winning buzzer beater with just 4 seconds left!
I Wanna Beard 4 - 3 Acid Cat Reflex
- GAME TWO -
I realize how to make my new phone record again and just in time, as these two rivals are out for blood… and they want it now! THERE SHALL BE NO BREAKS BETWEEN GAMES!*
*(Until after this one, when they obviously take a break…)
Nothing much happens for probably 3 whole minutes (or maybe I just got tired of listening to my dull delivery of the cold facts - as I’m sure everyone else around me did - and decided to give the Bob Costas thing a bit of a rest)? I’m not sure?!
I forgot to mention that Frank had been rubbing out Swanson and Patty earlier.
Frank and Nick seem like they have some chemistry going on now, as one will bat an eyelash to the other when sending a pretty pass their way. There’s a very good shot from Nick; but no dice.
Nick and Maija scrum soon after, and Nick nearly gets rubbed out. Both teams are beginning to realize that they don’t have to play nice anymore to keep their friends, as BPTO league is going to fill their social calendars for the next couple months to the max regardless. …So, elbows up everyone!
These little gangs of three aren’t quite West Side Story tough yet, but they’re on their way.
Now back to the game…
Wide shots galore from everyone!
Jean jackets are being taken off by John Stillwell before Aaron Swanson speeds past him, cycling loops around their net. He shoots a terrific slapper, but John blocks the shot!
Still tied 0-0.
Swanson steals Nick’s mallet in frustration (but not really, because that guy is ice-cool always). The game continues, but I’m caught watching Nick struggle to grab his mallet for what must’ve been 30 seconds.
John fans on a shot, but recovers and spins around the net a la Nicky Savage styles. Frank tries to sneak one off Maija’s inner wheel from behind the net, but fails. No goal.
The ball is sent around the court. More scrums ensue… More steals and giveaways… Nick ricochets a Swanson blaster off his front cover and it soars into the bench, nearly taking off Navid’s head!
When play resumes, somebody gets a goal, though it is possible that it might have happened before? …I am a terrible reporter!
I Wanna Beard leads 1-0.
Nick is slow-roasting, and it seems like something is going to happen, but then nothing much happens for over a minute.
More giveaways and takeaways abound at centre court from both sides, until it seems that everyone on I Wanna Beard gets bored of wanting the ball, and Patty Youn breaks through them all to tie the game with a goal!
Tied game 1-1.
Maija rubs Nick out again, and there’s another non-descript ‘nice pass’ from Patty to Maija, which she finishes with a meaty shot that gets blocked.
The crowd wants goals! But everyone playing has grown a disdain for them. There are only wide shots. Somebody comments that this is the worst polo. The ball gets lost, and another stoppage takes place.
When we return, the tempo picks up again. Lots of dipsy-doodling has broken back into the game; some tic-tac-toe as well. Frank races and gets past Patty, he passes to Nick… but it’s stolen by Maija.
Maija shot! But it’s wide… :(
Time is ticking down, and we’re under a minute left in this defensively strong and offensively messy game. Before we know it, only 15 seconds remain…
Swanson gets a shot in… a clear on-target shot… and it’s crazy good and in the net! Game Over.
‘Acid Cat Reflex’ 2 - 1 ‘I Wanna Beard’
- GAME THREE -
The third installment of this neck-and-neck buzzer beating rivalry takes place after both sides have cooled off and allowed those of us left hungry from the many carrots dangled before our faces to jump the boards for some fun pickup.
‘East-side is ready… West-side ready… ‘
The pace has increased right away. Frank seems to be on Swanson detail once again, as he picks him off by throwing his back wheel into Aaron’s front – tossing him and his bike onto Frank’s saddle, thereafter to the hard paved ground. There was a high degree of difficulty displayed in his landing of such a tumble. The scene is both dangerous and funny, and Frank admits to being in a HGH-related rager as he cycles past us to tap out. …Oh, and Nick scored a goal!
I Wanna Beard leads 1-0.
More polo happens! Mallets are dropped on the court and picked up. Frank rushes the breaks left side with Nick hustling down the middle… Frank looks for an open lane to his buddy (no go!) then shoots…
I Wanna Beard leads 2-0.
An unspecified local polo talent/gentleman rogue has drank too many adult beverages and is wondering where he may pee. I advise him that the restrooms of the Dufferin Grove Community Centre are still open, which he’s not into… though admittedly, who can leave such an event even just for a moment?! The scoundrel then disappears to whereabouts unknown.
Shortly thereafter, Nick Savage returns the lighter he stole from me the day before.
Five minutes are left and it’s still 2-0 for ‘I Wanna Beard.’ John Stillwell cycles by the bench to tap out and sour faces us a look of pain and stoicism. As a fan of the pomp and creativity sometimes included in this sport, I had regretted his choice not to wear the silly glasses he had on earlier, though would such brutal human emotion have gone noticed? These snap costume decisions are all too common in the sport of bicycle polo, as noted in Maija’s choice to forego her red racing jersey for the utilitarianism and warmth of a black hoodie this match.
Frank rubs out Swanson once again. He picks up the ball, he drops it to Nick… Nick shoots… Maija saves… Nick wants it so bad though, he shoots again… Nick goal!
I Wanna Beard leads 3-0.
I hear ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the far side of the bench as the scoundrel returns, apparently from having picked one of the worst spots to pee in what could be considered a rather large public park with a plethora of trees, hedges and picnic tables to shadow one’s junk from a passerby; so many options to choose from! Yet, somehow urine has seeped onto the court through an unfortunate drainage hole connected to the community garden.
Nick scores with 3 minutes left.
I Wanna Beard leads 4-0.
It is an unfortunate score as Acid Cat Reflex has been getting great chances, passing together and making timely steals… but no breaks on their shots! In the final minute Nick falls down, and Patty avenges her teammate by falling into Frank and preventing an otherwise breakaway goal.
The buzzer rings.
I Wanna Beard 4 - 0 Acid Cat Reflex