The value of defeat

By Alejandra Ocampo

The current Argentine season it is indeed very competitive, with a Triple Crown that saw four different finalists as happened in 2021 (La Natividad and Ellerstina, in Tortugas; La Irenita Grand Champions and La Dolfina, due to play in Hurlingham next Saturday). That makes people wonder what’s coming up next, with no less than the Argentine Open around the corner; what surprises would come in the last leg of the most coveted polo trophy worldwide.

A few days ago, Camila Cambiaso, the wife of the legendary Lolo Castagnola and the mother of the fabulous duo, Barto and Jeta, quoted via Twitter that “nobody is invincible”. And of course, the first team that came to mind were the green jerseys, who only needed two minutes within the last chukka to decide the extraordinary final of the Tortugas Open, against Ellerstina; up next, they weren’t able to defend their title in the Hurlingham Open, after losing to La Irenita Grand Champions in semifinals. Perhaps it was an unexpected defeat, mostly because Pablo MacDonough & Co. are playing their first season together. So Camila’s words worth a good thought…

However, it is worth noting that in 2021, La Natividad, who had just claimed the Hurlingham Open, got off to a bad start in Palermo, with a tough defeat against Chapaleufu, one of the teams that emerged from the qualification. So, it is possible to say that the phrase “a stumble is not a fall” fits perfectly within the Cañuelas-based foursome. Because at the end of the day, and following an unforgettable championship match against La Dolfina, La Natividad claimed the Open, Palermo, the tournament everybody want to win.

“You learn more from a defeat than from a victory”, quoted Lolo without hesitation, when asked by PoloLine on the issue. And he added: “In the match against La Irenita, we made many mistakes, which we have to correct. In fact, there are many mistakes always; even when you you, there’s always something you have to improve in order to get better.  Having lost La Irenita taught us many things we are going to implement; I mean, there’s always things we have to adjust but, above all, we have to do our own thing, give a look at the horse lists, ride our best horses, plan every detail carefully and play our own game”.

His son, Barto, La Natividad’s brains, agrees with his father: “You always learn from defeat. We made a lot of mistakes, and other things worked good, but this will help us a lot in the future, Palermo above all. The defeat against La Irenita made us know that we can lose against anyone; so the idea is to remain fully concentrated in every game”, says Barto, who also praised La Irenita: “They are a remarkable team; we didn’t lost against a nobody, we did lose against a very good team who are very well mounted and is composed by four great players. They did play a remarkable match. We are in the same league in the Open, so perhaps we will have a rematch, in a very competitive season, with great teams”. 

According to Barto, what makes La Natividad so special, especially when it comes to a defeat and mostly, with Palermo ready to go is that “there are a lot of good vibes within the team, we all get along very well and we all push on the same direction. That’s the best we have”.

So, if defeat make a team stronger, would it be possible to repeat the extraordinary Tortugas Open final, at the upcoming Open? Let’s see what Lolo has to say about it: “I really don’t know. The final in Tortugas was indeed spectacular, but Palermo is different and there’s no question about it. It’s what everybody aim at”. 

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