Elephant Polo 1999
by Tilman Smith
V. Wepa Women Update
On December 9th, the International Tigresses played a very tense match against the Tiger Tops Tuskers. The look on Laurie Jones' face reflected one of her "Why did I ever defect?" moments. After all, the Tigresses would be facing the mighty Kristjan Edwards and his championship team. Though missed around the lodge, I assumed the Tigresses weren't crying over the fact that Nikel Singh had been called back to India for the wedding season.
The play was intense, complete with Kristjan completely falling off his elephant, not with a plunk, but with a major, full body thud. The Tigresses were unflappable, though, until a agonizing shriek was heard from the middle of the field. Margie, the fiercest player to be seen at WEPA, had been hit in the face with the butt of a stick in the heat of battle. For a very long moment, I'm not sure anyone even took a breath, because we understood that, for Margie to claim pain, it had to be serious. But, true to form, after composing herself, she insisted on continuing, and she and her team went on to defeat the Tuskers 4-3.
Margie was quickly whisked off the field by her own team mate, Dr. Celia and the WEPA doctor. She laid low that evening, and it wasn't until we saw her the next morning that we understood the complete impact of her blow. Face completely swollen and bruised, bones possibly broken, tooth completely knocked loose, there was our heroine, preparing for her next game against the National Parks. As far as the Screwy Tuskers were concerned, Margie was the player of the millennium.
The Titanic Tracks had the first game on the morning of December 10th, the Quaiche Cup Semi-Final against the British Ghurka Gladiators. Trying not to play favorites, but loving those Tracks more each day, the Screwy Tuskers headed down early to cheer our friends on. Once again, Jean and Griselda lead their team to victory to score 4 goals to the Gladiators' 2. They were becoming stronger with each game they played, leading the Tracks to the Quaiche Cup finals which would either be played against the Tiger Tops Tuskers or the Screwy Tuskers.
I don't mean to ignore the tremendous work of the Track men, for they were obviously a key part to the team's success, but our hearts went out to Griselda and Jean, who did the WEPA women proud.
Tiger Mountain India:
Please forgive me, because I can't remember the actual day that Jim Edwards decided to support his team from the sidelines instead of on the field. What I do remember is the luck of Tiger Mountain India in the form of Jim's replacement, by the name of Jaya Singh Sandu. Starting out quietly and nervously with her husband, Gurpal watching her every move, it quickly became clear that Jaya was a natural and able player, who wasn't going to let her opponents get anywhere near her goal with ease. Jaya became an essential member of Tiger Mountain India and went on to lead the Happy Rhinos to victory in the Ladies Challenge. (More to come on this later.) I'm sure she'll become a familiar face around the polo fields for years to come. Tiger Mountain India better watch out for heavy recruiting from the Tigresses, who have been known to notice talent and grab it.