A freshly mowed grass that sits beneath an azure blue sky, with the sound of the whistle, a beautiful game of Polo commences where the two teams atop the magnificent horses gallop towards the ball, which needs to be set ablaze in order to turn into a goal. All the spectators are engrossed in the clanking of the mallets, and as tension escalates towards the end of the final minutes of the match, everyone’s eyes are transfixed on this beautiful game. As the final whistle blows, a wave of enthusiasm and victory rings high, which makes the eloquent crowd soak in the richness of this game.
This is the scene of each polo match, which for centuries has been shrouded with mystery due to its grandeur and opulence. Its history dates back to 2,000 years when nomadic tribes played it as it found its way to the royal houses of Persia. This is where it started getting associated with aristocracy and nobility, and its unrestrained charisma started spreading across the continent. With the British invasions in many parts of the world, this equestrian sport travelled with them as the British gained a heightened interest in the game.
The use of horses in the game, which were and are still wildly expensive to purchase and upkeep, restricted the game to only being played by the elites. Due to this very factor, the kingdom’s subjects did not have access to watch the game. The spectators were often from high society families who used this arena to intermingle and enjoy a bespoke luxury filled with never-ending glasses of champagne and high fashion clothing.
Without social media, television and newspapers, the common person had no link to Polo and its ongoing mystery rose even further, which translated into a pique of curiosity. They aspired to break into the high society where watching and playing Polo was commonplace. This made this game highly aspirational as it was the creme de la creme of all the sweet things that life had to offer.
With its growing popularity, the game, which was considered arcane, is getting even more limelight than it deserves. This once-blood sport is taking a deep dive into banishing these stereotypes and is taking one step forward to greet the new enthusiasts. Now, many women have also started participating in Polo; there is more inclusion and diversity than ever before. Parents are also making their young ones acquainted with the sport, with many events open to the public, which makes it even more accessible.
Even the most coveted luxury brands make clothes keeping in mind the traditions of this game, whose style quotient is very popular to date. The ravishing beauty and elated sophistication displayed by the players, horses and spectators make the whole arena spring up with more class.
Each game promises exquisite skills on display, valuable lessons in fair play and sportsmanship, and thrilling and intense chukkas that keep hearts racing.
With the game embedded in popular culture through movies, TV shows and books, a part of its grandess can be attributed to it being part of the lure of luxury. The romanticisation of the players and the horses makes this game highly sought after, where watching a single match can become a love affair that lasts a lifetime. It is safe to say that this game will always remain as a sport of luxury, mystery and beauty, and its niche status will not get tarnished with the change in time.