If you know what magical movie masterpiece the title is quoting from, you know the way to my heart.
[Answer: it’s A Knight’s Tale, but you knew that already]
Admittedly, that quote is referring to the antiquated sport of jousting, and that’s not actually the subject of this post.
But the sport we’re going to chat about does include boys (and one girl) on horses (rather, ponies) with sticks (or mallets, really).
Can you guess what it is?
If you’re from the United States and weren’t raised in Country Club Culture, you may be scratching your noggin trying to come up with an answer. Or maybe, like me, you’ve seen the movie “Pretty Woman” and you know a thing or two about POLO.
Basically, this game is like soccer mixed with golf on horses. Two goals at either end of the field, two teams, and a ball that needs to make its way through. There are tons of rules that govern the game: which direction the ball must be hit, which side of the horse the mallet has to be swung on, and which direction you’re allowed to ride your horse in–I’m not going into any of that because, frankly, it’s hella-boring.
I hope that last remark brought you back to the 90s when that expression was coined.
Los Angeles has its own polo club and it’s located at Will Roger’s State Park. It used to be home to its namesake before he died and left it to the state–on the condition that polo be played there regularly. There are many requirements for membership (duh, the rich just loooove exclusivity) but some of them are that you must own several polo ponies and have lots and lots of money.
When you’ve reached the elusive silver-spooned level of existence, you get to sit apart from the “commoners” and be fed gourtmet food and top shelf spirits while you disregard the announcer’s requests that you “stand back from the field or risk getting trampled!”
However, to watch the match on the less accommodating side of the field is absolutely free–which is my favorite price.
One of my pals and I went on “British Polo Day”–presented by Land Rover. If you didn’t know it already, they let you know pretty quickly. There were signs, Land Rovers driven on the field, Land Rover specs announced, DID WE MENTION IT’S SPONSORED BY LAND ROVER?
Some of the boy’s Polo team from fancy, schmancy, Eton College in England came to play and, from a distance, I couldn’t see how hot they were, but my pal and I decided they’d be worth flirting with if we could get through their aristocratic fan club (spoiler alert: never happened).
The American team? Bloated, middle aged, pot bellied, white dudes.
God Bless America.
We had one young-ish woman on our side, but since the Eton folk didn’t have a full team come across the pond, she played for their side.
It’s no wonder that by the middle of the first game, we were significantly having our butts whooped by the jolly old English boys.
Although, one of the Eton kids was unseated from his steed. After he fell off, the horse just galloped around the field as many of the Mexican/South American stable hands tried to subdue him.
Also: OUCH for the horses!! Balls whacked at their bodies, old farts banging at their sides with their knobby knees, and mallets swung way too close to their heads. It was almost painful to watch sometimes.
The most interesting part of the day, from an anthropological perspective, was listening to the auction they held before any of the horse games had even begun. I couldn’t tell you what cause they were raising the money for (as it was rarely mentioned) but here are some of the items and what they sold for:
- A book about polo signed by the author: $4,250
- A 38 year old bottle of scotch (signed by the Duke of Argyll who was in attendance): $6, 000
- Brompton Folding Bicycle: $6,000
- A Pelican Pro Gear Back Pack: $3,000
- A week long vacation at a home worth $30 million, anywhere in the world (apparently there is a network): $15, 000.
Astonishment was the purest and most prevalent emotion running through my mind as I watched these people easily raise their hands and pledge thousands of dollars to things that were valued at thousands of dollars less.
Makes me wonder what I’ll do with all of my riches when I’m a millionaire…but that’s another blog post. Unitl then, enjoy this photo of a bunch of dudes prancing around on ponies.
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