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Boone’s Underground Bike Polo League

first_imgThe Secret World of Bikes Hitting Bikes, Intense Competition and Camaraderie Story by Eric CrewsAs Seen in the High Country PressEvery Monday afternoon around 6:30 p.m., when the weather allows, a small but dedicated group of Boone’s best bike polo players take the field at Junaluska Park. The two teams line up on either end of the old, abandoned baseball field and, with a chorus of yells, charge toward the center of the field. The bikes, and the riders who propel them, collide with one another as the players battle for position and swing wildly with their mallets at the soft, grapefruit-size ball. They ram each other’s bikes, push one another down and yell vicious insults at one another as they rush full-speed across the grass, sparing nothing in hopes of victory.As fierce and intimidating as it sounds, bike polo is how these young men prefer to spend their time after work. Their jobs during the day range from bike shop mechanics, to carpenters, to business owners, but when they share the field none of that matters.“It’s all about going out and having fun,” John Fennell, an employee at Magic Cycles, said before the match on Monday. “We try not to take it too seriously, but,” he said, lingering for a moment, “we definitely play to win.”In different incarnations, Fennell explained, bike polo has been an off-and-on, semi-organized sport in Boone since the 1990s, when Mike Boone of Magic Cycles and Shaw Brown of Boone Bike and Touring bought sets of mallets, organized two teams and began playing.But over the past two years, the play has become more regular, the teams stay more or less the same from week to week and each team has their own jerseys.“Everyone has gotten more organized and consistent for the last two years,” Fennell said. “And, although we don’t have official teams, there are certain people who always play against one another.”“I enjoy the competition and the camaraderie of it,” Sam Hutchens of Boone Bike and Touring said. “It’s one of those things that you don’t have to be the fittest, fastest guy out there to be good at bike polo. It helps, without a doubt. But you can be out there and not be in shape at all and score some points.”In bike polo, points are scored by hitting the ball between the goal—a pair of cones spaced about 10 feet apart from one another—while the charging horde of bikes crowds around in an attempt to block the goal. Most goals—though not all goals—are scored on the breakaway by a fast rider who can out-sprint his competition to the ball and make the clutch shot count while under pressure.The goal on every Monday afternoon is to play three games to seven points; that way there can be a clear winner of the week, and bragging rights can be established. “Basically, our goal is to make sure we get three games in so that we can have a champion,” Hutchens said. “We play on Mondays but we see each other throughout the week so we’re always digging on each other. If one team wins one week then the other team basically gives ‘em hell the next week. It’s just a general good time. Everybody’s got a smile on their face, yet it’s super competitive and just a great time, all around.”When asked if taking bike polo in Boone to the next level with more competitive play and matches against other teams was a future possibility, Hutchens and Fennell both shrugged it off and said that they believe it would take some of the enjoyment away from what they do for fun.“There actually is serious world class play,” Hutchens said. “But the rules that they play by are just too strict. We really get a lot of happiness out of bumping people out of the way. We’re not trying to hurt anybody, but I’m not going to shy away from throwing an elbow or anything. Those guys in leagues are serious though. They play that you lose the ball if you do something like [throw an elbow] and you have to start over. We’ve talked about getting more serious, but, for us, we feel it would just take the fun out of it. We’re happier just doing our own thing and playing with people we know, people that we know if we knock them off their bike they’re not going to get up and try to fight us or anything like that. We’re all just friends having fun.”While having fun and getting exercise is what bike polo is all about for this group, finding a place to play over the years has been difficult.“Basically, we’ve been kicked off of every field in Boone, except for Junaluska Park,” Hutchens said. “When we started playing we played in the field on Greenway Road where the new medical facility is located. After that, we tried playing at Brookshire Park but we got kicked out of there. ASU has forbidden us from playing on any grass surface at State Farm. The only place we haven’t been kicked off of is Junaluska Park.”Although the field at Junaluska Park is not ideal for bike polo because of its irregular shape, the unleveled surface and the consistent muddy area in the center, the bike polo players are happy to have a place to play.“It’s super small, not even level—it pretty much slopes from one end to the other—there’s a huge mud hole that never dries up and it acts as the drain field for the rest of the park, so it stays wet after it rains,” Hutchens said. “But we’ve just kind of taken it on as our own field. And we really like that it is in town. So many of us are coming from town, whether from the bike shops or other places, it’s nice to be able to ride your bike to the field.”On the triangular shaped field—an old baseball diamond that is too small for all types of baseball, except perhaps whiffle ball—the bike polo players are battling it out in game three. The dusk is settling quickly, but from the looks of it, they’ve only just warmed up. The trash talking mixes with words of encouragement from teammates and the clang of bikes hitting bikes. A quick flurry of scores puts the black team ahead 3-0, and a few members of the white team shake their heads and agree that it will take a miracle to come back from this deficit. As the white team puts the ball into play and heads out to try for “the miracle comeback,” it is easy to remember back to the games we played as young kids, and exciting to know that, for some, the thrill and enjoyment of the game lives on.last_img read more

