Polo for the masses hits London
We interview Jamie Morrison, the captain of the English polo team ahead of the O2 competition.
Polo ... Jamie Morrison in action at the polo event, it is a very rough sport.
POLO is being reinvented for the masses with England Polo team captain Jamie Morrison championing the sport. ‘The game of kings’ as it has been known for many years has long been a quintessential summer sport according to Morrison. But this May polo is getting a makeover to make it more accessible to the masses. The HPA Gaucho International Polo will take place in the O2 Arena in London on the 21st of May in front of 20, 000 spectators.
“Arena polo at the venue in London is unique and special,” Morrison said. “It will be an eye-opener, whatever images or perceptions you have of polo you will be pleasantly surprised.”
For those who actually have no perceptions of polo and actually have no idea what it is, Polo is a team sport. It involves two teams trying to score goals with a small ball which is hit around the field with a mallet. But of course this is all done on horse-back.
“The rules are designed for the safety of the horses and the players,” Morrison said. “The main rule is the right-of-way, the line of the ball cannot be crossed just like driving on the motorway.”
Because horses are very expensive creatures to own, especially to train for sport, polo has often been considered the game of the wealthy. In fact historically it was the gentry and aristocrats who played polo, as well as the royal family, earning the sport the reputation as the game of kings. In fact Morrison himself is from a well-known British family with his late father Bryan Morrison founding the Royal Berkshire polo club. Bryan ran one of the most successful music companies in the UK, called the Bryan Morrison Agency, and even represented Pink Floyd.
“My dad found polo when he was about 30, so I grew up with it,” he said.
Despite all of this prestige Morrison insists the sport is more accessible today.
“If I am a racing car fan I can’t just go and race in the F1 but I can go and grab a car and race around a local track. Polo is the same there is a top end and it goes down to pony clubs”
The O2 event will open the top-end polo up to the public and Morrison is looking forward to playing in the arena.
“Polo is always a special social occasion. You get all of the celebrities and the cream of society,” he said. “But arena polo is a different thing. It puts a new spin on it. It is the ultimate test of horse and rider, just one big adrenalin rush. It is in your face almost like ice hockey.”
He has now been playing for more than 20 years and still loves the sport. For more information about the event see our post on the O2 Polo Match. Or to watch Morrison and his team take on Argentina, WIN tickets on our Free Stuff page.