THE PLAINS, VA – Chukker, knock-in, hook, line-of-the-ball are a few common terms you can expect to hear Saturday at an introductory polo clinic hosted by the Army Polo Club. Held at Chetwood Park from 9am to 12pm on Saturday, October 8th, the clinic is sponsored by the US Polo Association’s Armed Forces Committee and is free to military members and their families. A number of spots still remain open at present, and people may audit if interested.
The participants for the clinic will be introduced to hitting, riding, as well as rules & strategy before trying their hand at a team scrimmage. Participants will then have the opportunity to view a match from one of the military tournaments to see teams in action.
“It may be surprising that a sport over two thousand years old can still be professionally valuable to military leaders today,” said Mark Gillespie, a retired Armored Cavalry officer and Chairman of the US Polo Association’s Armed Forces Committee. “In addition, military women can compete alongside men on an equal basis…in fact, more women are coming into the sport now than men,” said Gillespie, who teaches polo on weekends at the Army Polo Club.
Today, October 7th and tomorrow Saturday, October 8th, the Army Polo Club will host military polo teams representing competitors from the Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force for the Commander in Chief Cup, a national inter-service polo championship, under at the Army Polo Club’s facility at Chetwood Park located at 5369 O’Bannon Road at The Plains, Virginia.
Two additional military polo tournaments honoring General Patton will be played during Veterans Day weekend next month. The public is invited to attend.
History of Polo
Invented over 2,500 years ago in South Asia, polo is the world’s oldest team sport and was developed as a way to keep mounted warriors and their steeds ready for combat. The British military in the 1800s brought the modern version of polo from India to the rest of the world. The US military began playing polo in 1896 at Ft. Riley, Kansas. From there, it became extremely popular in military circles including General George S. Patton, Jr., who found polo to be the best sporting preparation for modern mobile warfare.
The Army Polo Club has partnered with the veteran non-profit, American Freedom Fund which supports military and veterans through programs across the country. Proceeds from this year’s CINC Cup will support the continuance of these programs.
In addition to this weekend’s activities, the annual Army Ten-Miler will be taking place on Sunday, October 9th in DC, so participants from the race can still attend the CINC Cup finals match Great Meadow Foundation at 3pm.
No general admission fee is charged, however there is a $10 per car parking fee assessed. Spectators are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets to sit on during the event. Service animals are allowed but pets are not. There are a limited number of VIP viewing spaces available for sponsors of the tournaments. In addition, some tailgate spots can be reserved for a contribution to the American Freedom Fund. Send an email to [email protected] or call (703) 298-6319 for information on sponsorship opportunities and tailgate spots. [SEE ALSO: City of Alexandria Kicks Off Energy Awareness Month]