Polo Players Edition

NOV 2011

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/44977

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Rising stars What is your most memorable moment in the sport so far? My most memorable moments have been ᑁᑃᑈᑇᑆᑀᑁᑂᑄᑅᑃᑉ ᑅᑔᑓᑄᑀᑂᑃ ᑇᑐᑘᑒᑕᑑᑐᑠᑄᑀᑂᑀᑔᑙᑐᑗᑡ ᑆᑐᑡᑓᑒᑄᑀᑉᑙᑖᑢᑗᑓᑕᑐᑁᑀᑇᑈ How did you get started in the sport? I started playing in high school with my dad in a small club in Waimanalo, the Honolulu Polo Club. My dad played his whole life and set me up double-chukkering a couple babysitters until I could ride better. What college did you attend? I went to the University of Virginia, graduating in 2007. It has the best collegiate polo program by miles. It's also way warmer than Ithaca. Did you have one person in particular who inspired you to play? Easily my father, who got up to 5 goals. I considered him the best player in the state when I was growing up. He kicked a lot of ass, and wasn't fancy about it. What do you like most about the sport? I like the speed, the teamwork, the horses, and the effortless nature of hitting well. It is unlike anything else, and the best way to spend time. What has been your biggest challenge in improving? It has always been hard for me to 22 POLO PLAYERS EDITION beating up teams rated higher through team chemistry, almost always with my dad. There is no equivalent to knowing exactly what another player is going to do, and then the speed which can come out of that knowledge is virtually unstoppable. What is your goal in the sport and how do you plan to reach it? I want to improve my play as much as I can playing the summer season in Hawaii and then traveling abroad in the fall, winter, and spring. I know the best way to [improve] is to play as much fast polo as I can get into. What is a typical day for you? That depends entirely on where I am and what job I have. In Hawaii I am currently marketing and expanding the trail ride operation that pays for our feed (all imported from Oregon). Meet members of Team USPA The United States Polo Association established Team USPA in 2009 to grow and sustain the sport of polo by identifying talented young American players and providing opportunities to grow their abilities. participate in anything faster than 8-goal polo. The Hawaiian circuit, while excellent considering its size, is not very fast. Every time I've made a big improvement in my play, it has come on a trip somewhere, most notably Argentina where the 2-goalers are either under 12 or over 60 years old. If you could be on a Dream Team, who would the other three players be? I'd play with my dad and two of the guys I went to college with: L.J. Lopez and Chevy Beh. [It would be a] killer 10-goal team. What do you look for in a horse? Size is really important to me. I need to feel stable leaning out, since I'm no jockey. Beyond that, speed, agility, and a smoothness—a type of movement that is efficient and lends itself to the maximum conservation of energy. Intelligence and heart are also underrated. If you have horses, tell a little about each horse and what you like best about it. We have 15 playing horses but my favorite is the best horse, both athletically and mentally, that I've ever ridden. She is 15.3 hands, has Top Gun speed, shuts down and moves laterally off your body weight, and also has an amazing mouth. My confidence on that mare is double my other horses, since she can do things other horses can't. She is way more horse than I need out here and it is a wonderful situation to be in. [She is] better than anything I have played anywhere. Those responsibilities are taking a huge chunk of my time right now, but I imagine that once we have established a routine I will have more time to concentrate on improving my riding, ball control at speed, and penalties. Which players do you admire most? My dad for toughness, Memo Gracida and Kimo Huddleston for anticipation and preparation, Julio Arellano for the nearside, Herman Louie-DeCoite for speed, and Juanchi Lagos, Miguel Astrada, and Juan Martin Nero for being bad [Argentines] who get it done and don't cry. Other than polo, what are your interests? I love sports in general. I play summer league basketball when I am home in Hawaii. I also enjoy some spearfishing or bodyboarding, depending on the water conditions. I got a degree in english lit, and love to read. I think most movies and TV programming is a time suck. I also play a little on the ukulele, but I'm not as good as Bruddah iz was. Tell something about yourself that most people don't know. little Me and [President] Obama (aka Uncle Rock), went to the same high school.

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