Long live Shelley, LA9 Champ. Safe travels to you on the next stretch of your adventures, darling. Thankful to have been your teammate. To get to be co-ambassadors of the best jeans in the world with you @rybdenim. And to call you a friend.
""I care about WTF-NB players, I just don't want to care about them when it puts my dreams and goals at risk.." .
I'm not proud, but after worlds I realised that's what I was doing. I am now playing at highest level of bike polo, thanks to my teammates of course. But also thanks to those great players who gave me a chance to play with them and prove that I was able to do something. Those opportunities allowed me to play against better teams and players, and each time I was improving because the games became increasingly harder as I came closer to the final stages of each tournament. Of course training and solo polo help a lot. But really it's the people who believe in you, who push you to your limits who help you overcome them.
I really thought I was doing ok with WTF-NB (women, trans, femme, non-binary) players. I played a lot of tournaments with women teammates and it was really good and fun. But those were not major tournaments "that matter"... and for those tournaments (French champs/Euros/Worlds etc) I just wanted to play with the best players I could have. It was never about gender or trying to make opportunities for other players so for me it was ok. There was nothing wrong, and now after talking with women players from different regions, I realise that there is more I can do to invest in their growth instead of caring only about what I want to achieve for myself. People trusted me to play with them while I was coming-up and I should have done the same for WTF-NB players - but I didn't really.
Maybe I wasn't paying attention to what was happening around me, so I didn't see the problem and everything was perfect and beautiful. I thought, "bike polo is awesome, finally a sport where everybody is nice. It's mixed-gender so there is no sexism." So the thing is (at least for me) being respectful towards WTF-NB players is the bare minimum we can do on and off the court."
Mongrels Captain, Morgan Hidalgo, and back to back World Hardcourt Bike Polo Champion.
The Annie Oakleys. 2nd best at Ladies Army 9.
Thank you for teaching me to have fun on the court; to breathe; to let go of feelings of anxiety, frustration or inadequacy. Thank you for helping me work out some of my righty-lefty kinks. For kicking me out of the net. For making me coffee each morning. Thank you for being fierce yet supportive; abrupt yet insightful; intense yet tactful. Thank you for keeping things weird and encouraging me to get a little weird myself. Thank you for providing feedback both on and off the court and for pushing me to push myself to be a more confident player. Thank you for ordering me to shoot and be selfish. Thank you for your top shelf lefty-bullshit goals. Thank you for teaching me about constellations and comic books. Thank you for showing me that I am a better player when I smile, laugh and enjoy myself with my teammates.
Thank you for your leadership, experience and wisdom. Thank you for inviting me to play with you and Sam. Thank you for amazing playmaking and passing. Thank you for stitching up my elbow brace, cooking breakfast sandwiches and keeping the fridge stocked with bubbly water. Thank you for showing me how to be strong and smart on the court and scoring so many clutch goals. Thank you for being patient with me as I tried to figure out my role on our team. Thank you for your clean style of play and work ethic. Thank you for your tenacity, grace, grounded words, humility and humor.
To both of you, thank you for listening to me talk about strategy obsessively off the court and enduring my non-stop chatter on the court. Thank you for fighting with me through the losers bracket and helping me make it to the final game two years in a row. We were a first time team and we finished 2nd at Ladies Army 9. I’m so grateful it was with both of you.
Yay to my LA9 mixed gender team (whose name I'm not even sure of) for taking first!!! This was a seriously fun squad that fell into place last minute but came together on the court seamlessly. Thankful to have had a blast with all of you before heading to Lexington.