A tale of two souls.
The London Open last weekend was an epic tournament. As usual there was a mixture of weather. The drops that didnt stop on Saturday, offset beautifully by the gradual heavenly weather on Sunday. The courts that were built on friday by an army of volunteers went up in double quick time. Prepared A frames and L braces cut and screwed by the good folks who went to Ryan McCaigs workshop each evening after work.
Big Ed, Tim, Hayden, Ryan, Nik and more made the court building volunteers job a simple pleasure. Friday was the bench minor but sat and sunday were the main event. The tradition of teams mixing it up for the Open did not disappoint, with some all stars teams appearing in crappy t-shirts with weird ass names.
The Dead Locos Sebastien and Antonio playing with me (B) in our redneck singlets no exception. Two teams seemed especially strong.
The Milky Way – Luca, Will, Clement.
And the Magic way – Josh, Emmet, Dodi.
The movement of these two teams infinitely more creative than the monikers handed to them by their sponsors and you could see a showdown coming from the first morning. Being that they were in different qualifying groups, they would likely not meet until the final.
Emmet, Josh and Dodi bossed the winners bracket with some beautiful passing and moving. All strong players in possession, it was lovely to see the trust and reading of the game result in play after play of triangular pressure being exerted on the oppositions goal. Will, Clem and Luca, looked comfortable even though they got knocked into the losers bracket, by Octopussy, earlier than expected.
The losers final against Spring Break a classic game and even though SB seem to be bridesmaids at this tournament, even Jono the ‘inventor of the london open’ must have been proud to see two mix up teams in the final. Luca putting the Milky Way into the final with an imperious display of physical bike control and technical ball handling. The fourth goal in their win probably one of the best solo goals i’ve ever witnessed.
A loose ball moving toward the spring break goal. 50 / 50 with Ryan for the ball Luca immediately protected the line of attack, checked Ryan, (who is twice his size) off the ball before coming back left picking up the still rolling ball and with lightning quick hands dragging it left and ‘smart shotting’ it right under the advancing keepers BB.
There was a n “oooh” from the spectators. The speed, strength and skill from the little superstar astonished the crowd. Speaking to a few players after, we felt like we had witnessed something, like the game had evolved a small amount in that one goal. Such ferocity, with speed under control a joy to watch.
Unfortunately SuperLuca met his big brother in the final and the influence that Seattle has had on Emmet there for all to see. No longer the solo, slaloming player, i’d be surprised if i had seen him hold the ball for longer than 5 seconds at a time. With a calm assuredness, Emmet, Dodi, and Josh set aside The Milky Way in a single final. You can never tell whether those extra games impacted on L/W/C and it could have gone either way, but It was great to see Emmet win after having the privilege of playing with him twice in the tournament, (he winning MVP in 2011) and once with Luca last year.
I’m so proud to have been able to play with both of those guys last year. French polo has made Luca stronger, more consistent and very confident. He also loves to use the word ‘derriere’ on court.
Emmet as mentioned above bloomed in Seattle. Watching them play I’m reminded of the phrase … you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Bull. Those kids teach me something new every time i see them.