It is not an easy thing to build a continental sports organization from scratch. From the first coffee table and Skype meetings to the structure NAH has today has been a massive transition, and it’s an evolution that is still in the very early stages.
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Though bike polo is over 100 years old, the birth of hardcourt bike polo occurred only 13 years ago, in Seattle by a group of bike messengers merely trying to pass time between jobs. Being played in alleys, parking lots and on rooftops, bike polo grew quickly thanks to the love of bikes and bike culture. Tournaments were organized as side events in messenger races, known as alley cats.
Due to the spread of the game through messenger culture and the internet, there were roughly 20 cities through North America that could claim established clubs. In 2008, Chicago hosted the largest competitive tournament to date (35 teams), the first North American Championship. This tournament was run in conjunction with but independently of the 2008 NACCC messenger championships. The Chicago event exploded the scene and galvanized the North American hardcourt polo community, which quickly agreed that the time had come to begin organizing tournaments with hardcourt as the sole focus.
Early in 2010, North America democratically elected 21 representatives from across the continent, establishing North American Hardcourt – the first organizing body that would begin to address the concerns of a rapidly growing constituency. NAH has thus far been instrumental in influencing and encouraging a shift to standards: a uniform set of rules and refereeing, a swiss-round tournament format, familiar court dimensions and goals, and so on.
In 2017, NAH made the decision to host both the NAHBPC and WHBPC in the 5v5 Squad format. This is something that the community had been experimenting with for several years. Europe had just recently come off their continental cup which was a huge success in Italy, and Fixcraft (RIP) hosted the PHBP tournament which fostered a great deal of enthusiasm with players. The NAH was the first organization to take this format to the the world stage.
There are close to 200 clubs in North America alone, with nearly 1000 players competing in the most refined version of the NAH Tour Series. This culminated with the most successful North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship to date, setting records for viewership and arguably the deepest field of competitive players in any tournament.
If you are interested in a broad history of bike polo, check out the Wikipedia page.