Polo: the Oldest Game Played with a Ball and a Stick

The oldest game played with a stick and a ball is Polo. The name polo was derived from a Tibetan word “pulu” which literary means “ball”. Not only did the polo requires animals to play, teamwork is also very important for the players of each group.

There are other games that were probably derived from the game of polo such as the cricket and the golf. The first ever written record of the polo was dated as far as the Persian civilization. In fact there is a book that was published in the year 1613 which describes how the polo game is played during the Persian civilization.

The polo which originated in Persia had spread in many parts of the world including Constantinople, the in Turkestan, Tibet, China and then in Japan. From China, the game was imported to India. When the Europeans saw the game in India, they have decided to play it too and imported it back to Europe. And in 185, the first European Polo Club was established.

The European polo club also established the first rule of polo in which drafted the first European version of the game.

Ten years later, a group of British Army Officers heard about this game being played in India and decided to play it in England. The first ever match in England become an instant success in the year 1871.

An expression called “polo pony” was greatly influence and connected with the game of polo. This expression came to be when there is a rule to which there is set a height limit of the horses that could be used in the game. But this rule was removed and today, there will no such limit of the horse used nor there particular breed of horse to be used. But because one of the cues to the games winning is the importance of the horse’s speed, the horses that were used today were usually the thoroughbreds. Thoroughbred horses were trained for at least a year before they are used in the game of polo.

Not only did the polo requires animals to play, teamwork is also very important for the players of each group since the position of the ball happen very quickly.

Today, the basic rules of polo are as follows:

  • Polo is played by two teams that are made up of four players each.
  • The playing field is bounded on each side by sideboards which is eleven inches wide and lined with white lines that extend both ends.
  • A goal post is placed on these lines of feet apart and equidistant from the sideboards.
  • Each game has six periods to which one period is equivalent to seven minutes.
  • The horses that were used in the game are allowed to play for only two periods, therefore each player would require at least three horses for one game of polo.
  • The object of the game is to set-up game tactics that will result to a score.

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