Against my better judgement, after a patchy summer of polo lessons here and there, He convinced me to enter my first ever polo match oh his team. It was on grass, made of four seven-minute chukkas — that couldn’t be too hard, right?
Wrong. Those seven minutes seemed to stretch on for hours, and after the first chukka, I was exhausted. I had barely touched the ball and felt like I was always in the wrong place, and at the first pony change I felt disheartened that I was letting the team down. Until, to my surprise, I checked the scoreboard.
We were winning?
It turns out, while I was getting my bearings on the pitch, He had been having an absolute blinder and had scored multiple goals. I realised then that unlike showjumping or dressage, it doesn’t fall all on you to perform well to win. This cheered me up immensely, and I relaxed and started to have fun for the rest of the match.
It was wonderful, cantering around enjoying the scenery, occasionally making a misjudged swipe at the ball and trying not to fall off when my experienced mount made a nippy turn as the ball headed in the opposite direction. It soon because apparent I had a natural talent at getting in the other team’s way and ‘riding them off’ (unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this skill as it was the fantastic pony deciding he’d had enough of listening to me and instead using his initiative to be part of the action!). He continued to be on flying form, scoring goal after goal, so that the end score was 8-7 to us (He had scored all eight of those goals but I like to think it was a team effort…).
During the prize giving I felt great! Winning while barely even touching the ball? I decided I could get used to being part of a polo duo with Him…
However, a few weeks later I realised I needed to be careful what I wished for. On holiday visiting family, I surprised Him by taking us to a polo club in California for some chukkas as guests. I was hoping to repeat my (I mean, our) winning streak.
While He had been a rarity amongst the dressage divas, polo was usually a more male dominated sport so He usually didn’t attract any attention. However, I had completely forgotten that in the U.S, He had the ‘English factor’, and that there was no way a six-foot-something guy with a classic British accent who could actually play decent polo WASN’T going to stand out! What made it ‘better’ was the fact that our chukkas were filled with some of the most gorgeous, glamorous women I’ve ever seen, who played like absolute demons yet didn’t seem to sweat. AT ALL. I meanwhile, was doing my best impression of a tomato in a sauna — not my best look.
Our team won again and I actually scored a goal (but it might have been because the other team was busy swooning at Him…). He was invited to stay on for some of the faster chukkas, and I was watching from the sideline next to some of the polo models, one of who was kind enough to point out that I did look quite similar to “my brother”. Oh dear…
Meanwhile on the pitch, one of the glam girls was about to score a hard fought goal, when He tackled the ball off her just in front of the posts, and stormed up to the other goal to score. The polo model actually howled in frustration, and I don’t think she found Him as dreamy as before (phew!).
All I can say is, while I enjoyed being on His team, I’m glad that He was too competitive and oblivious to realise He did himself out of an American date… Guess He’s stuck with my tomato-sauna impressions for now.
When we got back, I did sneak off for a few more polo lessons so I can pull my weight a bit more next season — I can’t risk getting kicked off His winning team!