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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Stomping at the Polo Grounds

Baseball and football are what many of us consider American past times. But you probably don't realize polo has a long history, too. The tradition of the Sport of Kings continued on Independence Day when polo-watchers came out in full force to watch the ponies at he Greenwich Polo Club.

Besides enjoying the match, polo spectators have another responsibility. Divot stomping. During intermission, fans are encouraged to make their way out onto the polo field to search for clumps of grass that have been uprooted by the ponies or mallets and push them back into the ground with their feet. Not only do they get to play groundskeeper, they get to mingle with the other fans.

"Polo is such an old-American tradition," Nina DeGiglio said. "I've been watching polo since I was a little girl." She was one of about 200 people who turned out for the match. In the spirit of the day, everyone held an American flag and put a hand over their hearts while the National Anthem was played.

"I don't think many people realize that it's open to the public," said DeGiglio. "A lot of people are also afraid of not understanding the sport."

Of course, polo was the reason to be at the club on Sunday. Two teams from Argentina competed, Tupungato and La Alegria Lobos. That country, along with the U.S. and Britain, are the countries where the sport is most popular. For the record, La Alegria won the match, 12 -10.

According to the U.S. Polo Association, as one of the oldest team sports, polo is played in more than 60 countries and viewed by over 50 million people each year. "Its completely different experience when you're watching polo," said Carey Brown. "You're keeping tradition alive and celebrating the sport of kings."

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