Horsing around


It has been called the king of games and the game of kings, but for many of the roughly 100 University of Chicago alumni and their families in suburban Oak Brook, Sunday's polo match was a new experience.

“I’ve never been to a polo match,” said Elizabeth Hoffman, AB’83, over a glass of red wine, joined at a table by several Graduate School of Business (GSB) alumni. The sold-out event, sponsored by Chicago GSB Pakistan Club, Chicago GSB Club, and the University of Chicago Club of Metropolitan Chicago, brought College and GSB alumni to the Oak Brook Polo Club, the nation’s second oldest polo grounds.

“I’ve seen polo on TV, and I think it’s a ‘gentleman’s game,’” said Hoffman. “But it can be kind of rough too.” In fact, polo is the second most dangerous sport in the world, behind Formula One auto racing, explained local polo historian and game announcer Kirk Struggles to the group before the afternoon’s match. “Horses travel anywhere between 35 and 45 miles per hour, and the ball can reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour,” Struggles said, adding that heavy Iranian, Pakistani, and Indian influences have forged the game’s 2,000-year history. The crowd also received a pamphlet, “A Spectator’s Guide to Polo,” which outlined the game’s rules and history.

Then the game began, with the Michigan-based Catamount team competing against the Morgan Creek team from Oswego, IL, for the Morgan Creek Cup title. Both teams featured professional players from Argentina and Mexico, among other countries.

During the relaxing afternoon with traditional Argentinian food, including asado (beef barbecue) and empanadas (stuffed pastries), alumni noted a change of pace in store for the GSB Alumni Club’s next program: a Chicago White Sox game.

Hassan S. Ali, '07

Photos: Alumni and guests take their seats for lunch and the polo match (top); An Argentinian Morgan Creek team member sizes up a shot (bottom).

August 28, 2006