Forget American football for now. There is a small game known for getting a worldwide draw in South Florida, especially in Broward County.
Hardcourt bike polo was originated in Seattle in the early 2000s and is a subtle form of grass cycling, invented in Ireland in 1891.
Players form three or four teams and use small hand-painted characters from ski poles to skillfully advance the ball to the goal.
These games are played on the streets and in difficult areas such as basketball courts, tennis courts and roller hockey rinks.
With kindness and balance, the games are fast and played with good strength. Athletes in street clothes ride on fast-moving bicycles and often customize their bikes with handmade wheelbarrows, shortened handlebars and move the brakes to one side so that players can brake with one hand.
The game was held in South Florida about 2007, when a team of 15 or more players will meet at the roller hockey rinks at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale. Initially, the FTL Bike Polo meetups were inconsistent until the name came to prominence and re-emerged in late 2011. Now the group meets every Thursday night.
In court competitions can be violent, but apart from court players they promote a cohesive community, often sitting on weekends, celebrating birthdays or simply wandering around. When players are on the road or going to other cities, they can connect to other areas of the polo field and find a bed to hit on.
The Bike polo is divided into seven areas throughout the United States. Kreally ‘K’ Kasai, a long-time resident of Fort Lauderdale and a cyclist, says: “South Florida was one of the last places to bring a bicycle pole, so the increase in excitement we are seeing is the arrival of other cities. See a huge increase now.”
After that, the sport grew and spread to Miami.