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A couple of years ago I had three months in Buenos Aires and I made a list of things that I needed to do in the time I had available to me. Some may still pending (Feria de Mataderos I’m looking at you), but today I managed to cross another off the list as we headed to the Argentinian Polo Open in Palermo.

I’ve never been to a polo match before. Where I come from Polo is played by future Kings and there isn’t much room for non-Royal types like myself. In Argentina however, whilst polo is without doubt a rich man’s sport (the Mercedes booths scattered all over give you a clue), anyone with 40 pesos is welcome to watch the proceedings at the polo grounds in Palermo.

Helped by years of pub quizzes I know the periods of play are called chukkas and that it is played on the largest pitch of any sport, but beyond that nobody in our group really knew what was going on. Picking it up as we went, the chukkas last 7 minutes and there’s 8 of them in a match. Given the size of the pitch it was pretty hard to really follow what was going on unless it happened in front of you, but what we could make out was very fast-moving and exciting.

Starting young

Starting young

The game finished with Estancia Grande scoring 5 times in the final chukka to come back from 14-16 down to win 19-17, but as most of the goals were scored at the other end, most of the excitement was lost on us.