If you’re anything like me, when you hear the world “polo,” you think of one of two things: Ralph Lauren or the film Pretty Woman. However, the high-stakes, high-speed sport has a rich identity outside of the collared shirts with which it’s often associated.
Much like football (or soccer, here in the United States), polo is an international sensation, with more than 30 countries—including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Scotland and Thailand—sending ambassadors to the governing body’s Beverly Hills-based headquarters each year. In fact, Sir Winston Churchill, the storied prime minister of the United Kingdom, once famously declared, “polo is a passport to the world.”
Despite polo’s international appeal, many Americans know little about the risky yet glamorous sport. Since The International Center is dedicated to informing, convening and connecting Hoosiers to the rest of the globe, our team decided to revive our popular Polo at Sunset outing!
Before you and your family (including dogs on a leash!) venture to Hickory Hall Polo Club in Whitestown for a night of fun on Friday, August 11, take some time to learn some of the basic vocabulary and traditions of the ancient Persian sport that has withstood the test of time.
What’s a Chukka?
Instead of calling the intervals of play “periods” or “innings,” polo matches are segmented into seven to seven-and-a-half minute chukkas (also known as chukkers). Most polo matches span six chukkas with a 20-minute halftime rest.
Crowd Participation is Encouraged
While most sports require spectators to stay on the sidelines before, during and after the match, polo bucks that custom. One of the great rituals of polo is the halftime divot stomp. Keeping with tradition, our Polo at Sunset match will involve crowd participation! As soon as the horses and players are off the field for the halftime break, we want YOU to help us stomp the divots!
White Before (and After) Labor Day
Given the fact that polo the sport has become synonymous with polo the shirt, we couldn’t get through this post without a nod to the fashion statements made in matches! While the colors of shirts worn by teams are selected at their own discretion, all teams wear white pants. The donning of white trousers is a longstanding tradition that goes back to 19th century India; the royals of the time were known to wear white fabric during polo matches to beat the blistering heat.
Whether you’re looking to channel your inner posh monarch (though you don’t have to dress like one for our event) or just looking to tailgate on a gorgeous night with as many friends as you can pack into your car, we’re confident that Polo at Sunset is for you! To learn more about Polo at Sunset, contact Logan Charlesworth, marketing and communications manager. To get your tickets in advance, click here.
By Logan Charlesworth, Marketing and Communications Manager