By Ron Allen
The soccer shoot out is a way to decide a winner when all other means have been exhausted to determine the winner of the match. Now, along comes polo and the shootout takes the sport to a new level where the pros are fed up and fans are left scratching their heads.
The fate of your polo team is now determined by taking penalty shots on goal. WHAT? Yes, it’s the new normal to decide who advances to the semi-finals in American high goal polo. Supposedly to cut back on teams deliberately throwing games.
One might ask how an entire three-week tournament can be decided over one of the least skilled plays in the sport. Teams with identical win/loss records show up for this putt-putt exhibition contest where one miss hit puts you out of the running. What ever happened to playing tiebreaker games and the winner’s advance to the final four? Can you imagine the NFL instituting a rule where field goal kickers face off to determine who goes to the Super Bowl?
As American polo continues to lose ground with little or no growth it’s amazing how the rules can be changed to make the game even more boring with a undefended penalty shoot out. At least in soccer the goalie gets a chance to try and keep his team in the running.