Do the Math!

As we are gearing up to “save” the development of polo players in America, has anyone done the math on that prospect?

Do you realize that if the number of American players rated at 5-goals or above represent only 11% of the high goal ranks. More importantly, if you removed all of the foreign players (yes, both Canadians included) from the depleted ranks of 20-goal teams (down to only nine teams in 2009) you would be eliminating 17 positions, with only 15 American players rated at 6-goals or above to replace them. Now the reason this won’t work is because of those 17 foreign players, one of them was rated at 9-goals; three were rated at 8-goals; four were 7-goals; four were rated at six goals and five of them were 5-goalers.

Now neither Nick Roldan nor Adam Snow participated in last year’s 20-goal competition at the International Polo Club, and 7-goaler Tommy Biddle sat it out as well. Six-goalers Joey Casey, Kris Kampsen, Tiger Kneece and Alan Martinez sat out as well, but therein lies the problem.

In order for us to return just nine teams to the fields for the Joe Barry, Ylvisaker and Iglehart Cup, we would need to replace one 9-goaler; three 8-goalers and four 7-goalers. We simply don’t have them, and there aren’t any in the works that I can see developing. Of our current 5-goalers registered with the USPA only nine of forty-four are US citizens!

We have been fed this PTF crap about how “the future of polo is in our youth”, yet we see our grasp on the development of high-goal players continually eroding. The USPA speaks of a membership of 3,000 players yet we find a growing percentage of that to be foreign.

I have no idea why the USPA is unable to look around and review what other associations are doing and try to adapt some of their programs in an effort to develop our players. I don’t know why the marketing wing of the association isn’t actively soliciting corporate sponsorship of international competition (PLEASE take a look at what Hurlingham has accomplished); why our II ranks don’t look to the SUPA program in Great Britain that fields more teams and touches more schools and universities than we would ever consider or the attempted development of SAPA, a program designed to keep young players in the game after they leave school but before they are able to properly afford to support a polo habit.

In the meantime, do the math. It doesn’t work.

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13 Comments

Filed under Argentine Polo Association, Hurlingham Polo Association, International Polo Club Palm Beach, International polo Federation, North American Polo League, Polo, Polo, Polo, United States Polo Association, United States Polo Associction

13 responses to “Do the Math!

  1. Backhander…you just asked the uspa to “do the math?” Any math they do would be fuzzy math at best. Clearly they haven’t put any research into their decision. Not a surprise there. When are the leaders going to start leading?

  2. tiger87

    I ask you this backhander, where are all the high goal players in England that are coming from their programs? Everyone talks about the success of high goal polo in England, but we all know that is strictly Argentine infused. I agree with you that we need growth, and the english obviously have some great youth programs, but they aren’t producing any more medium to high goal players than we are. If you took eduardo novillo away from the British team in the westchester cup, they could not field a even handicapped team to the americans.

  3. polo observer

    Polo players make polo players not some school or association. If you are lucky enough to be born into a polo playing family or are good friends of one then you have half a chance of becoming a polo player. But without the money behind you and without horses no amount of practice will get you into the upper levels of polo. Yes you may play polo but your handicap will be 2 goals or less like 80 percent or more of all polo players.

  4. polo observer

    Ok then name the players who have made it above 5 goals that did not come from a polo family or a horse family background. Horses are expensive and if you don’t have money you don’t have horses. Yes if your daddy was a groom 30 years ago and you grew up with the polo exposure you would get a chance to play when you are young and get your break playing the bosses horses and then maybe your talent will be seen, But tell me who made it to a high level in polo who did not get that exposure.

  5. Backhander,

    You definitely make some good points here and I’m sure there’s much we could use from the SUPA program in Britain. But more than all that I feel like the biggest gap in our current system is the lack of transitional help or guidance from the II programs to regular club membership.

    There are a fair number of II players out there and we are attempting to guide/nurture their growth in the sport through high school and college, but once they’ve finished college there is no transitional help. II players are being asked to make the jump — the very long jump — from paying a few hundred dollars per semester to play II arena polo, to many thousands of dollars per season, not to mention the expenses of horse ownership during the off-season, for regular club membership.

    There are definitely players and patrons out there who are attempting to help bridge this gap, at their own expense, to keep individual players in the sport after college. My own website, PoloGringo tries to help in its own small way. But without an overarching or guiding vision from the USPA, these individual attempts at help are destined to be piecemeal at best.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but as the USPA and PTF continue their efforts to grow membership, it’s something I hope they consider.

  6. Пора переименовать блог, присвоив название связанное с доменами 🙂 может хватит про них?

  7. Кстати, если закончаться фото Одри, то можешь в фотошопе старые фото накладывать на новый фон, так и разнообразие будет и ты работать продолжишь

  8. Gringo – I looked at your web site which is nothing more than stolen material from other polo sites. At least you have done more than the uspa and ptf. Please be realistic…very few players come out of college and make it as pros or players. It’s just a 4 year hobby. No money – no polo! PERIOD

  9. I came out of college and played professionally and made a decent living for 18 years..but was only 2 goals. I have no polo, money, or horses in my background, other than riding at a boarding stable on my birthday once a year, but I loved it so much I just worked all day every day until I got it. However, I was unable to get into the big leagues for exactly the reasons you site, no money. If you don’t have the money, and/or come from a polo family or marry into one, you cannot compete with the big boys and girls.

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