In a small New Jersey pool, New York Kayak Polo club hosted their annual winter canoe polo tournament. Being just across the Hudson from New York makes for a fun and scenic (skyscrapers not mountains) weekend, with lots of bars and restaurants for Friday and Saturday evening entertainment.
I play with Carolina Storm, a Charlotte NC based club, and unfortunately it’s a sad reflection on the state of US canoe polo that New York are our closest rivals, a mere 10 hours drive north.
Coming from a European canoe polo background, I now realise how spoilt I was to have three canoe polo clubs in Greater Manchester and a double handful more within an hours drive. New York’s tournament represents a rare chance for east coast teams to gather and play some competitive polo outside of their own club sessions. It’s eagerly anticipated, despite the small pool and long drive.
Carolina took two teams: our B team, Carolina Shipwrecks, didn’t loose a single match in their league and retained their B Team Champion status. Our A team, Carolina Storm, won eight games straight with some impressive results. Sadly we lost our ninth, which happened to be the final!
One thing the European tournament organisers could learn from New York is how to look after their teams! There was an endless supply of snacks and food and drinks. There was coffee and pizza and re-usable cups. Hummus and chips and apples and bagels for breakfast. It was really quite impressive. On top of this, the games ran to time and every team got a lot of pitch time (9 18 minute games in a weekend!).
So a big thank you Luke and New York – it was a great weekend.