Can women play polo?
Posted on Jul 29, 2023 by Lysander Templeton
The Misconception: Polo is A Men's Sport
You're probably thinking, "Polo, wasn't that just for men with handlebar mustaches who drink sherry and ride around on massive horses?" Well, let me tell you a secret - polo isn't a game exclusively for men. In fact, it's a game that breaks down misconceptions and embraces diversity, including gender diversity.
Does the thought of women playing polo shock you a bit? It probably does, thanks to the common mainstream belief that polo is a masculine sport. But here's another secret for you. I mean a fact actually - women polo players exist. Yes, they do! Real flesh and blood women, who are amazing, brilliant, talented, and fearless, are out there, rocking the sport of polo right now while we sit and chat about it.
History Speaks: Women in Polo
History might not be your favorite subject (come on, I know those history textbooks could put a caffeine-addict to sleep), but it might surprise you to know that the involvement of women in polo is deeply rooted. The first well-known woman polo player who hits my mind right now is Hazel Lavery. She was a renowned British artist who fell in love with polo and rode beautifully.
It wasn't just her, my friends. Back in those days, there were quite a few women who wore their polo boots and showed the world that they weren't just pretty faces. Trailblazers like Sue Sally Hale disguised themselves as men to participate in high-rating polo matches, proving that women too can swing the mallet with precision and power.
Riding High: The Present Scenario of Women in Polo
Fast forward to today, women polo players are no longer an anomaly. They are admired, they are respected, and most importantly, they are making the sport of polo proud with their incredible skills and dedication. Women’s polo teams are gaining momentum worldwide, making their mark in both national and international realms. And did I mention, they are creating history in the process!
A shout-out here to Lia Salvo, Mihaela Vlasea, and Melanja Jones - incredible women polo players in the current times who have set the bar high with their spectacular performances and commitment to the sport. Their agility, precision, and undeniable charisma on the field makes them role models for aspiring players, and a true delight for spectators.
Why Women Should Play Polo
Let's not make it complex - I mean, why shouldn't women play polo? Just like any sport, polo offers a multitude of benefits, including physical fitness, improved coordination, and increased confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to convert the newest yoga and pilates enthusiasts to become polo players right away. However, I strongly believe that there is an untapped potential out there, which needs to be acknowledged and encouraged.
Imagine the thrill of galloping across a field, aiming for that tiny ball, swinging the mallet, and scoring a goal - all while balancing on a 1,000 lb beast (no offense to our noble steeds, meant 'beast' in the most loving way possible!). It’s a high like no other, and a perfect reinforcement of strength, finesse, and willpower.
Tips for Women Wanting to Break into Polo
If you're a woman who's interested in taking up polo, welcome to the charmed circle! Before we go forward, let me tell you, it’s going to be a rollercoaster ride, with lots of practice, falls, and triumphs. But don't let any of that intimidate you. Here’s a little something to help you get started.
First and foremost, get comfortable on a horse. It might sound obvious, but it's the most crucial step. Like Snoopy (my adorable Beagle) and his unending quest for cookies, your horse is your best friend in the field, and you two need to be in sync.
Next, gear up properly (I’m serious here, ladies!); Riding boots, helmet, knee guards, and elbow pads - they are your armor on the field. And of course, never underestimate the power of a good polo mallet. Believe me, the right equipment can make all the difference.
Then comes practicing your swing. Easy to say, hard to perfect, but definitely not impossible. Up for the challenge? The trick is to stay balanced on your horse and have a stable arm swing. Can’t hit the ball straight? Keep practicing. You’ll get there. And remember, it's not about strength.
Finally, don't ever hesitate to ask for guidance. Veteran polo players, your coach, and even fellow learners can be a great source of learning. In fact, learning from peers is a lesson I learned while trying to teach my pet goldfish, Finny, to navigate his tank. It was a neighbor’s kid who figured out a way to make Finny swim through hoops. So, there you go!
The Future of Women in Polo
While we have come a long way in accepting and encouraging women to play polo, we still have miles to cover. The future of women in polo appears bright and promising. But to ensure that it rises like the glorious Southwest sunrise, we need to continue on our path of progress, breaking the constraints of gender inequality.
Less number of all-women tournaments, unequal pay, and lack of recognition are potent concerns faced by the talented women players today. Addressing these issues and providing adequate support and respect to these fiery sportswomen is the way towards a gender-inclusive polo culture. And trust me, that's a future we want to be part of!
Conclusion: Innings for Equality in Polo
Before we wrap up, let's take a moment to appreciate all the women athletes who, despite facing numerous obstacles, have managed to rise, shine, and make an impact in polo. Also, if you're a woman out there contemplating whether or not to gallop your way into the fascinating world of polo, remember, there are scores of us waiting to cheer you on!
Polo is not a sport restricted by age, sex, or socioeconomic status. It is, indeed, one of those glorious arenas where talent and passion truly coalesce. If you're a woman who has been yearning to explore it, the sport is now more accessible and inclusive than ever. So saddle up, let go of those inhibitions, swing your mallet high, and make the polo world yours! You’ve got this! And remember, my friends, equality is no longer just a dream - it’s an innings waiting to be played!