The Polo Report
By Steve Crowder
Dec. 23rd 09

Gonzalo Avendan0 should also be “Patron of the Year.”  Gonzalo wrote a letter that makes more sense than anything I’ve seen in a long while.  He also won a few tournaments in Florida and California.

Gonzalo is not talking out of the side of his mouth.  He is a 40 something Patron from Argentina.  When he was a young, upcoming player,  he gave up polo to make money.  He did that well that’s why he is now a Patron.  Gonzalo also got back in the game at this age with a vigor usually seen in 20-year olds.  He has been playing straight through for nearly a year and has already gone from 1 to 2 goals during this time. Gonzalo will be rated in twenty ten or 7 days from now. He is also a very good example for our young people as well as Bob Jornayvaz,  as proof you can always make the money then come back and play polo.  Gonzalo will be a leader in this game. We only need 20 more now . . .  maybe we will get them.

Polo has been getting the s_ _ _ kicked out of it the last couple of years.  This is especially true in CA and to some extent all over the USA Why?  There is one thing that is really true and a cure that makes sense. New players, especially new Patrons, over the last decade have become very limited in the game because of some new style of play which was and is to take advantage of the weaker,  less gifted player.  It is turning on the ball and dribbling behind or in front of you. It made it almost impossible for the less-talented player to take the ball.  If he did, it usually resulted in a free shot for the other team.

The English Polo Association started this year to put a stop to this by changing the rules and by making it a faster game for both patrons and fans.  These are two very necessary parts of Polo and necessary to return to a better, faster game for all including the horses. The Argentine leaders, seeing this, jumped on board and immediately put it in action with their spring season that just ended.  It sounds like it was a roaring success, even though the turning and the dribbling came from their region in the first place.

I remember a great Argentine Polo player doing this far before it became stylish.  It was the late Eddy Moore. Now,  for some reason, after seeing it, it became  a success in two major markets.  Our country, the U.S. is not jumping on the bandwagon with this rule change.   I hate to ask, but why we need changes more than anyone else?  If this rule change will help gets Patrons and fans to the game,  it will definitely make it easier to attract new players as well as new Patrons. So talk to your USPA Governor and ask for the rule change.  You do not have to take my words for the truth. Check around with people who have been there and done that. Here are the 3 changes!

1. It is a foul to turn the ball if a player is coming behind with the intention to play. It does not matter if you touch the ball or tap it to change the line, the player from behind has a right to pass. You have to hit a backhander.

2. It is allowed to hook the backhander below the shoulder line.

3. You can take a man on his right or left side even if he is tapping the ball, doing a swing or about to hit the ball. It would not be a foul to be under another player’s swing. (this one needs some clarification no doubt )

These rule changes will definitely bring many Patrons more into the game.  Especially those who are here, playing polo now such as Gonzalo, Lyndon Lea,  Mark Ganzi, Julian Mannix, Robert Jornayvaz and many more. Billy Busch might come back and be 6-goals because now, he can really mix it up. Talk it up  and make it count. Polo needs People and we need them ASAP.  I ask that you participate in driving change and I ask that you  talk to the USPA Governor in your circuit..

Other big news  today from down  south in Argentina . . . Mariano Aguerre retired from La Dolfina. He turned 40 on a 40-goal team.  He won the Argentine Open about 7 times and he won his first one a quarter of a century ago (25 years or in 1994)  with his father-in-law to be at that time, Gonzalo Pieres.  Mariano has had a very good career here in America where he really played the most I would think.  He has been the head Pro for Peter Brant for about 15 years and they have captured everything they played in at least once and many several times with the Famous White Birch Team. They never came to Texas or to California that I know of,  but they never had to.

Congratulations to Mariano and his Family. I do feel bad for his son.  His Mom’s Dad is 10-goals, two uncles are 10-goals and his Dad is 10-goals.  If he is not 10 goals he will not have a home.  Maybe he should be a politician or a priest and live happily ever after because in Polo he HAS to be10-Goals.  That would be a tough start.

See ya.

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