A Polo Match at The Villages

3/16/18 Friday in The Villages, Florida

Since our last post of Zion National Park we drove lickety split for home, trying to be ahead of a big storm headed for Montana. We also changed our original plans from driving through Montana to driving through eastern Oregon, then up into Washington. We managed to only hit some snow on our way although we were greeted with numerous flakes falling as we entered Spokane! Such a cold welcome.

Since that day (Nov 4, 2017) we’ve been involving ourselves in our new home life of exercise classes at 8am Monday through Friday, with line dance classes for me and golf for John in addition. We’ve enjoyed time babysitting our grand kids periodically and even did a lot of bush and tree trimming in preparation for winter. The snowfall wasn’t so bad this year. We also chose this time to remodel our kitchen, getting it finished just before Christmas!

For a treat we committed to a couple cruises in the Spring (March 18-25, then March 25 to April 1) out of Tampa, FL. In conjunction with those cruises we arranged time to visit with John’s cousin Lynn and wife Nancy who live nearby in Clearwater and were sweet to drive us from/to the airport and to/from the cruise ships. We also got to spend time with our good RV friends Greg and Marcia who live in the Villages, east of Clearwater. Besides showing us all the wonders of The Villages (wonderful homes whose owners get to access all sorts of activities befitting the over 55 crowd). Thus they generously invited us to a real Polo Match.

I love horses anyway, so this was extra special. It also happened that the week before we flew to Florida we saw a piece on “60 Minutes” about a special polo match in Argentina. It featured the two top polo players and their horses. The special part is that the #1 polo player uses horses that are all clones of his favorite and the all time best polo pony (They’re called ponies in polo). Everyone at that match wondered whose team would win. They explained that the ponies are 80% of the game. It was an extremely close game and at the end of a tie round, the team with the cloned horses won. Note this sort of cloning is not allowed in the US.

Back to the Spring Polo game at The Villages. Polo started way back, before Christ, somewhere in Central Asia (China, India, Mongolia maybe) as way to train horses used in war. The game has 4 periods called “chukkas”, with a half time break where the onlookers rush onto the empty grass field to tap down the divots created by the horses. There are 2 goal posts at each end indicating where the small white ball must be driven for a point. If the referee standing outside that area notes the ball came through successfully he holds his red flag up, down if it didn’t. They hit the ball with the wide part at the end, not the narrow part, so it won’t fly so far.

Polo 1

Stadium Seating. We were parked and using lawn chairs just outside the hedge on the opposite side, from which I took this photo.

 

Polo 2

The farther player has just hit the ball. You can see the polo mallet hanging from the wrist of the nearer player.

 

 

Polo 3

You can see the ball towards the right. They get clustered when trying to knock it away.

Polo 4

The man on the right is the referee. Notice his horse’s tail is not tied up.

Polo 5

This player has just hit the ball hard towards the goal and is dashing to stay ahead of the others and hit it again into the goal area.

Polo 7

Here we are at “half time” with Greg and Marcia as other onlookers continue filling the divots behind us.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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