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US team to give their best to defend title

by IT Web Admin
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Imphal, Nov. 27:  The US team which is playing rather well in the latest edition of the Manipur Polo International is captained by Ryan Cronin-Prather, 31 years of age from California. Ryan is a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pacific School of Law and is present a practicing business lawyer in Sacramento, California.
“I began riding almost as soon as I could walk as I grew up in a farm with horses and began playing polo at the age of 14”, recounts Ryan. His love for horses and the intensity and excitement of the game was what made Ryan fell in love with polo. Ryan credits his next door neighbours and coaches Michael O’Farell and John Westly for realizing his potential as a polo player.
On what sets the game of polo apart from other sports, Ryan has this take, “Polo takes the speed of other sports, puts the animal component in it, and then takes a team, put all of it together to make a very impressive and exciting game unlike any other game”.
On his impression of the place and people, “very beautiful and culturally vibrant place with very rich history”, stated Ryan. “The people have been very hospitable and have made me and the entire team from the US feels very welcome”. Getting to ride the Manipuri pony for Ryan has been “a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget”.
On the Team’s prospect in the ongoing tournament, Ryan feels the US team has a great chance of winning this tournament once again, even though he concedes they are up against some stiff competition.
George Krabbe, 27 years of age who grew up in Connecticut and is presently residing in Texas for the last four years plays and teaches polo. A one goal player, he does everything connected with horse including shoeing them. As with most polo players, George also started riding at a very early age and began playing polo by 19.
This is the first time George has travelled outside of the USA though he has been to every corner of the country because of polo. Besides the speed and excitement, another aspect which attracted George to polo was the camaraderie among the players. “Polo players are a community; all of them are friends off the field”.
George finds the tournament very well organized. Among the teams, he feels the India B (Manipur) team to be a favourite to win the match and the English team the most disciplined. As the tournament progresses, for George, watching the local team play as been a biggest education on playing atop the Manipuri pony.
George feels saddened to know that the number of the Manipuri pony is fast dwindling and would like to help out in ,whatever manner in preserving them. Starting some kind of platform to raise fund, George is of the opinion will go a long way towards this venture and many in the USA would be more than willing to donate to it.  
Lucas W Reid, 27 years of age, an aerospace engineer, is from Idaho Falls, Idaho Seattle, Washington. He grew up in the family farm and has been riding horses since the age of three. He was introduced to polo at the age of 19 by his sister-in-law in college and immediately fell in love with the game. What Lucas finds very special about polo is the teamwork between the rider and the horse. “Every horse has a different personality and if the player doesn’t adjust to the horse, it doesn’t not matter good the player is”, Lucas declares.
Talking about Manipur, Lucas says, “the history and tradition that I have experienced here is one of a Kind”. On Manipuri ponies, Lucas found them very impressive and that they play at a very high level. “It did take a couple of games to acclimatize to the smaller ponies but once I did, it was like playing at home”.  Lucas finds the tournament very enjoyable, “the sportsmanship and the camaraderie between the teams is what make polo so much fun. He also found the massive crowd which turns out to watch the games and cheer the teams very energizing. Lucas signed off by promising to try their best to defend the title which the US team won in the last edition of this tournament.
The US team has been playing here under the watchful eyes of Ed Armstrong, 63 years from Massachusetts presently living in Virginia, who is the coach and manager of the team. Ed is a management consultant for polo tournaments and has been playing polo for the last 30 years. Among the major coaching assignments for Ed include the Harvard University team in 1990 and Yale in 2015.  Ed has also been associated with the US polo team and also ran a polo progamme in schools for the US Polo Association.
On playing here, Ed feels everything is the same except for the ponies. “It takes getting used to and as the players spent more time on these ponies, they will get better over a time”. He rates the India B, USA and Australia among the top three in the tournament. Ed finds the local players to be “very skilled athletes” and gave a very encouraging news that “efforts are being made to bring over to America to gain more international experience”.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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