Mexico: 52 alleged Zetas members arrested in Nuevo León

first_img MONTERREY, Mexico — Mexican authorities arrested 52 alleged members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, including two active duty police officers, in the northeastern state of Nuevo León, officials said June 13. Security spokesman Jorge Domene Zambrano said the 52 suspects, including eight women and five children, were arrested there under various operations that began on June 8. The suspects “held different roles for the criminal group, from leaders of local cells to assassins and spies,” Domene said during a news conference. Nuevo León is considered among the Mexican states with the biggest presence of Zetas. The arrests came on the heels of the June 12 indictment in the United States of the man believed to be Los Zetas’ second-in-command, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, along with 13 others for alleged money laundering. They are accused of hiding millions of dollars of drug proceeds in a horse-racing and breeding operation. Mexican authorities ruled out a direct link between the raids in Mexico and those in the United States. [AFP, 13/06/2012; Elporvenir.com.mx (Mexico), 13/06/2012] By Dialogo June 14, 2012last_img read more

How to filter your IP address from Google Analytics

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Derik Krauss Derik is a cofounder of BloomCU, an award-winning website design agency for credit unions. His agency’s design work has received recognition from CUNA (Diamond Award), TheFinancialBrand.com, and others. He … Web: bloomCU.com Details Analytics can help you measure the success of your credit union website and calculate the revenue it generates. But to get accurate reports, you need clean data. You and your colleagues visit the credit union’s website for various reasons. Maybe you’re working on a page for a new product. Or, your call center agents reference the answers to frequently asked questions. Those are good reasons to visit your website, but all those activities get logged in your analytics and can skew your data—unless you filter your IP addresses. The video above will show you how to set up three different Views in Google Analytics and filter IP addresses so you have clean data to create accurate reports.You may also like “How to track every click and form submission on your website”. This is placeholder text center_img This post is currently collecting data…last_img read more

WIPA boss anticipates close relationship with new CWI leadership

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president and chief executive Wavell Hinds is anticipating a close working relationship with newly elected Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt.In congratulating Skerritt on landing the top job, Hinds pointed out that his task as head of WIPA was to ensure the continued improvement of the players’ wellbeing, and as such was hoping to work hand-in-hand with his CWI counterpart to achieve that goal.The former Jamaica and West Indies player’s pronouncements came shortly after former senior team manager Skerritt and running mate Dr Kishore Shallow defeated Jamaican Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron and Emmanuel Nanthan in elections at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel here last Sunday.“We want to say thanks from a players’ association standpoint to former president Cameron and former VP Nanthan and to welcome and congratulate president Skerritt and vice-president Shallow,” said Hinds.It’s a new role, it’s a very big task, the challenges that face West Indies Cricket internally and externally are great and they have a big job to take on.”“WIPA is here to try to make sure that what we do from a players’ perspective is aligned to the objectives of CWI, in trying to be the best team in the world. I would imagine that without even asking.“We (WIPA) are pretty much in agreement with a democratic process and we are looking forward to working with the persons who are there. But we also are respectful of the fact that contributions have been made by former president Cameron and vice-president Nanthan and so I want to tell them thanks and wish them all the best in their future endeavours,” he added.Hinds formed a close working relationship with Cameron during his three terms in charge of CWI, resulting in a cooling of tensions between the two bodies.The fact that Hinds is a former representative of Kensington Cricket Club of which Cameron is president, is believed to have played a key role in the relationship.Hinds, however, was tactful when pressed on the surprising outcome of the election.“It is a democratic organisation and I think today is another symbol that there is a democratic process that goes on,” he noted.“West Indies Cricket belongs to the entire Caribbean and no one is above the rules or the guidelines of CWI.”Hinds, who was among those on hand to ensure a fair process during the election, also reaffirmed his commitment of continued dialogue with the CWI leadership for players inclusion in the effort to push West Indies cricket forward.“As a special member of CWI, we sat in the room to make sure that the persons who are in the chair understands the mammoth task that comes with it (presidential post) and how important the players are, if not the most important assets,” Hinds explained.“And (to let leadership know) that they (players) are to be considered in whatever deliberation goes on and to involve the players and their wellbeing front and centre, in terms of how they execute on the playing field.”The election was expected to be a close battle with the possibility of both candidates ending up in a dead heat, after having gained the support of three boards each heading into voting day.But Both Skerritt, 62, and Shallow, 35, won by 8-4 margins in the end after managing to sway votes from another territory, denying Cameron and Nanthan a fourth consecutive two-year term in office.last_img read more