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October 06, 1989 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-06

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Kelt, Glazer and Krohn

Not Only For Princes

Area horsemen show
that polo is not only
for the aristocracy.


Special to The Jewish News


hen many people
think of polo, they
visualize Prince
Charles riding aristo-
cratically around a
field populated by other pro-
per Englishmen.
Mark Glazer, a member of
the Detroit Polo Club, never
saw his sport that way. To
him, it was a fast-paced, high-
energy game for cowboy types
who played it in blue jeans
and cowboy boots.
"I became aware of this
aristocratic image when I was
interviewed by J.P. McCarthy.
In my second or third year of
playing, we were promoting
some charity benefit and he
went into his English accent."
Glazer, who began playing
in 1970, explains, "You may
not be aware of how fast the
game really moves or how
much energy it requires.
"As a spectator, you kind of
stand by the sidelines watch-
ing somebody riding, sitting
on top of the horse. The word
`sitting' really doesn't apply
because you're always moving
around. You're leaning for-
ward; you're standing up or
you're swinging a mallet or
you're trying to control your
horse by slowing it down or
speeding up."

52 FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1989

Glazer, 51, is one of four
Jewish members of the
Detroit Polo Club, which
plays its weekly matches in
Milford. The others are
Harold Kalt, Marc Gray and
Alan Krohn. Krohn lives in
Ann Arbor, the others in
metro Detroit.
Gray, 38, has played for 20
years. He says polo players
are generally horse-lovers
first. "There're a lot of horse
lovers that just have backyard
or pet horses and ride them
once a week and just hack
around the countryside. But
the polo player, obviously, is a
bit of a competition or
adrenaline junkie and likes to
really push himself and his
horses to the limit?'
Polo originated in Persia, as
a training game for cavalry
units, particularly the king's
guard and other elite groups.
At that time, there were up to
100 players on each team and
it was like a miniature battle.
Polo was introduced to India
by Muslim conquerors. Even-
tually, British cavalry officers
discovered the sport there and
brought it to England. Polo
was introduced in the United
States in 1876.
Outdoor polo is played on a
field 300 yards long and 150
yards wide, almost three
times as long and wide as a
U.S. football field, with
24-foot goal posts at each end.

The four-player teams use
their mallets to propel the
four-ounce ball between the
goal posts.
Games generally consist of
six 71/2-minute periods called
"chukkers," plus a sudden-
death chukker if the game is
tied. The indoor game is
played with a larger ball on a
smaller surface with three
players to a side.
In outdoor polo, teams rely
on a successful long-passing
game and well-trained horses

Despite its
aspects, the sport
does have a
genteel side.

to achieve success on the
large field.
One player on each team
plays forward, or the Number
One position, while another
stays well back on defense, in
the No. 4 slot. The Nos. 2 and
3 players control most of the
game, moving quickly from
offense to defense. The No. 3
man is generally the team's
best player, roughly
equivalent to a rushing
defenseman in hockey — so-
meone who can thwart the op-
position's attack, gain control
of the ball and make the tran-
sition to offense.


"Like most sports," says
Glazer, "you launch an of-
fense by working the ball
down the field. But certainly,
when the other team has
made an error in their end of
the field, you can capitalize by
taking the ball away. They'll
mis-hit or it'll hit off their
horse's leg and sort of pop
back and there you are with
the ball in front of their goal.
But the majority of goals are
scored on an offensive
There are some patterned
plays, while others are im-
provised. "Most of your goals
are similar to the layup or the
dunk (in basketball)," says
Glazer. "They're pretty well
worked in as close as you can
get .. . But you'll see some
100-yard shots from outside."
On the defensive side, "Part
of the game is always to try to
ride with your opposing
player," says Kalt. "In other
words, you never want to have
a man loose on the field
because if that man is loose
and he gets the ball, many
times you just can't catch
The players were attracted
to polo for similar reasons.
Glazer recalls, "the ability to
be involved in an activity
other than showing horses ap-
pealed to me. I liked the ac-
Gray became quick convert

when a college friend took
him to a match. "After wat-
ching, it looked like a lot of
fun. I'd already been riding
for a couple of years. The next
day I bought my first polo
pony?' Gray appreciated "the
competition. The action. The
speed. And playing a game on
a horse."
Kalt, 51, used to simply ride
a horse along with "a bunch
of Jewish cowboys, so to
speak," until he got bored
with it. His cousin, Sam
Sobel, introduced him to polo
and Kalt was "hooked."
"One important thing is
that it's a challenge," says
Kalt, co-owner of Bee Kalt
Travel Service. "You can
always be challenged when
you're out there."
Working with the horses
also appeals to Kalt. While
many polo players buy horses
already trained to play, Kalt
prefers to buy "green" horses
and train them himself. He
has 10 polo horses. The horses
must be taught to stop and
start quickly and not to be
afraid of the swinging mallets
and bouncing balls or bump-
ing into another horse.
Probably the most satisfac-
tion Kalt gets from the game,
he says, is that "most of the
horses that I have are horses
that I've trained, or people
that are working with me
have trained, as opposed to

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