While this may happen in some circles, when I think of Polo I think of losing any idea that I’m cool by missing the ball for the fifth time in row, and wearing endless amounts of jumpers to training in December because it’s colder than you actually thought possible outside. Instead of champagne, members of the Polo club are usually found drinking endless amounts of tea, or holding hot mugs to warm our hands.
Nowhere is this truer than at Nationals in February; we are all sure they manage to make the club colder to sell more hot drinks. But I’m getting ahead of myself, you’re probably wondering what on earth Polo is and why you should pay any attention to what is assumed to be a sport for spoilt, rich kids.
To put it simply, imagine hockey on horses but with really long croquet mallets and you are pretty much there. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never even laid eyes on a horse before. We are more than happy to teach you how to ride at the same time as how to play. You would be surprised how fast people pick it all up; people who had never ridden before come along to Nationals and play with everyone else like they had been on a horse their whole life. University polo is one of the best ways to get into the sport and odds are that once you’ve had on go you will want another one, because you are determined to hit the ball a bit further than you did the time before or to go a bit faster than you thought you could.
Unlike other sports clubs, we don’t have a set team and we don’t require you to come to every single training session, but we would always be happy to see you - even if you just came to the club for a chat and the aforementioned cup of tea. While it feels never ending, winter season does eventually come to a close and the weather gets far warmer. The polo world moves out of the arena and onto the grass pitches where you can fulfil all your dreams of riding round in the sunshine like Prince Harry.
Polo prides itself on being a family above all else and providing people with friendships that last well beyond university, and every family has to have at least one big party. Rock the Polo is ours. Rock the Polo is our chance to get everyone together, Polo or not and have what has been described as the best night of the year.
We start the night with a match featuring some local professionals playing, to show us all how it should be done. Once the game is over, we get onto the important part… dancing the night away with all our friends. Good music, friends and a cheap bar, what else could you want from life? To make it all even better we have a deal with local taxi companies so they won’t charge you an arm and a leg to take you home.
The club is like a family: we hang out, go for dinner and generally have the best of times together. University polo is an amazing chance to play a sport that is unlike anything else and at Holloway we are surrounded by some amazing Polo clubs who allow the club to come along to matches so you can see the pros at work and be inspired before your next lesson. And if you’re worried about looking like an idiot when it goes wrong, don’t worry. Prince Harry fell off two times in a row on national television, it can’t be worse than that!
From reading this blog, it Is clear to see the passion and dedication of the Polo committee. Caitlin (President) has been extremely active in organising events and structuring the club right from the get go this year. We will be working with the committee to arrange a massive event in the annual calendar which is Rock the Polo. I can echo what Caitlin says in her section as I have also heard that it is the best night of the year and will certainly be in attendance to this event which brings many different clubs together to appreciate the sport of Polo.
Coming to university is all about trying and experiencing new things and sport is a great way of achieving this. Whether you are in a club already or not, I would certainly implore you to get involved in something next year, and something different if you can! Polo is a fantastic example of a sport which you probably would not have had access to before university, so this is the perfect place to start! If you need any more information about the club, or any other sport then get in contact with the Polo committee or myself.
Registered charity no: 1141998
The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX