By Eunice Lai, Summer Times Staff Writer
Challenge. Responsibility. Perseverance.
These are the three words Pablo Fernández De Córdova, 15, from Main Street dorm used to describe the exciting, but dangerous game of polo that is his passion.
“Polo is a very interesting sport.” Pablo said. “It’s dangerous so I like it.”
If you don’t know what polo is, it’s a horseback-mounted team sport which requires focus and discipline. Each team consists of four mounted riders and the game generally lasts around one to two hours. The game is divided into 4 to 8 different sections called “chukkas” where players will change mounts. It is played by two opposing teams attempting to score against each other by using a long handled wooden mallet to hit a small ball into the opposing team’s goal. Although this sport might not be prevalent in some places in the world, “it’s very popular in Europe and Miami and a lot of places where there is nice temperature and good sport teams,” Pablo explained.
Imagine riding a horse up to 40 m.p.h. chasing after a small plastic ball rolling across the large soccer field while other horses are right on your tail, breathing down your neck as you attempt to focus to make the game winning hit. Pablo gets to experience that adrenaline rush when he plays with his team once a week. “My dad knows a friend that has a team that plays polo so they motivated me to do it,” he said. “It’s also important to play polo because a lot of my friends play it and I want to support them.” Pablo is currently playing polo as a hobby, and had previous equestrian experience. “I’ve been playing for two and a half years.” he said. “Before that I just ride horses.”
As Pablo said, one main thing that makes polo interesting is its daunting nature. “When you’re going very fast to the goal, falling off the horse at a high speed may be very dangerous,” he said. “that’s the real problem I face. When the rival is very aggressive, I’m more aware of my situation on top of the horse.”
Polo is also more than just another sport. In polo you also create special connections with your most important teammates- your horses. “You need to know your horses”, Pablo said. “You need to know which one is faster, which one is slower, and you need to know their attitude. If they get hurt by the stick, the ball, or another rider, you need to know their response.” Unlike other sports, you also have the responsibility to nurture a living animal. “It’s important to take care of them.”
Pablo plans on continuing to pursue this sport in the future.