A team of Black teens from Philadelphia triumphantly took home the United States Polo Association championship last weekend, their second straight championship. Trained through Philadelphia’s “Work to Ride” program, the young men defeated a team from Palm Springs El Dorado Polo Club with a close score of 20 to 19. “The kids we played were the children of professional polo players,” Lezlie Hiner, Work to Ride’s executive director said. “For us, it’s about talent. A lot of it is the will to win, that type of thing, and athleticism. My kids know how to ride horses; they have good hand-eye coordination. They’ve learned the basics; the basics get drilled into them constantly. They have the desire to get better, and they take pride in that,” she added.
According to their website, Work to Ride provides activities that promote discipline, self-esteem, motivation, social development, life skills, academic achievement, and physical fitness through year-round programs that encourage long term participation. Founded in 1994, the non-profit has a range of programs for disadvantaged urban youth, including the first African-American polo team established in 1999.
How can we get more Black teens (and adults) to expand their horizons and partake in activities that are thought to be traditionally “White?”