We play bike polo (NYT’s video) in downtown Little Rock, at MacArthur park, on two run-down and long-neglected tennis courts. It’s good in a lot of ways – semi-dedicated parking, a locked bathroom we have the combination for, trash cans. Years ago, some roller-hockey guys added solid sides to one of the courts, two-foot-tall walls made of wood with curved corners, but they’ve really deteriorated. The second court has nothing but weeds and junk in the square court corners. It’s hard to play polo when you have to stop continually to dig the ball out of the Sonic cups and lumber scraps.
The guys have been trying to raise some money to repair the sides on court 1 and to install new short walls on court 2. If we can get money for supplies (or donated lumber) together by September 11, the Clinton Foundation/Americorps will help with volunteer labor to get the work done. The fundraising efforts have fallen pretty flat so far, so Monday night, they met at Vino’s and decided to have a tournament this weekend.
With four days to plan, we pulled it off. DaveO sent me some artwork he’d just done, of an inexplicable goat-mermaid thing with a polo mallet. Bryan and I made lists and bought food. I ordered some stickers to sell. Our friend Brian Gould, who works for a marketing/printing place in LR, pulled out his sample box and printed DaveO’s mergoat on a bunch of shirts for us to sell. I borrowed a giant smoker grill thing (from a mysterious source.) Nathan and Julie set up teams and planned brackets. Laura Sanders made me a super cool apron to keep our money safe. I dug some beautiful foamcore out of the dumpster at work and made signs. And everybody invited all the people we could think of.
And it was pretty good. Lots of people turned out to play. Parents and friends and facebook buddies stood in the shade and ate hamburgers and watched. The Arkansas Bicycle Club routed their Sunday afternoon ride toward us, and we had root beer floats available ($2 each) when they rolled up. We charged $10 for each player in the tournament, $5 for burger and hotdog plates (vegetarian options available) and $1 for drinks. The tshirts sold for $10 each. Everybody had a good time at our four-days-to-plan, seat of the pants tournament, and we made enough money to buy our lumber. Next week, we’ll have some really nice polo courts!