Polo Players Edition

DEC 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 61 alone oversaw Senior and Junior Divi- sions of five teams each that competed regularly throughout the winter season. These games were augmented by many others such as those that pitted local teams against visiting ones (e.g. Cleve- land, Detroit and Des Moines), an annual Invitational tournament that started in 1931, various college competitions (e.g. a Harvard-Yale encounter in 1939 orga- nized by the respective Harvard and Yale Clubs of Chicago) and an East-West chal- lenge in 1936. Evenings at the armory soon evolved into fairly elaborate affairs with the pro- gram consisting of a band concert at 8 p.m. concluding with the national anthem. Around 8:30 p.m. two polo matches would commence separated by a colorful military artillery drill exercise at intermission. Besides its own jam-packed schedule, the armory also won the rights to host the prestigious National Indoor Championships on several occasions, including at least a three-year consecu- tive stint from 1934-1936. These excit- ing games would pull in some 10,000 to 15,000 enthusiasts for the series. One further interesting tid-bit: periodically, the 124th Field Artillery Armory would arrange what was then termed a "juvenile polo game." One program from March 1939 listed a contest between the Wildcat Girls and the Rough Rider Boys! It was noted that these youngsters were all from the Junior Polo Farm in Lake Forest, Illinois. Probably the second most impor- tant center for indoor polo in the Mid- west was Cleveland. The city had brag- ging rights to two major facilities: the castellated-gothic style Troop A Cen- tral Armory on the east side of town, which took up the game in 1922 and the Equestrium on the west side, which was inaugurated in 1929 with a playing field measuring 260 feet by 90 feet along with some 4000 seats. Like its Chicago neighbor, Cleve- land had a broad mix of polo activities ranging from hometown teams taking on out-of-town ones, college competitions and a polo league of area teams. Among the local squads were Troop A, the Pes- simists, the Cleveland Riding Club and even one with corporate sponsorship (Fisher Foods), which was quite unusual for the period. One indication of the appeal of arena polo in Cleveland was the fact that in 1933 the Equestrium alone had fielded 14 teams of three players each and had attracted an aggregate audience of some 54,000 that year. Also of note was that Cleveland apparently had a fairly active women's indoor polo program at the time which counted among its adherents the redoubtable Pansy Elizabeth Ire- land (see PPE, June 2013). One distaff encounter that in fact was recorded was between Cleveland and a blended visiting team with players from Wash- ington, D.C. and Asheville, North Car- olina. (As an aside, indoor women's polo was much more prevalent during the 1920s and '30s than has generally been recognized but unfortunately, its documentation has been fragmentary at best.) Beyond Chicago and Cleveland, arena polo was actively pursued else- where in other Midwestern locales such as in Cincinnati at the Riding and Driving Club of Cincinnati and in Detroit at the Detroit Riding and Dri- ving Club and at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum. The game also took root at the Gross Point Hunt Club and Bloomfield Open Hunt Club rings in Michigan; at Fort Sheridan in Illinois; at the Mill Creek Riding Club in 124th Field Artillery Armory was located on 52nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue on the south side of Chicago. It was completed in January 1931 with one of the largest indoor playing fields. An advertisement from a 1935 edition of "Polo." Indoor polo referred to a type of polo played mostly indoors, but outdoors as well.

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