Myopia Polo holds the distinction of being the oldest active polo club in America. One of five charter members of the United States Polo Association in 1891, except for two wartime hiatuses, club players have competed on summer Sundays on the original Gibney Field (named after what was Gibney Farm) since the first game in 1887.
Gibney Field was the scene of the first formal intercollegiate game, with Harvard playing Yale in 1907. It has hosted the U.S. Senior Championship, the equivalent of what is now the U.S. Open championship. Polo scenes from the 1967 movie classic ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ with Steve McQueen were shot on the site.
Gibney Field is highlighted in Horace Laffaye’s sweeping 2009 book “The Evolution of Polo” quoting from Newell Bent’s 1929 volume ‘American Polo’: “The dip at the clubhouse end has never been graded, and, after all, to the spectators watching the game, there is always the added interest in the wonder as to whether the players whose bobbing heads can be seen in the distance are making a goal or not. They will still bob after a knock-in. But if they slowly ride towards us, growing in size as first hull down under the horizon, we know that the score has changed and that they are coming back to the center of the field for play to begin again… In spite of the dip, it is a very excellent field.”
Many have been the memorable Gibney games, including the first contest with archrival Dedham in September 1888 ending in a 13-0 whitewash for the home team after the visitor’s captain was injured on the opening play. Another much publicized game was played in the teens against what was billed as a visiting American Indian team who arrived in native regalia, only to be found out at game’s end to be out of state pranksters. In 1970 there was an international contest against a fine visiting team from New Zealand. Other noteworthy matches include a Junior Westchester Cup game, Young Britain vs. Young Myopia in the 1980’s, and numerous thrilling sudden death overtimes in the 20-goal East Coast Open.
Many too have been the 10-goal players – the highest possible handicap – who have graced local polo, ranging from Myopia’s own Rodolphe Agassiz in the 1910’s to Adam Snow in the 2000’s and including such visiting superstars as the great Tommy Hitchcock Jr. in the 1920’s, Australian Bob Skene in the 1980’s and an assortment of contemporary American polo greats like Owen Rinehart and Memo Gracida and scions of famous Argentine polo families such as Marcos and Eduardo Heguy and Gonzalo and Alfonso Pieres.
Myopia Polo’s rich mix of history, bucolic setting, equine and athletic energy comprises a colorful tapestry for players and spectators alike every summer Sunday at the oldest polo club in the country.