The Packard Head-First Impressions

Some of the Atlanta kids have been using this type of head for a while now, and when Michael Packard asked if I wanted one during Hippolo, I threw my money at him.
(Click the pictures to enlarge)
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I got a pair of these little beauties a few days ago. And as you can see, there’s a hole in that there cap. The “C” either stands for “cap” or “I made this with love for Christopher xoxoxo”. Probably both.
In today’s world of unibody, magical, and dairy flavored heads, I was excited to try this different style. It also has a larger internal diameter (ID) than most of the readily available capped heads. For scoopin’!  

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My well loved Alchemy head is on the left there, and you can see the difference in diameter. The ID comes in, just inside legal limits, at 55mm. The wall thicknesses are about the same at the open end. The Alchemy head actually has thinner walls along the inside and has more material at the ends. It wasn’t possible to measure, but from what I can gather, the full cap of the Alchemy head is thinner than the (semi)cap of the Packard head. 

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After drilling, it came in at just about 80g. That’s exactly what the afore-pictured Alchemy head weighs. Probably the difference between more-cap-thinner-wall and less-cap-thicker-wall evens out.

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I took to the Red Courts for a test ride after work and I love this thing. I found myself nostalgic for the way the white stuff feels when dribbling. I’ve been using the black stuff for so long (St. Cago and Alchemy) that I forgot how the regular UHMW reacts.
Read: Feels good.

I can already tell what type of mallet this is going to be for me. Not a shooting mallet, but a passing and driving mallet. I’m not a heavy hitter, I make no qualms about that. So I’m not looking to take huge, Crazy Canuck’s style shots (if only). But I’m like everybody in that I love not losing the ball. This head makes that possible. The more predictable sidewalls and the big ol’ open end make ball handling a wizz.

Scoops were a cinch as I hoped, and I could toss the ball right where I wanted. Still can’t pick it up though. But hey, caries are illegal now, so to hell with them.
What it doesn’t have is the springiness that a fully capped head has. There’s a real solid, Neanderthal feeling to this head. It feels like playing with two open ends, which makes sense. If you like the way a fully capped head feels when you shoot. That sort of, absorb then release, tennis racket sponginess, the “pop” sensation. Then this head isn’t for you. But if you like a stiff, predictable, less musical head, then pick one of these up.
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Air Mail

So Bob did the most ridiculous thing on the court today. He’s always doing tricky stuff, scoop passes, wheel shots, we call him “Tricky Bobby” for a reason. But today, he did this one ridiculous move and it changed the way I see the game.

He was riding with the ball down the court, Jimmy was on his right, vying for the ball. Bob scooped it, tossed it up, way over Jimmy’s head, as Bob rode around him. It landed a few feet in front of Jimmy,  bounced once and Bob slammed it, out of the air, into the goal over Ryler’s wheel, top shelf front door.

incredulous

With the 2013 ruleset allowing goals off the shaft this begs the question: Is the next level of bike polo turning it into bike lacrosse? Are we going to see more lob and scoop passes and midair shots?

Time to start practicing my wheelie blocks.

Mallet Hacks

I cut my mallet down about a month ago. I did it out of curiosity. I had noticed that my mallet was always longer than everyone else’s, in our club and even at tournaments. I told myself this was to my advantage. I could out reach anyone else. The longer sword cuts first, right? But, I’m a weight weenie with a bum wrist, and I can only drill out my heads so much. So, after watching some of those Euro Qualifier games and seeing the baby walking sticks those guys are playing with, I decided to go for it.

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I cut about an inch off the back end of one of my backup mallets in case I hated the change. First thoughts, why didn’t I do this a year ago!? That one inch made my mallet significantly lighter. And after taking it to the park I realized something else; My shot had significantly improved. It took me about an hour to get it down, lots of whiffing and cursing up till then. But before I tended to hit the ground before I hit the ball. That was no more. Combined with the beautiful Alchemy capped heads, I could send a full court shot straight where I pointed it. Over and over! A first for me.

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Old mallet.

New mallet.

