Bike polo players race across Wright courts



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Rinzin Anyetsang takes a shot, Thursday at the Wright tennis courts during a game of bike polo. Bike polo takes place at the Wright tennis courts every Monday and Thursday around 9 p.m. Bruce Carver and Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures Buy Photos



She had never joined her friend, sophomore Tyler Brown, at bike polo before, and she wanted to watch before jumping in to play.

“He’s probably been coming out for three months now,” she said. “And he wanted me to come with him, but I said ‘no, it’s way too cold.’ So since today’s the first nice day this year, I’ve decided to come out and join him — see what all the hype’s about.”

On Monday and Thursday nights, Brown said students and Bloomington residents gather at the court to play the sport.

“We’re disorganizedly organized,” he said. “Sometimes we start at 8, sometimes we start at 10.”

The game is played with two teams of three, Brown said. The teams play the first to five goals or for 10 minutes with a standard roller-hockey ball, he said. If any part of a player besides his or her bike or mallet touches the ground, the player has to touch one of the poles in the middle of the court before continuing to play.

Senior Travis Davies said he began playing in late September.

“I was really late compared to some of the earlier people,” he said. “But long enough to love it.”

Davies said last summer was the first time he heard bike polo was played in Bloomington. Though the majority of the players are Bloomington residents, he said six or seven students play on a regular basis. When the weather warms up, Davies said he plans to start advocating to the University to get more students involved.

“We were going to try to become a club sport,” he said. “But there’s so many rules through the University that we’re going to try to become a student organization to where we just get an account with the school and we can request space. There are a lot less rules for us, but we get to become a club officially.”

To play bike polo, members first have to love riding a bike, Davies said. He said he began playing with the group one day when he rode past the court and players yelled for him to join.

“So I just walked up here and started playing,” he said. “If you just like riding bikes or doing anything outside, you get to check people into the wall and fall off your bike and smack a ball into a goal once in a while. It’s a very good stress relief. And you get to wreck a lot, it’s fun.”

Brown said not many serious injuries have occurred in the game so far. Neither he nor Davies has obtained major injuries.

“I’ve injured people,” Davies said. “I have done that. I tried to kill a kid’s thumb, once. But, you know, he’s alive.”

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