Lee and I are both from small towns known for horses. Even so, neither of us had ever attended a polo match before. That’s why we bought a Groupon on a whim for a ticket to The Houston Polo Club. One fine Sunday, we headed out for an experience of a lifetime. When driving around Houston, the usual view looks similar to this:
Yet, we exited the busy intersection of 610 and 10 to find ourselves on a long inconspicuous path into a forest. Having adjusted to always being in view of a 12+ lane Houston highway system, we were bewildered. Eventually the gravel roads steered us to a sight we’d never seen before: a genuine polo match.
Though polo has the reputation of being a snooty sport, the people present were nothing of that sort. We were surrounded by friendly folks in seersucker and big hats, just as I had idealized before arriving. Many-a cocktail could be spotted, and we enjoyed pretending to lead an lavish lifestyle for the afternoon.
The experience was primarily educational. We read fun facts from the program they handed us at the entrance and tried to act knowledgeable about the oldest polo club in Texas. Turns out, polo matches are divided into six seven-minute periods called chukkers. Players must change ponies every chukker. Between the third and fourth chukker, spectators take part in the old polo tradition of storming the field to stomp the divets, chunks of grass that have been torn up during the match. After reading this, we expected to see a few children run on the field during halftime. Much to our surprise, all the spectators began fleeing to the field to stomp the grass. How could we not join them?
Then, suddenly, a car crawled onto the scene. A daintily dressed woman popped the trunk to unveil a surplus of champagne. Everyone casually grabbed a glass, then continued stomping divots and cheersing one another.
This was by far my favorite part of the day. A close second was seeing ponies in neon colored leg warmers. Lee and I returned to the stands on cloud nine, blissfully enjoying the rest of the match. The evening ended with a typical Houston afternoon torrential downpour. After relishing the high life, Lee and I plan to pretend to be posh as often as possible.