Have you ever even heard of "bike polo", dear reader? I had not until my Australian friend started playing in Melbourne, and informed me that the game had started in Seattle. Officially Hardcourt Bike Polo, the game is just as it sounds- teams of 3 atop bicycles use mallets to hit a ball into end goals.The main rules are that you can't touch your foot to the ground- if you do you have to "tap out" on the side of the court as a brief penalty- and you have to score a goal with the end of the mallet (not the side). You can't "chicken wing", putting your arm underneath another player's arms. Otherwise you just play! There are no assigned positions, though one player on the team is usually guarding their goal while "tripodding" on the mallet, though if they want to break away and go forward, another team member can drop back to defend the goal, or leave it unattended.
It's a fairly new game, and only the third year there have been World Championships. This year, the Worlds were hosted in Seattle! It was a 4-day event at Magnuson Park, and my friend from Australia was here competing. There were 64 teams, mostly from North America and Europe, plus a few from Australia and Asia. In a round-robin double elimination system, they started ranking the teams over a few days. It was a blazingly hot, sunny weekend for Seattle, and those player played a lot of games. I got sweaty just standing and watching.
Luckily the courts were by Lake Washington, so we could swim when we got overheated. Games are only 15 minutes, a perfect amount of time for me to get into it but not have to be too committed to watch the whole thing. Some family and friends came to watch, and it made for a great mix of spectating, swimming, and picnics.
The final game was an intense match between a Swiss team and a Vancouver team. They were both fast and amazing ball-handlers. The game was neck and neck, and even tied at the end. Then in overtime, a Canadian sped forward and made a perfect shot, ending the game and leaving their team undefeated. I had pride for a Cascadia team winning, but really it was just awesome to watch so many talented, dedicated players.