The Polo Report
By Steve Crowder
I have been in Polo since 1975, and I was a bit over 25 years of age when I became involved in the sport. Since that time, I’ve seen a lot.
Over the years we seem to be no better off and maybe a lot worse? Why? We probably had as many Members and most were North Americans. Canada and Mexico were then USPA Members and still are. They are, however, but not US Citizens. Since some people thought we would enjoy playing in the Olympics, which would have been great but so would being a Patron without a budget, it does not exist even if sometimes it seems that way.
I have bitched about this for probably 25 years. I’ve been on committees and knew they did not need your info. just a presence and that was 15 years ago. We had no voice. It was the good old boys who made the plans, but they did think about the future. Not just about their checkbook.
I do think the USPA is helping young people in the game quite a bit. They are helping them get started. I think the program is a bit wayward in some ways, but it is helping. HOWEVER it is a total line of BULLS—T. These Young People get all fired up, work hard to get there and then get dropped like dead flies. NOT A CHANCE IN HELL TO PLAY THE HIGH GOAL WITHOUT A CONNECTION, NO MATTER HOW GOOD THEY MIGHT BE. WHY? They have no protection whatsoever and ABSOLUTELY no help from the USPA. I think the means USA Players have no where to go. WHY? There are 10 foreign players ready to go, maybe not more talented, but they have access to horses and connections. This is what the UK figured out 30 years ago and changed it where their youngsters were not deleted. We knew it, but our leaders said no, this is the USA we do not do it. Our last 10 goal player was 17 years ago. GREAT IDEA. That is done and cannot be changed, but this is now and we can fix it.
Just like we have to have 26-Goal… WHY? We have over 3000 members and Sunny Hale was responsible for 40% of them, not the USPA. Look at Womens Polo and how many are playing and tell me I am wrong. This is as big of a loss as J. T. Oxley and Bill Ylvisacker. These are the men that made polo and right behind them were Steve Gose, Norman Brinker and the best last person to make Polo what it is today was John Goodman. He is why IPC exists today, but in the end …without him it may and is going the wrong way.
Patrons are wealthy and love the game of polo, but they are also intelligent and they have been very lucky. As a whole, they say NO to the 26-goal.
This is where I get confused for many reasons. First this is the US Open and it is the USA where polo is run by the USPA.
We have rules, but they are not enforced. When they are enforced, the game is more consistent and thus makes it a game that all can enjoy and understand. We now have access and use drone footage, which is the best thing to happen to a sport played on such a large field. The drone lets fans see the game and makes it work for television. I sometimes think we just let it go too long and then you are the bad guy to rein it in. I think that is where we are at now.” Funny Yaza Gabor line It is not true I never cleaned house every time I got Rid of a husband. I kept the house,” this maybe the answer for Polo. As you see in Argentina they are looking to the future are WE?
I recently talked to one of our leaders and asked him about this situation. His reply was “Some still want it,” but when asked, he did not say WHO. I think we need to look in the mirror. There were 14 teams in the 20-Goal in Feb., 3 teams in first 26-goal tournament, 4 teams in Gold Cup and now 6 teams in the US Open. WHY?
For some reason not as many want to compete in the 26-goal. This is obvious. Three teams jumped in because they wanted to help and there was no other High Goal to play. It looked a lot easier except for 2 teams and they were ones who wanted it. I think that answers where the power is … in the teams. I also think we have some new good people on the front line. who are either not able to make decisions or afraid to take that step and this has been a problem for 30 years, but we have never had this much to lose before.
SOME IDEAS :
Take a lead from some of Javier Tanoria”s ideas. Cut costs, improve polo and increase the fun for Patrons. This can be done by …
– limit 6 or 7 horses per game
-no throw ins after first
-out of bounds other teams hits from the spot
These alone will turn it into a Patron-friendly game. They will make the game more exciting for the audience and add a couple things to it.
All approved US POLO Events – players under 4-goals must be US Citizens. US Open – 22-goals and all the same 4-goalers and under are US Citizens unless they are the Patron. Limited horses as Javier suggests. It will make the game it more equal in some ways … not completely as 7 best horses money can buy still has an edge, but has to use team much more so it improves the game.
Maybe we will again have a young player in the U.S. with a chance to PLAY HIGH GOAL POLO.
We will then have a chance to have another American Star because he will get to play and be a star.
I TRULY BELIEVE YOUNG PLAYERS OF AMERICA SHOULD BE THE VOICE OF US POLO’S FUTURE AND LEADERS WHO CARE ABOUT THEM. Those people exist right now. They are the people who know Polo in all ways such as … Tony Coppola, Bob Puetz, Jim Newman, etc. People who are in the core business of polo … not just Patrons or who used to be. Today the world has changed and it is not going to stop. The last real motivator for US POLO, SUNNY HALE, is no longer with us. She will be greatly missed.