A14ds

strike the ball up the field and create a scoring opportunity for Number Two or Number One. He usually is the team's most skilled player. Cambiaso almost always plays the Number Three position, and Roldan often does.

A polo player does :iot need to be muscular; they tend to be long and lean, like tennis players—or models. But he must be agile, able to adjust to the horse\ movements in a split second as the steed plows forward faster than 40 mph. One sudden slide by a horse could leave an unprepared rider with a career-threatening or permanently disabling injury

"You do get nervous sometimes before tournaments, especially just before a match starts,"said Roldan, who trains four days a week in the gym and on horseback and thus far has avoided any serious injuries. "But then you start riding and you forget all of it. Instinct has to take over."

Because of the danger involved, this is not a sport for beginners, though Roldan expected that a number of novices would take part in the Diamond Cup and in the tournaments in Florida. "Many times the Number Four is t sponsor," he said. "Often it is a wealthy person who is the reason you're out there, the reason you've been hired.When they can play, it's a great advantage. But some of them are just beginners who stand there thinking they're playing."

Though he admits to enjoying the folly of people who have barely ridden a horse trying to wield a polo mallet, he also can become frustrated by their hubris. "They need to at least spend a year just riding, acclimating themselves to the smarts and stops of a horse," he said. "Polo is a sport where you ride at top speeds, hanging off your saddle and trying to land a shot with precision .You won't accomplish that right away."

Roldan felt fortunate that the novice player on his team in Argentina, a professional soccer player, had enough riding experience to be considered a competent competitor. "And he actually plays some defense," Roldan said with a laugh.

0 0

Post a comment