Legend has it that in Persia, thousands of years ago, polo was played with the heads of their enemies: bloody, gory, defeated heads, humiliated and trampled on even in death.
Women in flowing robes were confined to playing in the dark — a man’s game was a man’s game — and opted for a more civilized ball: impeccably engraved silver with slits like sleeping tigers’ eyes, a flickering candle inside, flirting to be chased.
Polo would not stand to be chained to one playing field or set of rules. Mythology has polo sprouting up in various exotic terrains with no evidence of any communication between countries — a union of man and horse in play so potent in its identity, that it evolved into its own Jungian collective unconscious.
In more explicable terms, the sport spread by enthusiasts who became converts from India to Britain, and on to American shores.
Argentina’s vast countryside and cow ponies parlayed polo to romantic heights, punctuated with Spanish expletives, and the proverbial “caliente” Latin polo player.
In America, crowds topped twenty thousand plus, before world wars shattered game-times everywhere — at least for a while.
Polo, like its powerful ponies, endured.
Ask any polo player. There are only two ways that you stop playing polo: you die or go broke.
The unspoken rules whisper “break a few rules” along the way: pros risking their careers by seducing their patron’s trophy wife; handicaps are raised to accommodate the less than capable sponsor; while male teammates kept silent as their female teammate spoke in throaty male tones, using only a first initial to detract from the stark femininity of her illegal polo gender.
Players come and go — bankruptcies, injuries, “country club” jail time, divorces and wills divide property and horses; but somehow polo prevails: tantalizing, beckoning and seducing the ever-wild, beyond-the-edge heartbeat of man and his mount, and, in time, recognizing that two can play this game.
Ask any polo player: “No means yes
Enter the woman polo player, at long last legitimized and spurring her mount on to man’s traditionally sacred turf.
It’s show time.