Polo Players Edition

Intercollegeiate Interscholastic 2019

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.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1072212

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Page 58 of 75

57 I/I MAGAZINE - 2019 A FAMILY AFFAIR e Grant Sisters Maddie Grant- Maryland Polo Club '18 P laying polo with my two younger sisters, Abbie (17) and Sophie (15), was something I took for granted until recently because I had never experienced polo without them. We were always together, whether we were playing, driving to the barn, mucking stalls, cleaning tack, or exercising the horses. Our normal routine consisted of going to the barn to feed before school, carpooling to school, coming home and feeding before practice, then going to practice. I moved away for college this year, and what I miss most is being able to play with my sisters on our own horses. We all learned to ride together when we were very young and grew up horse-showing together. However, playing competitive polo together was something we were not able to experience until recently, when Sophie became old enough to play in I/I games. My interscholastic career started when I was in sixth grade and was an alternate on the Maryland Girls' Varsity team. The first year I was a starter for the team was in 2014 when I was in eighth grade, I won my first National Championship with Marissa Wells and Stephanie Schultz; Abbie was the alternate. This team went on to win Nationals again the following year in 2015. Marissa graduating and Stephanie moving on to other endeavors opened up two spaces on our team, which Sophie and our other teammate, Catie Stueck, successfully filled. Even though we always practiced with and against each other, the 2016 I/I season marked the first time my sisters and I got to play together. I was in tenth grade, Abbie was in ninth, and Sophie and Catie were in seventh. We went on to be the youngest team to ever win a National Championship, with Sophie winning her first and both Abbie and I winning our third. In 2017, our team decisively made it to the National finals, but lost in a shootout, 12-11. To be completely honest, this was a devastating loss, but I wouldn't have wanted to go through this experience with anyone else. Sharing this with my sisters meant that we couldn't just forget about it and go home; it followed us home. This made us extremely motivated and propelled us into an undefeated 2018 season, culminating with winning the Southeastern Regional Final 22-6 and National Final 26- 3. While I love polo because of the horses and intense competition, being away from home makes it much clearer that my favorite part of the game is being able to share it with my sisters. I miss the long drives to away games singing the whole way, the late nights spend tediously juggling our demanding schoolwork while trying to watch game film, and the early mornings singling horses. I miss being able to play with them and communicate with them nonverbally, or the opposite: being overly communicative and not worrying whether or not your teammates will be mad at you. I know this is what everyone wants to know… whether or not we ever fight. The answer is, of course we do and I'm sure many polo people have witnessed it! However, it is never anything that a day of being extra kind or a random funny thing that you just have to share with them can't fix. I have actually found that we fight less when we are together on the field. What usually ends up happening is that we have our disagreements about fouls or plays around the dinner table after a game. There's something special about playing with family because you know them so well. We have played together so much that we can tell whether one of is going to back it or turn it, where we should go to receive a pass, or who should go up to cover someone on a breakaway based on eye contact or body language. And those skills come naturally; no amount of practice or coaching can help you know someone like you know your siblings. I would definitely say that Abbie and

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