If you bring up polo in most social situations the typical response is, “people actually play that?” That’s an understandable reaction as most interactions with the sport are limited to the name of Ralph Lauren’s eponymous clothing line.
However, on the grounds of the Newport Polo Club in Newport, Rhode Island, the sport feels very much alive. Once a week all summer, hundreds of screaming fans line the boards of the polo field – champagne flows and revelry abounds. Teams from around the world come to play in professional matches against one another and their US rivals.
It’s unlikely that the fans that made the trip this past Sunday to the New England Classic knew too many of the rules and regulations of the game, but that didn't stop them from enjoying the match. Polo, while a dangerous and riveting sport in itself, has always been more about the lifestyle for many fans. It’s a great excuse to break out the clothes that wouldn't really fly elsewhere, pull up your car a few hours before the first chukka and make an afternoon of it. I opted for a cotton tie, a cream-colored linen blazer, a tweed waistcoat and no-break chino's with some freshly shined loafers, not exactly an outfit for Monday morning at the office.
While the season down in Newport has just about wrapped up for the year (they have one final game next weekend), they'll be back at it in the Spring. It's definitely worth it for a weekend escape from the city.