Hardcourt’s not just for white dudes

Hardcourt Bike Polo is among those young sports not bound to old rules.
The standards for equality are higher in hardcourt because the sport does not have antiquated traditions within the sport to cling to.

When polo was played by both men and women in the grass games of the 20th century, the standards met the times: Men and women played separate games, with variant rules. Reborn at the cusp of the 21st century, many of the social agreements about gender had changed. Women made waves successively from running and tennis to basketball and later on in baseball, football and hockey.  

Unlike the decidedly masculine sports of the old world, bikes themselves arrived in a new era and any protests about women riding bikes were quickly pedaled past by flush females sporting fresh bloomers. Bloomers! A century and some change goes by before the blessed bike polo revival, and here’s where the two worlds intersect.

The co-ed nature of bike polo really is one of its most beautiful aspects, in terms of what humanity can look like. You have so much fun, push yourself so hard; you get so excited– and the rigid gender dynamics we typically adhere to begin to fold.

But in the spirit of sportsing in America, bike polo is a white dude’s jam (aka We love you, but you’re still a minority). Don’t get me wrong, though—it’s not an intentional exclusion of blacks, browns, and women—bike polo doesn’t care what you look like or what bits you have (are you using that new Fixcraft mounting system though?). The reality is that bike polo doesn’t exist in a race and gender-free universe, so we’re working from the inside out, evolving the poloverse with everyone in mind.

It’s an exciting process, and it’s tricky too. When we say “Hey, I want to show you what bike polo is” most people hear “Look, more sportsing!” which ultimately translates to “Look at these sweaty dudes be manly.”  

There’s been a flurry of voices stirred up about who gets represented and how since the release of the white dudes on bikes NAH promo video. Quick on its heels was the uproar in response to GQ’s profile of the Beaver Boys, and the crumb of misogynistic representation within it that even hinted that bike polo was coed at all. The GQ feature is really just the last in a long string of biased coverage that omits or distorts the coed nature of the sport.

In honor of all the current controversy, I wanted to establish a primer of relevant materials on the intersections of bike polo and equity in sports and discrimination and gender expectations and all that, which I hope to add to as more people contribute to the conversation. My intention has always been to show others what is being accomplished in bike polo, and first to five is the least of it.

Is this list missing something? Tell me!


2 thoughts on “Hardcourt’s not just for white dudes

  1. What a week for bike polo…again this beloved community has inspired me to think about the world as is and how we can make it a better place for all. I took a path a year ago that has kept me from the Harcourt. I joined the National Guard at the old age of 34 and went to infantry training and jump school at Ft. Benning. My age gave me just a little taste of the discrimination of frailty that lurks in the shadows of the mind. At this point in time there is a conversation about allowing women into the all male infantry.
    My personal experience in a basic training that is one of the hardest trials of mind and body the US Army has to offer, was sucess. The secret to my success, in addition to the physical preparation, i owe to the women of hardcourt bike polo. The toughness these women attack the hardcourt with was the visualization i used to maintain a mental toughness when met with the adversity of training to be an infantryman. So when the question of should women be allowed to join and train to become infantry and as the weak boys failed my reply was always, “i know women i would go into battle with knowing full well they would have my back.” I would be proud to call them brothers in arms and preferably it would be them instead of the boys. These are the women of bike polo. Hard enough to go to war with.
    So we find ourselves again within hardcourt bike polo at a point where we are redefining our world. The questions we must continue asking is do I play bike polo for the competition or do I play bike polo to make the world a better place? The answer to both questions can be yes. The boys out there just need to realize being at the top of this fringe sport, while important, is not nearly as amazing as the opportunity this sport provides women to shear off the myth of frailty.
    Yours in brotherly love,
    SPC Cousins

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