Polo season has begun. Normally, I shrug off at anything that interrupts watching the NFL playoffs, but ever since my magazine did an article on the International Polo Club and polo champion Jeff Hall, my interest in the sport has piqued. And as a rookie spectator recently at the opening match, I had no idea what to expect. For all you other rookies out there, here’s my guideline to your first-ever polo match:
Get there early: Check-in is always a long process, so try and beat the crowds by showing up well before the match begins.
Attire: Pretty much anything goes. But it is a high-society sport, so if you’re going to wear jeans, make sure they are stark white and by Citizens for Humanity. Otherwise, men can feel free to ditch the suit-and-tie look. Instead, put on a sports coat and khakis and feel comfortable. Women are seen in everything from the latest cocktail dress to a more casual frock for daytime. A big floppy hat is appreciated but not necessary.
Spectators: Half the people watch the game, half just socialize. Just note that if you are in the west-side stands (a.k.a., the box seats), you’ll be surrounded by polo enthusiasts, so be prepared to keep your chit-chat to a minimum.
Brunch: Do it. A complimentary glass of champagne comes with your ticket, as well as two other drinks of your choice. Plus, all the fun folks are there who probably know just as much as you do about polo. There’s a carving station as well as an omelet chef, shellfish and a nice dessert stand.
Jargon: Don’t be afraid to fling a few key words around. “Chukkas” are playing periods, a “stick” is also a name for a mallet and “ponies” are the affectionate titles used for the prized horses.