Dan’s Papers August 26, 2011 danshamptons.com Page 62
The Voice of Bridgehampton Polo By Susan Saiter His vocabulary is comprised of Polo is an acquired taste, English, some Espanol and lots and Bridgehampton Polo of polo-ese. He is there for the brings in people in all stages spectators—the expert with of acquisition—from people the best view for those who who’ve never seen a horse are totally into the fast-paced up close and are amazed at game (a growing number, it how BIG they are to people seems, this year), but also for who have polo in their genes. those who deep-down honestly Everyone seems to become a don’t give a whit about the fan at some level, and there’s no game, but who have rumbled more enthusiastic fan than the in Jeeps, SUVs, sports cars, man who sits way up high over taxis, or you name it over the the polo field in a white beach dusty path to the field just to chair. This is the man without be a member of a festive crowd. whom Bridgehampton Polo He is the glue that keeps just wouldn’t be the institution the disparate pieces of this Alex Roldan it is, possibly the best way to rather unusual sport and spend a July or August afternoon in the sun, crowd together. And he also gives it shape, with that salt-sprinkled breeze wafting over from beginning to end. Getting it all kicked from south of the Highway. He is 51-year-old off, he grabs the mike to introduce the famous Alex Roldan, manager and announcer, not just or semi-famous person who will sing “The for Bridgehampton Polo but for the Greenwich National Anthem,” then the star who will toss (Connecticut) Club as well. out the first ball. After that, he throws out the If you come to the matches at Two Trees signal to the DJ, this time, Saraj Shankar, to Farm, you will see him before and after the rock on, and the match fight song, Queen’s “We match greeting the crowd, shaking hands, Will Rock You,” gets the players’ blood going. hugging, kissing, always speaking with Then, whether it’s 95 degrees in the sun, or exclamation points ending his sentences. overcast and threatening something that will During the match, he is perched up above ruin hairdos, not to mention the footing on the the field. Last weekend Roldan wore a faded polo field, he climbs up to his seat, microphone green polo shirt and khakis and, to break in hand, and, he makes it sound like this is the the regulation-polo monotony, red tennis most fun he’s ever had. He broadcasts the score shoes with green shoelaces, and announced and the maneuvers, but he also broadcasts the game in his staccato Argentinian accent. excitement, enthusiasm and the feeling that
you are in the only place you should be this Saturday afternoon. “Look at him go!” he yells as a horse and rider race after a ball. “Flying down the field like a freight train!” At the end of the game, rounding players up for awards and photo ops, “Vamos aqui! Arriba!” Mixing his metaphors and his languages is part of his Latin charm, and everyone understands the universal message—fun, inclusiveness for fans sitting on the bleachers, parked in tailgates, or lolling in the shade of the tent—and let’s give this obscure but worthwhile sport its due. He keeps you from feeling dumb if you don’t know diddly about the game, and he keeps you up to the minute if this is your thousandth polo match but you missed the last whack of the mallet. Roldan divides his time between Greenwich and Southampton in the summer, but the rest of the year, he is back in his native Argentina. “I love polo, I have been riding since I was 7, playing polo since I was 11.” It is his life, and it doesn’t seem to be a bad one. After the match, whether it was a lopsided game or a hotly contested 7-5 game like last week’s between Kazi Investment Group (the winner) and Equuleus, Roldan works the crowd, shaking hands, slapping backs, kissing the ladies, and keeps an eye on the players. And he signs off by saying into the microphone: “And the beat goes on!” And on and on it will go, through the weekend and then it will all begin again next year.
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Dan's Papers August 26, 2011 Issue