The top teams on the planet descended upon Seattle’s Magnusson Park to claim bragging rights of being the best in the world. The city saw five straight days of continuous play, as each outfit fought hard to reach the finals. In the end, a threesome of Canadians earned the title.
Upon arriving to Magnuson Park, and after feebly driving around for 15 minutes looking for a place to park, my friend Max and I eventually decided to leave the truck at the entrance and ride in (we were coming from a cyclocross race in Kirkland, Wash.) At first, we couldn’t find the polo courts. It didn’t take long to figure it out, as we could hear a large crowd yelling and some other strange sounds coming from the woods. As we got closer to the venue, following the high decibels of raucous roars, we came to a clearing where there were four sections of courts set up for play. In between sides were barriers where spectators could safely watch play on both sides – a very cool touch.
Local favorites and this year’s North American Hardcourt Champions, “The Guardians,” played extremely well during the tournament. Chants of “TWO-OH-SIX!” were heard throughout the matches every time the team – consisting of Dustin, Julian, and Sebastian (aka Sea Bass) – pedaled onto the court. Their strategy has served them well in prior events, with Sea Bass tending the goal the majority of the time while Dustin and Julian work the ball down the court. In the end, they fell short with back-to-back losses to Switzerland’s “Iron Ponies,” followed by a defeat at the hands of team “Call Me Daddy” from France, and ultimately placed third.
Many Canadians who traveled down to see the tournament went nuts and mobbed the Canuck team following the winning goal, and the celebration soon ensued. The 2011 WHBPC will surely go down in history as one of the best polo tournaments on record. Due to Seattleites stepping it up and making sure this event was top-notch, including multiple sponsors and support from the community, I have a feeling the Championships will only grow bigger, with more teams and more fans recognizing what a truly unique and skillful game bike polo is to play.