The FIP Snow Polo World Cup’s opening ceremony was pretty spectacular. Sure, there were some speeches, but they also had paragliders and microlights flying past. Bagpipes and pretty girls lead in the teams, who were mounted for a parade. No one remembered to tell the riders there would be a rainbow of fireworks, which went off in huge booms. scattering the horses and sent a few running back to the pony lines. Loads of fun!
The polo has been very good. The field is large by snow standards, at 150 yards by 75 yards, so there is a lot of galloping. There have been a few falls. It isn’t grass, so galloping turns can take you down. The teams that have played on snow and in the arena have a definite advantage. It’s been a steep learning curve for the teams that had never had experience on snow.
The English are the first to go through to the quarter-finals, having won both their matches. They are looking verty solid, even though they have been hard fought wins.
It’s a pleasure to watch a legend like Memo Gracida play. He’s a such a gentleman and the ultimate pro. He goes into every game completely prepared, knowing everything he can find out about his ponies, his opposition and their ponies, and even the tournament officials. It all goes into his polo brain and get processed into a WIN.
The tournament is going well. There are issues, of course. The type of issues we have at all world cups. We have to deal with it. That means me. I try to get all the team managers together and we discuss it and try and find a consensus of what we do. We have defined the rules further on penalties, nd have changed the format of the penalty shoot-outs, as the first rotation of 15 yarders was way too easy. They shoot from the 25 yard line, and after the first rotation will go to sudden death penalties, with the 25 yarders defended by a player, like a goal-keeper on the goal-line.
It is great fun meeting the who’s who of polo from around the world, making new friends and finding new dickheads. There are all types! I am always astounded by how dumb some smart-looking and super-successful people can be. Thankfully they are outnumbered by the very sensible and easy going polo majority. Polo really is a small family and everyone knows one another. It makes it much faster to find out which are the red-headed stepchildren that should be avoided.