Adelaide: Getting wet in the name of Polo.
If you were standing in the drizzling rain, witnessing water pooling in one corner of the Adelaide courts on Wakefield road, you might think there’d be a lot of slippage and skiddage during the 3,2,1 Killers tournament, June 28-29th. You’d be correct, sir.
Teams trickled in, three Melbourne carloads had got in the previous night and some of us needed a little bit of encouragement in the form of caffeine/vegan choc chip slice/cider before we were coerced onto the court.
The Adelaide boys are lovely. In fact, they could be likened to decent older brothers in their provision of home-brew (Andrew), advice and information even when they’d already told you a thousand times (thankyou Colin), coffee for everyone (Jack and Adele) and even glasses fixing services (Neil) when someone who shall not be named (me) tried to head butt an opponent (for the record, totally worth it for looking like Harry Potter for a week).
I have to be honest. While the tournament exhibited some truly beautiful polo manoeuvring, I was often distracted by a) some new gals to talk to, one of which was moulding plasticine animals (such as mascot Pubey McMerk, pictured squished) with accompanying polo bikes (Joy), and another who had designed the smokin’ hot polo babe t-shirt (Zoe), b) a really cute little chica on a pink tricycle in floral knee-pads and helmet playing her own version of polo c) birds (there were all these little swoopy things that I thought might suddenly stop, assemble their mates and make me a polo dress for the polo ball) and d) beats! I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that good music acts like a blanket of goodness, and various lads (namely Sammy P and Collin) were playing exceptional music. I walked away from Adelaide with a list of killer local artists. The Rules stickers were another source of entertainment; a fair bit of noggin scratching over unique and witty entries could be noticed.
Oh, polo!! That’s right. The reason I get out of bed on a Sunday. It was good. Big Spoon Polo exhibited a childlike speed and enthusiasm, making it impossible/stupid to try to get in front of them during play. Heckling was at it’s best; ‘ooh that was cute’. ‘You’re cute’. By some miracle, Liam avoided collisions despite dodgy brakes and an aerospoke yelling ‘stick your mallet in me!’ Cracks in the court near the top goal (top because it was higher and drier) meant there were unpredictable trajectories for goal-ward balls. We also spent a ridiculous amount of time cooing over the flash net-like fence Neil had manufactured out of some poles, cable ties, timber, high-tensioned cable and well, net. Sasha, Chris and I danced on the (probably fragile) supports for a good long while because they were fun to balance on. Soz Neil.
Someone furiously yelled ‘the goal’s open!’ so I dashed for it with unbridled excitement for my first stint as goalieperson. I’m taking this opportunity to express that I meant to be backwards in the net and it was a game strategy to distract and confuse (one of my only strengths). Needless to say, a goal was scored in the massive gaps. So then Damon insisted on giving me a two-part lesson on how to goal like a boss (two-part because I tried to escape to get a beer half way through). But thanks Damon, I actually retained most of the wisdom you imparted. We all witnessed Anja as she gracefully slid out of bike entanglements on several occasions. If I was that good at polo I probably wouldn’t be as cool as she is.
There was a final at the end (because apparently different teams won or something while I was busy dancing/eating carrots and peanut butter and chatting). Melbourne Anchor took on Snowtown Bankers (was that intentional?! Or is it a lovely coincidence that they rhyme!?) Melbourne Anchor decided to experiment and play three-up and so left their goalhole open and beckoning. Snowtown Bankers identified this strategy and took advantage, with some impressive long-distance sniper shots from Neil. They scored lots. Despite Anchor’s beautiful offensive moves the Bankers took out the final with a score of 5-2. There was no MVP awarded, but if it were up to me, Mr Waterhouse would’ve been a clear choice.
Sunday was so much wetter. Jack, Benee, James and I slept in and so pre-ordered some incredible breakfast wraps and coffee from ETC on East Terrace. However when we swept in to collect them, spied some other polo kids lounging in the corner of the restaurant and so indulgently sat to devour our order whilst critiquing the local fashion (or prevalence of riding boots which were not to Benee’s taste. James wasn’t so picky, whilst Jack was more romanced by a bare-footed lass).
Colin had assembled us into 3 teams for the bench minor by the time we rocked up to the courts. The strapping Ladds (in honour of our captain Jack) pretty much dominated. Lightning fast changes and frisky youthfulness exhibited by the likes of Chris and Damon, combined with the leany swoopiness of Jack and Colin, and James and Benee’s epic passing created a fearsome cavalry. Oh and I strategically totalled Iordan’s bike and t-boned Anja on her way to score (apparently there’s rules against this?) and so volunteered to be cheer-squad instead.
Stuff I learned; when someone yells ‘down the line’ it means DOWN the LINE, as opposed to furiously hit the ball away from you, if you call for the opposing team to pass you the ball, they probably won’t, and that one probably shouldn’t wear $30 American Apparel socks playing polo, because they are just asking to be ruined.
Results of the tournament were:
1. Snowtown Bankers – Colin, Neil and Stephen
2. Melbourne Anchor – Damon, Danny and Anja
3. Team America – James, Will and Chris
4. Big Spoon Polo – Jack, Liam and Andrew
5. Gears for Tears – Daisuke, Benee and Iordan
6. Two out of Three ain’t Bad – Sasha, Gemma and Anja/Sammy P
Road-trip report to follow…
By Gemma Baxter
Gemma also writes for herbandlace. You can see her stuff here