Now for something completely different
If you are looking for a new hobby or pastime, how about something in the sports area. No, not bowling, or shuffleboard, they’re a bit too mundane. How about something that will allow you to stretch out a bit? No, not Yoga, forget Tai Chi…we are talking about the Sport of Kings. Yes, Polo. (No, not the tee shirt).
In case you didn’t know, here are some facts about the game you should have in hand before you suit up for your first chukka.
Polo is a horseback mounted team sport. It is one of the world’s oldest known team sports.
The game in its modern form originated in Manipur, a northeastern state in India, and was popularized by officers of the British military in the mid 19th century. Today it is played all around the world, with well over 100 member countries in the Federation of International Polo. It is played professionally in 16 countries, and was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1936.
Do not be alarmed by the terms, “played on horseback, or team sport, or British officers”…would I steer you wrong?
The game is played by two opposing teams with the objective of scoring goals by hitting a small hard ball with a long-handled wooden mallet through the opposing team’s goal. Each team has four mounted riders, and the game usually lasts one to two hours, divided into periods called chukkas. If you are playing outdoor or ‘grass’ polo you will have six chukkas of seven minutes each.
The playing field is 300 yards by 160 yards and eats up a horse’s legs like popcorn at the movies. In an average game, each player will use 6 horses. Two teams of four players, six horses each, and by the way, 2 horses apiece for the umpires and you’ve gone through 52 horses in an afternoon.