Sir Winston Churchill is said to have said that one should be “magnanimous in victory, gracious in defeat.” Sir Winston, an avid polo player in his youth, may have learned that maxim on the polo field.
Sadly today, we find some teams unable to lose graciously, even when playing with old friends. Polo is a game where there has to be a winner or loser, especially in the RMPA International League, where drawn games go to sudden death overtime. Yet, with some, there is always an excuse, bad behavior, even calling umpires cheats.
It used to be the norm that as soon as a game ended, the losing team would give three cheers to their victors. That is becoming a thing of the past, as some teams sulk off the field, and worse, complain like brats after.
If you have lost, your professional player may not the best person to listen to after a game. He may be busy deflecting blame off himself.
Easiest to push blame to are the umpires. Calling an umpire a cheat, within hearing distance is not a clever move, and usually earns you a red card. You might get away with it once, but usually not twice, especially if you have your facts wrong. In an era where DVD’s of every game are given to all teams, everyone soon knows if you are right or singing the wrong song.
There was appalling ungentlemanly behavior in Australia when a neighbour drew attention to a very personal and tragic family incident to oppose the hosting of the FIP World Championship at the Sydney Polo Club. If there were fence sitters, they certainly did not come down on the side of the complainant.
The polo world is built on old-world traditions. It is a sport for gentlemen. You either are a gentleman, or you become one. Otherwise you just a ball hitter, and aren’t really counted as a polo player by your peers.