New mallet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chock this up to holding my mallet at the very end. Before, with a long mallet, I tended to choke up about an inch or two and then drop back to the end for that extra reach. This made me less flexible when choked up. The butt of my mallet was pressing into my wrist and blocking certain wrist movements. And because I was always moving my hand up and down the shaft (wink wink) the head of my mallet was a constantly shifting distance from me.

A shorter mallet forces me to keep the ball closer, keeping me more in control. I can take my shots from closer in, and faster. I play better in goal because I can move my mallet quicker. My writs thanks me too. After buying a sweet wrist brace and cutting my mallet, I’ve had significantly less—as in zero—wrist pain.

Lack of reach on defense was something I thought I would miss, but I don’t. It’s taught me to position myself in front of the ball carrier better instead of going for a big swipe. I play closer defense than before, which is a better way to play, IMHO.

If you’re looking for a way to lighten your mallet without drilling more holes, or you’ve been thinking about a way to improve your shot. Try cutting your mallet down. Everyone is different and you might hate it, but if you’ve been thinking about it, do it. You’ll probably love it.

Long Live the King!

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This past weekend was a good one for Tallahassee. The undisputed grandfather of TBP—Southeast Regional Rep, a.k.a. Big Mamma, a.k.a. Ddub—Danny Wood tied the knot this past weekend. And with none other than Avril McGrath. I couldn’t imagine two people better suited for each other. The service was outside in the sunshine, just off the beach at Wakulla Springs. There were ukuleles, bubbles, giggles, and tears. It was beautiful; I absolutely cried.

971572_10200670665321874_419566510_nBut the real story was on the dance floor after dinner. #whitepeopledancing.

Weddings always bring the best of friends to town. And where there’s friends, there’s polo. Venus has practically moved here by now, spending the majority of weekends per month in Tally playing pickup, then driving back to Jax to pay the bills during the week. You never know what rental car she’ll have next. I hear she may be making the permanent trip soon?

936290_10152799651335167_1453070131_nSome of the Gainesville boys were in town for D&A’s W and brought their whole stable with them. They rode some trail, and down to the springs, and then they were at polo Sunday afternoon! (Reminder: Ride bike more, grow thicker mustache, be like Austin.) Man, it’s awesome to have out of towners at pickup.

That and Sexy Kevin rolled up with the party trailer: Boombox on 16″ wheels with a built in beer holder.

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The sun was out, tunes were on, beers were icing, the polo was hopping. Harmony got us the hookup on ‘zza, and right as the sun set, we munched. Tasting the sweet tomato-based crust of a terrific weekend.

Nothing like love for Big Mamma and Avril to bring the panhandle together for some Sunday afternoon party pickup.

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Hungry Hungry Hippolo 3

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We’re getting started on Hippolo year three. Same courts at All -Florida 5.

Contact info: jimmyg@riseup.net

2 courts both 100′ x 50′

Same ones as All Florida 5.

32 teams.

Registration will open on Friday, February 15th at high noon.
Tell us your team name, the names of your teammates, and if you need housing.
$33 per team.

This will be a benefit for Krank It Up!

LOBP: http://leagueofbikepolo.com/hungry-hungry-hippolo-3
HCBP: http://www.hardcourtbikepolo.org/polo/main/tournament/112.html 
FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/472663946131562/

All Florida 5 Results

This past weekend was a blast. Good times and good polo were had by all. Tallahassee’s 3-2-1 Pollo! held it down in the finals, despite Ft. Myers’s Midnight Snack staging a 4 point comeback in the second half. We’re proud to harbor the, now two-time, state champions in Tallahassee. Keeping it in the capitol!

321 Pollo! Bob Delgado, Christopher Hill, and Justin Pogge.

See the full bracket.

And tons of great photos by Hansley Photos.

Again, thank you to our sponsors! We couldn’t have built the courts without you!

 

 

Courts

The following are pictures of the court for All Florida 5. They’re taken from opposing corners looking down the length of the court and then across the goal line to where the opposite court will be. The tennis nets will be in between the two courts. There will be boards around both courts. If all goes as planned, 4′ walls behind the goals and in the corners, and 2′ boards down the sides. Note the lack of shade and wind protection. Please plan accordingly for the sun and the possibly of a cold breeze.

There is a water fountain right outside the fence, and I believe we’ll have access to the school facilities. courts1 courts2 courts3 courts4