Sunday marks opening day at Myopia Polo, and 2011 team co-captain Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld is asked if he has any special wishes for the big day.
Yes, he said; “Sun.”
That’s a tall order, given the recent weather, which has many area residents wondering whether they’re in Hamilton or Seattle. Unfortunately, forecasters are calling for the chance of showers this weekend, which means that the kickoff ceremonies and the CG Rice tournament may have to wait.
That’s all right. The weather doesn’t dampen Colloredo-Mansfeld’s enthusiasm for the upcoming season. He, co-captain Albert Ellis, and the 40 member players, men and women, who round out the teams, have got some great tournaments coming up, and all feature some well-known pros as well as local heroes.
Upcoming are the Captain’s Cup in June, the Cyril-Harrison and the USPA Chairman’s Cup in July, and the Maryland Tournament in August.
“Again, these are competitions that will match the best of our players with visitors,” he said.
That’s all part of the tradition. Play at Myopia Polo is always world class. In a sport in which handicaps range from -2 to 10 goals, with most players qualifying as at 1, Gibney Field routinely hosts 10-goal players. Athletes are as likely to be from Hamilton as they are from other centers of stellar polo, such as Argentina, Spain, India and Brazil.
A welcoming atmosphere
In addition to the top-notch competition, Myopia Polo offers another recreational opportunity for area residents to enjoy. Without putting too fine a spin on it, Colleredo-Mansfeld says it's just a whole lot of fun, and that he and his team want to make sure that more area residents, not just members of the polo community, come on out and enjoy the day.
That’s odd, isn’t it? Myopia Polo has never lacked for spectators. At each match there are at least 100 people, and, depending on the weather and the teams involved, up to 200.
"No, no, no," said the co-captain, who only four years ago got the polo bug himself (after years of foxing with the ). "This is a sport that has appeal for many."
Certainly in addition to the play, acessibility is one draw. Games are open to the public. Tickets for adults are $10 and children under 12 are free. Tailgating is welcome, and there are parking and seating spots very close to the field.
Said Colloredo-Mansfeld, “I want people to know that they'll really enjoy coming to see these games. In part because it's so much about the synergy between the horse and the rider, polo is such an unusual sport. Plus, at Myopia, the venue is spectacular. Up at the field people can park and sit right up close to the game and hear and see every movement. Also, those who are new to the game can learn from commentators describing everything that is going on, so no matter what your awareness of the sport, or your skill level, it's rewarding all around.”