by U.S. Polo Correspondent 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.


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