Monday, November 21, 2011

Polo Match

We were invited by a friend to attend a polo match yesterday at the nearby Jaipur Polo Club. These Delhi polo grounds have been in existence since around 1900 (older than the city of New Delhi, which was established in 1911). As most know, polo was popularized by the British in the 19th Century and is now played throughout the world. But the game actually originates from right here in India. The first official Polo Club was established in India in 1834. None of us had ever gone to a formal match before, so we were excited to attend.
The grounds were beautiful and well-maintained. They are largely a product of the Indian Army. Because we weren't VIPs we didn't get a chance to see the inside of the clubhouse. But we did get to sit in very nice, covered seating. The crowd included quite a collection of expats, wealthy socialites and Delhi personalities.

The match was the 2011 Army Championship, so it was quite an affair. We walked along a red carpet to enter the pavilion. Many of the attendees were formally dressed. A few men wore dinner jackets with their Jodhpurs and riding boots. Some of the wives were adorned in pearls and high heels. The players were all current or retired Army officers and the game was face-paced. Audrey and Evan enjoyed watching the horses race by as the players whacked the ball up and down the lush, green field.
At the halfway mark it is a tradition for everyone to walk out onto the field for "divot stamping" (called the "tread-in" here in Delhi). Wine or champagne is served and the spectators socialize while everyone helps to smooth out the playing field by stomping on torn patches in the turf.
Can't help but love these moments...  attending this polo game was another unexpected opportunity and new experience for the SayerRanch... Such a lovely way to spend an Autumn Sunday afternoon with friends and family.

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