Tag Archives: Polocrosse

Polocrosse: “King Of The One Horse Sports” Is Gaining In Popularity

Polocrosse is an international sport, widely played in Australia (where it originated), Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and the United States. The activity started as a training exercise for learning horse riders during off-seasons, when they weren’t working on their more vigorous routines. Think of it as Victorian cross-training. Polocrosse blends both Polo and Lacrosse into the most interesting sport.

The rules of Polocrosse are actually quite simple. There are three players on each team, each with their own horse and stick. The sticks, to a casual observer, appear to be crude wooden ancestors of the modern Lacrosse stick, which makes them even more terrifying as the riders plunge through the mud, swinging them freely. Number 1 players are the offensive; they score goals. Number 2 players can play both offensive and defensive, while number 3 players just defend their goal. Games are also surprisingly short, lasting only eight minutes each. The offensive Number 1 riders simply have to bounce the ball in the end zone and then lob the ball through the goal posts to score.

Polocrosse is gaining in popularity across the United States. Minnesota has its own club, Minnesota Extreme Polocrosse or PLX. Most of the riders who competed in the 4th of July tournament at Chateau Saint Croix came from Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, some combatants made their way all from Texas, Maryland, and Delaware. The Chateau St. Croix, a winery seven miles north of downtown St. Croix, has hosted the tournament for several years now, and even houses year-round practices for local players.

When I first arrived at the Chateau, it shocked me. Nestled in endless rolling corn fields sits a gigantic stone fortress. In any other setting, the Chateau might look prudish.

In fact, polocrosse itself is the common man’s rebuttal to the affluent: dirty, rough, and definitely not proper. Maybe that’s why the sport was attracted to this area, a land where the people have no pretensions or affectations. Like polocrosse, we don’t try to be anything we are not, even if that means sometimes we get a little messy.

The polocrosse association hosts a tournament Sunday, August 29 at the Chateau. Play starts in the morning, there’s a lunch break and afternoon games start after 2 p.m.

For more:   http://www.chisagocountypress.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=13097

And Now For Something Slightly Different…Polocrosse..

The growing global popularity of polocrosse is taking two Upcounty teens below the equator next week to promote the sport in Australia.

Nick Balogh and Shannon Molsky, both 17, will travel to New South Wales on Tuesday as part of the American Polocrosse Association’s youth development team. They and their four teammates will compete against Australian squads during the 23-day trip and serve as ambassadors for the sport, which is like lacrosse on horses.

“It’s really a fast-paced, exciting game for all ages,” said Molsky, a Germantown resident who began riding when she was 8. “You see little kids playing and old men playing. It’s a lot of fun.”

Balogh and Molsky, who both graduated from Poolesville High School this year, were introduced to the game through the Potomac Pony Club, which began offering polocrosse lessons about five years ago. Polocrosse seemed more exciting than such traditional horse sports as dressage or show jumping, Balogh and Molsky said, and they took to it immediately.

“I liked that it was more of a game,” said Balogh, who lives in Boyds and began riding when he was 4. “It’s a race or it’s jumping or showing your control over the horse.”

Polocrosse began in England as a way to exercise horses but developed as a sport in Australia in the 1930s, according to the American Polocrosse Association. Two teams of three compete on a 160-by-60-yard field, each player on horseback with a bamboo racquet. A match consists of four to six eight-minute periods called “chukkahs,” and the object is to throw the ball through the opposing team’s goal posts.

Balogh and Molsky practice several times a week and compete in national tournaments, which are nearly every weekend in the spring and fall. They were selected for the APA’s 31-member 2008 youth development team but had to separately apply for the Australian tour, according to the team’s coach, David Brooks of North Carolina.

The teens have been competing as part of the United States Pony Clubs’ regional polocrosse program, but members of the group’s Potomac Pony Club are starting a group this year: the Sugarloaf Mountain Polocrosse Club.

“We’re hoping the bug will catch on and it will start to snowball,” said Kathleen Balogh, Nick’s mother. There are 6,000 polocrosse players worldwide, according to the APA. The sport is slowly growing in the United States and is concentrated especially on the East Coast, Brooks said, where the number of tournaments has tripled over the past several years.

The Montgomery teens said they are unsure whether they will continue competing after going to college in the fall. Balogh will study engineering at Virginia Tech, and Molsky plans to pursue interior design at East Carolina University. But both have already sought out the closest barns to their respective campuses.

“It’s an addiction. It really is,” Molsky said. “You can’t get enough of it. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

To learn more about the Sugarloaf Mountain Polocrosse Club, contact Dee Cook atdpcooka@aol.com. For more about the American Polocrosse Association, visithttp://www.americanpolocrosse.org.