International Polo Club Hosts 4th Grade Polo Day

Polo Club Hosts 4th Grade Polo Day

Alex Webbe

Keeping with a tradition that is as old as the club
itself, the International Polo Club hosted as many as 1,400 fourth grade
students from area schools including Elbridge Gale, Bink’s Forest, The Kings
Academy, Wellington Elementary School, New Horizons and Panther Run for a day
of polo.

The day began with a caravan of yellow school busses
rolling down Pearson Road on their way to Wellington’s International Polo
Club.  Escorted to the imposing polo
stadium, the students witnessed four teams of boys and girls, each with a top
professional player to lead the team.

Argentinian 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso, considered by many
to be the greatest player in the game today, was joined by son Adolfito and daughter
Mia; American 9-goaler Julio Arellano and daughter Hope took the field on
another team.  Five-goaler Andres Weisz
and his son Mackenzie were also in the competition as were American 7-goaler
Luis Escobar and his son Lucas.

Four teams were assembled with young players aboard top
horses to the thrill and amusement of scores of cheering students.

“It’s a tradition that has been going on since the club
was founded,” said International Polo Club President, John Wash.  “For many of these youngsters it’s their
first introduction to the sport of polo,” he added, “and the fact that there
are boys and girls their age on the field wielding mallets and charging down
the field on horseback makes it even more special.”

The students were introduced to the sport by IPC polo announcer
Tony Coppola and given some of the basics of the game, with one of the more
polo–informed able to answer every question posed to the group, earning him
the honor of flipping the coin to start the game.

The students were asked to come down onto the field for
the traditional divot stomp and a treat of Kool-Aid as they traipsed around the
massive field assisting in the maintenance of the surface by replacing divots
that were dug out of the sod by the galloping horses in the course of the game.

“It’s humbling to think that over the course of ten years
we’ve introduced something like 14,000 students to the game right here in
Wellington,” mused Wash. 

The competition ended in a tie with the La Dolfina team
winning in a shoot-out (all of the penalty shot attempts had to be taken by the
kids, no help from the professionals).

At the end of the match the kids came down to the field
where an autograph session ensued with the young players being flocked by
admiring onlookers.  Each student
received a goodie bag before loading back onto the busses to return to school
where they would share their day’s experiences with anyone who would listen,

High-goal polo tournament competition at the
International Polo Club continues on Wednesday with the semifinals of the
20-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup.  The
finals are slated to be played on Sunday at 3pm in the very same stadium field
that hosted so many fourth graders Tuesday morning.