SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 17, 2013

Myopia Polo Club celebrating its 125th season in style

By Gianna Addario
Staff Writer

---- — Dating back to the late 1800s, Myopia Polo Club is one of the oldest active clubs of its kind in the country.

On Sunday afternoons, you can find many folks from South Hamilton and across the North Shore at their beloved Gibney Field sipping on drinks, enjoying picnic lunches while taking in the polo matches.

This year marks the 125th season at Myopia, the same place where former member General George Patton would spent many a day during the summer months.

The storied club wouldn’t be complete without, of course, the horses.

Myopia has gone to great lengths to ensure exceptional care for their horses. The equine welfare standards that Myopia developed are even being adopted by the United State Polo Association.

“We truly appreciate and enjoy playing at Myopia, where equestrian sports are loved and strongly supported,” said Bill Coke of Ipswich, who has been playing at Myopia for over 20 years. “Competing on beautiful and talented horses is part of the club culture and tradition that has been passed on from family to family for many generations.”

Like many summers past, this celebratory season was filled with matches and events put on by the Myopia Polo Club. There were national tournaments, such as the 12-goal Chairman’s Cup back in July, and the 6-goal Governor’s Cup in August, while the club also featured a National Youth Tournament Series last month.

“Sunday is game day, so we head to Gibney Field early,” explained Coke. “We will compete in six chukkers (periods), seven if it goes into overtime. Then head to the field-side awards ceremony with team players, family, friends and guests and celebrate the day.”

This past weekend was the annual Wilmington Trust Cup, featuring a Harvard vs. Yale game; this weekend is the Captains’ Game in which Myopia takes on rival Newport Polo out of Rhode Island.

“We’ve tried to do special things all season long,” said Myopia Club manager Nick Snow. “I’ve been coming here since I was born, really. I grew up playing.”

Snow, now a professional polo player himself, has traveled all over the world to play, but thoroughly enjoyed spending this summer back at his home club.

“I’ve played in Argentina, England as well as all over the United States,” said Snow, the highest rated homegrown player at Myopia. “Polo is primarily played in the summer in the Northeast, then I head down the coast to South Carolina for the fall.”

This is his first year as the club’s manager and spends most of his time scheduling the games, finding umpires and getting the clinics organized. Snow himself plays in some of the matches and/or officiates.

Like most clubs, Myopia Polo prides itself on introducing the sport to young players. The clinic that was held there last month was strictly geared towards attracting kids to the game of polo. Myopia also hosted a junior tournament for players of the intermediate skill level.

“Recently, my sons Hamilton and Barrett (ages 18 and 16) have been more active, and I’ve been their coach and support,” noted Coke. “They’ve shown great progress and have become competitive players. Polo is a multi-generational sport, so we have on occasion all played in the same tournaments, sometimes together on our team and sometimes against each other.”

The season officially wraps up later this month with the Ferrari Cup.