The Harvard polo team is not exactly an integral part of the Crimson athletic scene. Its coach, Michael Andrew, is a professor of education at the University of New Hampshire. The team plays its home games in an indoor facility at Rowley, Mass., and receives little attention from Harvard's publicity office. In spite of these drawbacks, this year's polo squad, which boasts a 4-2 record, is enjoying another fine season.
The polo team's obscurity is probably a consequence of the sport's obscurity. Polo is played by two three-member teams. Games last thirty minutes and are divided into four quarters. The mounted riders play one of three positions depending on their location on the field.
Of the three positions, one is primarily offensive, one is primarily defensive and the third is a swing position played by an all-purpose rider. Though each member receives a specific assignment, a good team will trade off positions as the game develops.
There are no goalies to man the nets, but checking, as in hockey, is a legal defensive maneuver. The rules are few, and the game, as evidenced by the Harvard team, is easy to learn.
The captain of this year's squad, junior Garrick Steele, never played polo before he came to Harvard. Of the other members of the team--Joe O'Connor, Dan Wienberg, Fred Bower and Steve Bandeian--only one had ever played the sport before he arrived in Cambridge. They are all lucky, however, that Harvard even fields a polo team.
Harvard polo was active in the 1950s, but died out in the past decade. Not until 1968 did the sport kindle a renewed interest. With alumni support and much effort on the part of the players, the polo team got under way again. Because it is a club sport and because of the high cost of maintaining the horses, financial support from old grads is counted upon heavily. They seem to be receiving it, as last year's team placed fourth in the nation.
In their last two outings against Cornell and Yale, Harvard has emerged the victor, winning 14-8 against the Big Red and defeating the Elis, 12-6.
The polo team has a lot of things working against it. In spite of this, the outlook this year is very good. "We should do as well as last year, if not better," was the modest quote from Steele, the team's scoring leader. They may do better, and if they do, they maybe, just maybe, will receive some long-awaited and much-deserved publicity.