Portsmouth Prep

photo-45Rhode Island, yet again, holds a surprise, and it’s not coffee milk or awful driving, but polo. For my dad’s birthday, I got him tickets to see the Newport Polo Club play against Italy at Glen Farms in Portsmouth. There are matches every Saturday throughout the summer at this Portsmouth farm, and tickets are only $12 for general admission, so it’s really easy to hop on over to the island and check out a match. A lot of people tailgate beforehand and set up tents, and we didn’t realize how the tents would be set up around the perimeter of the field so our view was a little limited because we only got to the match twenty minutes before it started at 5 PM and set up our seats behind rows of people. If you don’t want to bring your own food, though, there are a couple of vendors at the field. We shared a combo chicken and ribs plate from Preppy Pig BBQ. It was $17 for some chicken, ribs, corn bread, and sausage, but I would say to just get the ribs plate because they were the best (and it would still come with the cornbread). For another money-saving tip, BYOB.

Neither of us knew anything about polo before we went, so here are some quick basics: the matches are divided into six seven minute chukkas with three minute breaks in between and a half time after the third chukka. Players will rotate through horses every chukka as they are only capable of playing for two total, though not consecutively, and some players will have six horses, one for each chukka. The pace of the game is quick, and how fast it moves makes it particularly enjoyable and keeps it interesting. Players score frequently, and the US was up 8 to 5 when we left after the fifth chukka. The commentator did a good job of explaining everything that was going on, probably knowing that not many people are that familiar with how polo works.

photo-46Polo is definitely a different sport to watch and is a fun experience. It’s really cool to watch the horses move across the field, and the players have to be so coordinated and balanced to hit the ball while still moving on the horse. At the very least, there’s some good people watching as a lot of people get dressed up with funny hats and colored pants. We both really enjoyed the match and would go back to see them play again, as they play other clubs from the US and around the world during the summer. I’m glad we went to see them play Italy because one of the Italian players was named Marco, which seemed like a joke that the team had planned. It’s a lot cheaper than going to see a team play in Boston, not to mention so much closer. I’d definitely recommend it for some outdoor entertainment if you’re in the area, local or visitor.

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