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Deep in the Middle…
of the XII FIP World Polo Championship
You already know that we’re not giving you a minute-by-minute rehashing of the games, because there are better sites to find that info.
No, – we want you to get a feeling of how it felt like, being at the Championship games from a Polo fan’s perspective. The way Troy and I saw the games. So that you will say to yourself “Hmm… I should go there too and have a good time.”
A player from Pakistan waiting for the lineup.
And because pictures speak more than words, I’m including what we saw all day long. When I’m lucky, the light conditions (aka. the Sun) are good, and photos turn out crisp and in vibrant colors. So you’ll see from the pics that now and then, the weather was bit overcast and we even had a few light sprinkles in the afternoon.
But no ill weather hampered the incredibly wonderful day we had.
You see what I mean when I speak of beautiful surroundings…
You see, Polo in Wellington is more than just watching a ball game. It’s an adventure, a retreat from every day’s hustle and bustle, a soothing spa day for the soul.
The anticipation starts immediately when you enter one of the many magnificent clubs that we have in our area.
Today, it was the gorgeous Valiente, a Polo Farm that is right on top of our list, with its beautiful and well-manicured grounds.
As you drive in, you could already sense that something magical was about to happen…
An Argentina player practicing “stick and ball” before the game.
We found a place to park our truck, fieldside.
|TIP: Whenever you visit a Polo game, most likely you will be tailgating. That means: bring folding chairs, the kids, the dog, food and drinks, comfortable clothes, and definitely sunscreen.|
Out came the chairs and we settled in, got the camera ready and put on our hats to shield our eyes from the sun’s glare.
It was 9:15 am and the fields were still covered with morning dew. At that time of the day, you could smell the lightly spiced air that emerges from our typical South Florida soil.
And the sun was still low, so we made sure we watched the game where we would have the sun at our back.
The most cheered on game and fun to watch: Spain vs. Mexico
The FIP World Polo Championship is a big event, where eight different pre-qualified countries compete against each other.
Today was the second day of competitions. We chose to stay and watch the entire day. Troy and I took photos during every match, and we did not regret that decision to be there, from morning to late afternoon.
How it’s done: fans showing support to their team
There were four games: Pakistan vs. Argentine, then Spain vs. Mexico, Australia vs. Uruguay and lastly, USA vs. Italy.
One aspect we hadn’t known before today’s games, was the engagement of the fans that came from abroad. Man, oh man! These people know how to cheer on their teams!
I surely wish that we would be able to spread this kind of infectious enthusiasm here in the US. People would chant to support their teams, they waved flags and played drums. They jumped up, they yelled and they sighed with disappointment when their team missed a goal.
It’s how it should be.
Spain vs. Mexico is in full swing at the XII FIP World Polo Championship
All the teams were made of very good players, so we knew that these would be very fast games. And exciting. We were not disappointed!
They fought hard and gave their best to bring home victory for their country.
Australia held their own against Uruguay at the XII FIP World Polo Championship
The second and third games were played on fields adjacent to Valiente’s stadium. Troy and I liked sitting on the top level with friends, because it gave you a great view and shelter from the middday sun.
As you can see in the picture below, the stadium is placed in a nice setting, and I know you would enjoy being there. Come on out and join us!
There is no reason why you shouldn’t.
Impeccable fields amid beautiful surroundings await you at Valiente
It was that time of the day where you get a little hungry, so we left between games to grab a sandwich from a local shop and more coffee for me, Gatorade for Troy.
You can always bring your own food and drinks, and most of the time we do that too.
The fact that you can bring your own meals and beverages makes Polo in Wellington a great alternative to most other events. You’re not stuck having to buy food you don’t like at a price you don’t want to pay.
Who gets control of the ball? Australia vs. Uruguay during the third game of the day.
Back to watching Polo it was, and we came just in time to see a vigorous competition between Australia and Uruguay.
Now keep in mind that you’re not going to know everything about the sport if you only go see it a handful of times.
It’s just like with any other sport. You become a fan by getting to know the game over time, getting to know the players and perhaps the supporting team. At least know who they are, so you can enjoy the game experience more.
Try to listen to the announcers and you will learn a great deal. Follow the ball and you will see the best performances.
One of the truly valuable facets of watching Polo is socializing and meeting new people. But it’s the friends you get to see again, and with who you can watch the games together.
It is always, always nice to see familiar faces.
Here comes Denise, Larry, Sandy, Elizabeth, Judi, Karen, Scott, Jimmy, Steve, Norm. When we see you, it makes our hearts happy. You are friends, and what a positive feeling you give us!
Today was no different. We got to see many of our friends and talk to them. Hang out with them. And what a joy to see Norman Gitzen pulling in with his famous sculptures in tow.
Always something new happening, always great to be there.
A little bit of rain didn’t stop these players from teams USA and Italy to show off their skill
Capping off the day was the US/Italy game, which was exceptional and vigorous. One player had to be replaced due to injury, but the match continued on bursting with high energy.
In the end it was a long, eventful day. But – we can look back with a treasure trove filled with memories for years to enjoy.
My sincere wish is to inspire you to come out and join us next time. As I had mentioned, Polo is best watched among friends!
A powerful ending to a marvellous day of Polo in Wellington!
Can you enjoy Polo games in Wellington, even if you don’t live nearby? Absolutely! Just go to ChukkerTV.com to watch live. We recommend it!
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