Life Lessons From the Polo Field. Polo is Played for a Short Season and Therefore Every Match is Precious.

October 2, 2013 at 4:01 am (Freedom, Health, Letting go, LoVe, Polo, Relationships) (, , , , , , )

When I went on the San Diego Polo club website back in March to check on opening day I saw something I had never noticed before…Polo School.  Immediately my blood started rushing through my veins, my heart beat faster and I could hear the hooves pounding the grass beneath the ponies. What was this sensation I felt? I called and reached no one so I drove by the clubhouse one day and inquired as to when the school opened. I was told by a very nice lady that it would be soon and to call the number on the card she gave me for updates. I did check back…weekly.

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Finally opening day for Polo school. and I was out of town! I came the second week ready to play (well sort of ready anyhow). I played foot and ball and took my first lesson and it was love at first chukker. I had a great first game and signed up for more lessons that same day happily tossing my American Express card to Gillian the school goddess and coordinator.

Week two and I realized already this game was changing me at a very basic level. I was whistling during the week, happily getting my dailies accomplished and thankful I had the opportunity each week to be an athlete while riding a four legged athlete.

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Many of the people I learned to play polo with dropped out at some point and new people came to see what polo was all about. Schedules and other factors constantly changed the teams and opponents from class to class.
photo (16)Sami shown here was an early horse I rode after Chester and, often as not Sox (of unscheduled dismount during the Red Baron bash fame) and so I got a little better each week as the summer warmed up and the weeks passed. I also took riding lessons during the week near my home to strengthen my muscles and balance my seat.

There is something about understanding that this life is seasonal and the players and ponies change in time that reminds me that this is the same in my life. I must be fully present in the match in front of me. It will never be repeated. This is the game, the only one that exists in space and time…the one I am in right now on the horse I am on and with these players. Even the dirt in the arena changes as hooves stomp it down and divot holes as well as marks from hitting the ball or the dirt as happens also changes the earth upon which we ride.

The thing about polo is everybody wins. Just showing up and playing is winning. We only lose when we fail to show up and keep learning and playing and more importantly learning from our mistakes. Polo is a complex game with a zillion rules and possibilities since it is a high action contact sport. It has been referred to as “a bone crushing sport” . When we are playing even at a trot we feel the wind in our hair and picture ourselves galloping across the grass at top speed making the goal all while looking perfectly coiffed in the saddle. The more reality based version would involve massive amounts of sweat coming from deep within our cells pouring down our backs and fronts as well as near misses and unscheduled dismounts (read thumping the ground).

When I am not playing and sweating and loving every minute there is the beautiful thing called a pro match held on Sundays at clubs around the world in various seasons. Ours ended on Sunday but we went out with a bang! Eight chukkers sudden death with a tied match 11-11. The crowd was on the edge of their seats for every minute of this match as it was played full throttle as it was for the USPA Spreckles Cup. It ended as it started full energy and everything that makes polo the great and enduring sport it is.

Charity stomps the divots

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