"For better or worse, we are what we learned as children." -- Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

How You Know You're Retired

     You know you're retired when, as happened to me yesterday, three pieces of mail arrive at your door:  one from AARP, one from Medicare, and the third one advertising the local assisted-living facility!

     How else do you know you're retired? When you begin to realize that you have a lot of time on your hands and can take a day and go off and do something new and different and a little off-the-beaten track.

     So this past weekend B comes up to me and says, "There's a polo match over by the river."

     "Yeah?" says I. "So what?"

     "I've never been to a polo match. Why don't we go?"


     "I like the horses," she says by way of explanation.

     So we went to a polo match . . . proving that we have a lot of time on our hands. So we must be retired.

Here they come!

     Luckily the announcer, a pleasant older woman with a southern accent, offered some color commentary, along with calling the action of the game, so we could understand at least a little about what was going on. For example, she told us that a polo field is ten acres. You can fit nine football fields into a polo field, and still have room left over.

View from the booth

     Each team has four players, numbered 1 through 4. As best I could figure, the Number 1 player is the scorer; the Number 4 player is the defender; and Numbers 2 and 3 are in the middle to set up plays.

A number 4 player

     All you have to do is hit the ball with your mallet into the opposing team's goal, which is undefended by a goalie. But it's definitely harder than it looks.

Scrambling for the ball

     First of all, the horses -- or ponies as they're called -- tend to bunch up around the ball, getting in each other's way. And then someone might break out and suddenly the horses are flying -- at up to 35 m.p.h. we were told.

On the run

     The ball can get tangled up in the horses' feet, or go sailing up into the air. It can't be too easy to strike the ball when it's bouncing along off the bumps on the ground and the divots left by the horses' hooves.


     Players are ranked from -2 up to 10. So if you're ranked at 1, you're not the worst, you're three steps up the ladder. Don't ask me why.

     The horses look very smooth and elegant when you're watching them across the field. But when they get close, you can feel the weight, the power, the speed of the animals. It may be the sport of kings; but there is nothing delicate or formal about it.

Yes, women play too

     I really don't know if polo is a rich person's sport. We did see a few flutes of champagne and some fancy women's hats and people nibbling canapes under the shade of tents. But there was a lot of  tailgating going on as well. And the only admission charge was $10 for parking. Which makes it a lot more reasonable than . . . oh say, the U. S. Open tennis championships going on in New York right now.

Flowers, drinks and hats

     Which is what my next post is all about . . . for yes, being retired, I do have the time to travel up to Flushing Meadows, Queens, to watch a couple of matches at this premier American tennis event.


DJan said...

I know next to nothing about polo. Now I know a little more, but it's a strange sport in any event. Tennis is much more of a spectator's sport. :-)

Juhli said...

Sounds like a wonderful afternoon of people, horse and ball watching.

gigi-hawaii said...

David has been watching the U.S. Open. Too bad that Osaka lost in the fourth round.

Tabor said...

Always good to try something new!

Celia said...

Good for you two. There was a polo field near us when I was 7-8 years old and I loved watching the horses. no idea what was going om=n :-)

Arkansas Patti said...

I think that would have been fun as I have never seen a match. I did once care briefly for 7 polo ponies when their truck broke down in front of my property in Florida. I boarded them for 4 days and was panicked the whole time. The cheapest horse was worth $45,000. It is a rich man's game.

Olga said...

And why not go for those new experiences when the opportunity pops up.

Wisewebwoman said...

A polo match! I'd love it!

What a great opportunity.

I played a lot of tennis in my time so love to watch it too, one of the few sports I watch.


Janette said...

They used to play polo in the fields near the Lincoln Memorial. I'd take the kids up to watch on Saturdays. Those five years of being a stay at home mom was like being retired---with a ton of work on the side.
Tennis- that is a fun sport to watch!

Barbara said...

I've never watched a Polo match and I think it sounds interesting but I can never figure out how it is that the horses are not continuously hit by the ball or the mallet.

Tom, how about a post on Brexit. I can't figure the darn thing out. I think I understand why they want out but what is the problem the government can't seem to work out?

Tom said...

Barbara, I'm flattered that you think I could make any sense of it. But all I can figure is what Winston Churchill said about Russia -- "It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" -- could be said about his own country today.