Sportsmanship in Polo - Is it Important?

pep talks Jul 16, 2021

I did a live session about a subject that is close to my heart a while back, and that is Sportsmanship in Polo.

Take a watch and let me know whether you think it's important or not?

(Drop your thoughts in a comment under the video)

Sportsmanship in Polo - Is it Important?


Hey gang. Well, it's me again. And again, in my favorite place in front of the camera, which I find quite daunting. But we do seem to have had some really great feedback from some of the stuff we've been talking about on the old man-line-ball and the old, you know, owning the inside of the field and things.

But I just thought today, what I'd really really like to do is to touch on a subject that is very near my heart. And that is the subject of sportsmanship on the actual polo of field. Because this is a game now, which is very different to a lot of other games. It's a game where amateurs are playing on the same field as professionals. And the professional game is a very intense game.

And to be honest, I played as a professional for many years, but I'm quite pleased in a way that I'm not playing in this era now as a professional. Because I think it's lost a lot of its sportsmanship with that. It's become so intense and about so much money and the sponsorship, etc, etc.

And it's, in my opinion, we've lost the meaning of sportsmanship in the sport we playing. And I just wanted to touch on that and to get your viewpoints, on that and to see if there's any kind of 'stand out' moments that you have participated in, that you've had happened to you on the field. You know, just either a teammate behaving badly or a teammate doing some fantastic thing on the field that you remember.

Because, you know, to be honest, I think that so often you sometimes win a game, but you've behaved in a way that it just leaves that niggly feeling inside of you. You've either shouted at somebody or you've done something bad on the field that you didn't own up to. And it leaves that horrible niggly feeling inside of you.

And I think it's like life, you know. And I truly believe that that sportsmanship adds just that little extra factor back into playing this amazing game. And I just thought I would love to just share a couple of stories about some stand-out moments for me that have happened in my career, And also, that have left great impressions on me in a good way, really.

And also stories...Rob and I were chatting the other night and I was telling him some of these things, and we were discussing a little bit about sportsmanship. And he was telling me about a friend of his had been playing up in Johannesburg in a tournament up there. And it was right at the end of the game. And there was, the ball, 60 yard penalty, and the shot was taken in extra time. So, that was the final play. And the ball went, you know, was looked as if it had just missed the goals.

And, it actually couldn't have been an extra time. Sorry, I'm getting that a bit muddled, but then it was put on the back line to take the knock-in and the guy that was going to take the knock-in, put his hand up and said, guys, I'm sorry, that actually touched my stick. It's a safety 60.

And wow. So, you play that, you lose the game and nobody's got to word to say, you did the right thing. And those are the kind of things, for me, that are sort of stand out moments for me. Where people are treating this game as it should be treated.

I recall playing as a university student in our highest, it was 22, goal at that point. And playing in a final. And I was given the job of actually hitting the penalties, which was quite daunting anyway. And I hit a 60 odd penalty. And in my opinion, it went over the top of the goalpost.

And the umpire and the ball-boy both said, 'Hey goal'. And I turned to the umpire, said over the top of the post sir, it's not a goal. I'm sorry. And one of my teammates rode out in a rage and said, it's up to the umpire. You leave it up to the umpire, don't you start. And I said, look, Doug, I'm very sorry. You know, I, in my heart, I know it's not a goal and I'm not accepting the goal.

And those are the kinds of things, you know, that leave an impression. But, you know, I sound like I'm part of the choir and, preaching to you guys. And to be honest, I've not always been that way. I've done some horrible things in my life. And I can remember back at school, in junior school, I wrote in somebody's book and they tried for ages to find out who'd written in that book.

And I never owned up to that, you know, and that's been something that's really kind of been a negative thing that stayed. And when you think about the good things you've done, and, when you think about the little cheats you've done, that you weren't found out, and that kind of stuff, the good things take you up wards an on wards, and little kind of dishonesty's, they stay with you.

And I just think that this game is worth more than that. You need to get out there and really be a sportsman, and do the things that, promote this game, that make it fun to play.

Because they also go to the heart of the game. You know, I keep talking about playing as a team. And then you find people playing in this team where they will not hit a backhand, and they want to turn the ball. It's all about them.

And there is no 'I' in the spelling of team. So, stop trying to make this, the whole thing about, I, I, it's about playing for the team. So, many things that lead back to that, you know, and this whole feeling of, of this no negative that I'm talking about.

Cause we've been talking about man-line-ball and some of that kind of stuff. And that no negative means that you've got a mindset of, if a man's beaten you, then, Hey, well played mate, you've got that play, but I'm going to go to the next one and beat you on that.

Because I can remember a really big game, again a South African championships game, where I'd beaten somebody and I was going for a neck shot goal and the guy foul hooked me. And he thought it was really funny to be honest.

And in my mind, it just left such an indelible impression of how when you're beaten and then you want to cheat to win. It leaves such a bad feeling in your, you know, such a bad feeling. And it made me think differently about the guy that had done it, you know, because I've always respected him and looked up to him and suddenly this happens and you see a different side of his character.

So, I really think that this game is, is almost like a mirror. You know, it it's so part of life and, it's, it's it's with everything that goes with it, it mirrors how you live your life.

And I think it's sometimes quite a mirror that gets you to look inwards, and have a good look at your core beliefs, and to see whether your actions match your words. And to really, because if you are cheating on a sports field, man, look at what you're doing in life as well, because I can guarantee you there'll be some stuff happening there that you're not happy about.

And that for me is this amazing game that actually can change a mindset. It can take you on-wards and take you up-wards in your life as well. So, it'd be great to hear from you guys love to hear of your stories, love to see what has made indelible impressions on you.

The, you know, all of those stories are what make life, and I'd love to hear what you find important and what you think is, good and sportsman like behavior, and what it means to you on the sports field.

So, do drop us a comment and let us know what you think. Enjoyed chatting to you. And I hope that this video is taken in the, in the way that it was meant.