Have you ever attended a polo match? Right here in New England, we have the rare distinction of being home to the oldest active polo club in America. Since 1887, Myopia Polo Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, has been hosting polo tournaments on Gibney Field, including the first formal intercollegiate game between Harvard and Yale back in 1907.
Last Sunday, the inaugural Northshore Magazine Cup took place on a cool and sunny late spring afternoon. For just $10 per person – with children under 12 admitted for free – spectators could put down a picnic blanket, or sit and tailgate with friends, surrounded by towering evergreens, crisp blue skies and a well-dressed crowd. Both Linda Smith and I happened to have a free afternoon, so we parked along the field with a picnic basket filled with refreshing beverages and light snacks, then later socialized under the tent with some of our Northshore friends.
Some of the Northshore’s best players and “ponies” charged up and down the field at a lively pace in an attempt to knock a small white ball through the opposing teams end posts. Each match lasts about one and one-half hours and is divided into periods called “chukkers.” The game is officiated by two umpires who ride alongside the four players from each team, with one referee positioned at midfield. Watching these amazingly graceful competitors maneuver the 300 yard long field is a site to behold. Just the sound of them galloping, turning, stopping and starting is equally moving. These horses are bred to love the game and they want to win!
Families, pets and all age groups are welcome spectators at this friendly “game of kings.” Half-time offers an opportunity for the crowd to get out on the field and mingle with one another while assisting in a bit of field maintenance by searching for, and stomping back into place, clumps of grass or “divots” kicked up by the horses hooves.
Closing remarks were delivered by Richard Sedler of Northshore Magazine and the winner’s cup was awarded to the Blue Team. I was happy to see that this is an equal opportunity game, with a number of women skillfully competing for each side.
Matches are held at Myopia Polo Club on Sundays throughout the summer and conclude with the “Last Chukkers Cup” on October 2nd. Click here for more information and to view the current schedule. I just may have found my new favorite sport!