Hopping on your bike for a game of bike polo with the Girls Gone Polo (GGP) group in Fort Collins isn’t just a ride in the park.
“You’re going to get bruised,” said Lauren Nagle, a Girls Gone Polo player. “Like, a lot.”
Even if they are in Rogers Park, one to two times a week for games that last until the sun goes down. Sometimes even longer, although that’s a story for another ride.
Started in the early spring of 2018, GGP was created with the intention of helping women feel comfortable and secure learning the game of bike polo.
“I’ve been a spectator for years but felt intimidated playing with men who have played together for so many years,” said Jackie Stuben, otherwise known as Jackie O’Crashes. “My God, what if I whiffed the ball!”
Besides GGP being a low-stress way to learn how to play, it’s also a great way to meet some new friends.
“It’s incredibly social,” Nagle said, “and a great way to meet some strong women in the bike community who are all learning something new.”
While the women in GGP have played with the original FoCo Polo squad, their group is a lot smaller and newer — but they hope not for long.
“We want more people to play with,” O’Crashes said.
Are you up for the challenge, or does the idea of rolling around on a single-speed bike with a mallet (fashioned out of an old ski pole) scare you just a little bit?
O’Crashes said it shouldn’t.
“Don’t be scared,” she said. “No one is any good at first, and some of us still aren’t.”
Nagle echoed her. “Most of us still aren’t.”
Getting over your nerves is the first challenge, but how about learning to play the actual game?
“There are three rules, and the first one is not to be a dick,” O’Crashes said.
The others are a bit more structured, such as not putting your foot down while rolling, and not crossing the centerline until the team taking the ball out crosses the line first.
“Once you come out and watch us and hop into the game, you’ll get it,” Nagle said. “The learning curve is short but not steep.”
While the Girls Gone Polo group has only recently gotten rolling, they have big goals for the future.
“We’d love to get enough people regularly playing (four on four), so we can go to the bike poloships,” Nagle said.
But until the numbers are met, Nagle and O’Crashes just hope for more people to join them.
“This sport is unique, fast-paced and it has improved my bike handling skills exponentially,” O’Crashes said. “Plus all the women are tough, brave and good looking.”
As the summer winds down, you won’t regret trading in your games of Marco Polo for bike polo with some rad lady bosses.
Just remember to bring a helmet and a right attitude. Falling off your bike hurts less with a smile on your face.
For more information, search “Girls Gone Polo” on Facebook.