September 24, 2006
The USPA Gold Cup is underway in Aiken. Players from all over the world are flocking to our community to play for the Cup next Sunday. But if you ask some local kids, the most exciting game was played today.
Before today's Gold Cup game was played, another game took place...and this one showcased some of Aiken's finest players. Six kids from all over our community got a chance to play alongside the world's polo king: Adolfo Cambiaso.
"On a horse, he's great. And off a horse, he's great," said Wesley Bryan.
"It was good...he could hit it real far, real, real far," said Sean Fleming.
They're talking about Adolfo Cambiaso, the 31-year-old polo king from Argentina. He's considered the best polo player in the world, and today he made the dreams of six local kids come true.
"The first time I met him I was all nervous," Wesley said. "It felt great. I just felt like I was special."
Nine-year-old Wesley still cannot believe he played his favorite game alongside his favorite player.
"I hope to be as good as him one day, but if it doesn't happen, I'll just be grateful for what does happen," he said.
What the man himself hopes will happen is for the sport to become more mainstream...and he thinks these kids will help him realize his dream.
"That is why I think I am playing today, to keep the dreams of the kids and try to get them involved in the sport," Cambiaso said. "It's as much as we can do as polo players. It's great if this sport can grow."
Wesley won the game. He scored today's only goal, with a little help from the legend himself.
"I'll never forget it. I'll just never forget I played with him," Wesley said.
A memory that will last a lifetime...and a game that will play on.
Thanks to kids like Wesley, polo's future is alive and well...which is exactly what the legend himself wanted to hear.
Gold Cup Polo games resume this week, and the final match for the cup is next Sunday at 3 p.m.
A local craftsman at the game offered to preserve Wesley's game-winning ball. He is going to hollow it out so it can never be played again, and so Wesley will always have a memento of his special day.
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