Hats off to St. Jude: Newport International Polo Series

Photo by Lindsay Carreiro

The Hats off to St. Jude, Newport’s International Polo Series was held on September 18, 2010 at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, RI.  This was the 3rd annual charity Polo event that Friends of St. Jude has hosted at Glen Farm. The event was sold out and you could only purchase tickets online until September 13, 2010.  Admission to the event was $25 for non-members and $20 for members.  This price also included soft drinks, water, and a gourmet picnic lunch. All proceeds for this event go directly to Friends of St. Jude Providence.

Now never have attended a Polo match I thought it best to review some basic Polo etiquette before arriving at the match.  Here’s the skinny:

  • Each team has four players
  • The full game is 8 chukkas, but often in club matches 4 or 6 chukkas are played. In this case only 6 chukkas were played.
  • Each chukka is timed to last 7 minutes, then a bell is rung, but the game goes on until the ball goes out of play, or for another 30 seconds when the bell is rung again, the chukka ends where the ball is.
  • The clock is stopped between the umpire’s whistle to stop the play and the whistle to start play (eg.ball out of play, foul etc.)
  • There are intervals of 3 minutes between chukkas and 5 minutes at half time. Ends are changed at every goal scored – this has been found fairest when there is a wind.
  • Ponies can play two chukkas in an afternoon with a rest of at least one chukka in between.
  • The first team to score the most points by the end of the match wins.

So with that being said we arrived at 2:00 to take in the sites and sounds knowing that the match started at 4:00.  We were able to bring in our own beverages and food but declined to once we saw how tasty the gourmet picnic lunch looked! The food was delicious and we tasted some of the best steak tips and potato salad.

Photo by Mike Richard

The actual game of Polo is very fast paced with a lot to keep your attention.  My favorite part was during half time when everyone goes out on to the field to stomp the divots(stomping down the torn up grass).  It is exciting to see everyone pitch in to make the playing field look new again.  Our inner child came while we walked around pointing and giggling at everyone.

The ponies that were used were beautiful and graceful. If you were lucky a ball would roll over the line and you could experience the ponies up close and personal.  The game lasted two hours and I’m sorry to say that Newport did indeed lose to “Risky Business” 6-3.  At the end of every Polo match the teams and their ponies ride around the field slapping everyones hand in a giant game of “high 5”.

Photo by Mike Richard

Friends of St. Jude Providence was started in 2008 and they now have between 40-50 members. Friends of St. Jude is a group of young professionals networking for a cause and dedicated to the mission of St. Jude Children Research Hospital and the fight against cancer. The purpose of the group is to raise funds to support the life-saving work done at St. Jude, increase awareness, provide local volunteer support, and create an exciting envirnonment where young professionals can gather. (2007 ALSAC)

Photo by Mike Richard

Friends of St. Jude Providence are looking to grow their membership.  I was given upon arrival a book of patient bio cards that give you the story of the children you could be potentially helping.  Each and every child in there is adorable and my heart went out to all of them.   Membership for Friends of St. Jude is only $25 a year and all they ask of you is to help plan events such as this Polo Match to help raise money for these children.

Getting involved is easy by visiting Friends of St. Jude to find a group near you.  I will personally be joining this great organization so that I can give back and help cancer research grow.  I would encourage everyone to take a moment and think about the children and how you can help.


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