Rick Sears, one of the most influential umpires in the world, has passed away. Before he did, he wrote something that I think every polo player should read:
1. Players should be held responsible for the plays they make.
2. If you allow the Patrons or players to take charge of what happens on the field there will be problems both on and off the field. Most umpires are paid to do an unthankful job, but still do their best. Umpires are not out to decide the outcome of a game, but do their best to call it. I have already seen players umpiring games. Those games have gotten out of hand, because the players umpiring are afraid to call fouls or technical because of fear of retribution from those players when they umpire games they play in later. It is very hard for an umpire (Pro or Not) to call a game without the support of the management.
3. Players have to remember it is a 50-50 deal on the field. In other words, players create the fouls. (Which I was told by a ten goal player who agreed with me) Umpires just call the game. Umpiring is a lonely job. You make no friends and lose some you already had. But as a pro umpire I or we will not be intimidated by players or patrons or sometimes management. We will call the game fair and as we are told by the rules of the USPA.
4. One last thought is that a lot of players before they argue about a rule, they should read the interpretations and know what some of the rules are. The new interpretations are put out for each new year. Teams for each new year should go over the new interpretations and discuss them and if they have any questions ask the USPA or any pro umpire to get ready for the season. The players have to remember, umpires do not make the rules they just enforce them.
To read the Hurlingham Polo article by Sam Morton on the late Rick Sears, please click here.