Friday, November 21, 2008

Argentina Lifestyle

Polo Director &"Russo"


Where is one to begin. As most of you know, I am not a big fan of blogging, furthermore, took a little criticism from my last post, so I remain a little gun shy. With that said, I am currently residing in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 30 days, and have very few outlets to discuss what I am going through both personally and professionally. Therefore, I write this as much for me, as for you.

To begin, what an amazing place! They say BA is the Paris of South America and I have no reason to believe anything different. I will be in Paris in January, therefore should be able to establish a fair assessment. The food is amazing, approximately 1/2 Italian, the other native. Art, wine, friendliness, infrastructure, is really amazing. I encourage all to put BA on a list of global places to visit.

I am here to attend the Palermo season, or "Polo Season". We have a team playing in the Argentine Open, which is the greatest polo venue on the earth today. The best players, horses, and of course tournament is held annually in Argentina on the historical fields where the game has been played for centuries. It is somewhat of a gladiator atmosphere, as the fans are passionate both about the sport and it's players. I will say that the more I am around the game, it is truly the sport of kings. Dangerous as people die every yearAdd Image in games. The only way to adequately describe the game is hitting a golf ball while riding a horse 30 MPH, with somebody else trying to knock you off. The ball is the size of a softball, except it is harder than a hockey puck. I have gained a new found appreciation for the men and women that play the game. An additional note, EVERY man that rides is a master horseman. They do things on the back of the sAdd Imageteeds I have ever seen before. Leaning, reaching, standing, pulling, nothing short of greatness. One of the greatest Polo Players in the world plays for us, his nickname is "Russo", a 10 goaler, that plays the globe. His 4 brothers, also some of the worlds best are the sons of the greatest player the game has ever seen. The father played in 28 straight Argentine Opens, a feet that will never be broken.

I played polo for the first time a couple of days ago. Reflecting back, it was one of those experiences that one can only appreciate looking back. A once in a lifetime experience. It had been many years since my last ride, nearly ten, and it showed. I was very uneasy. The pony's, as they are called here, are special breeds. Bred of a hybrid Thoroughbred and quarter horse, they are athletes themselves. They are so highly trained, yet want to run and play the game as they are bred to do. To put the value in perspective of the horse, the horse pictured above earned $1,000,000 US Dollars for playing in the open. Anyhow, I was able to eventually walk the horse, carry a mallet, swing and hit the ball all at the same time. I was embarrassed to say the least for such poor performance, although, our polo pro said I had a natural gift for the game due to my time spent on the golf course. He told me I had the best backhand motion of any new player he had seen. I think he was full of s*** (edited by stacy later, this is a family-friendly site), but he maintains honesty. None the less, I am falling in love with the game, and plan on playing more. Good thing that life insurance policy is up to date:)

Business is being effected by the global crunch although we keep pushing through. I can not get into any details due to proprietary information, although I will say I enjoy the work, have huge responsibility, and live daily with pressure. I closed a deal at the end of last week which is a feat in todays market.

Our team plays La Dolfina, the #1 team in the world today. It has a 40 goal handi-cap, which essentially means they have 4 Tiger Woods playing on the same team. We are 38 goals, and anything can happen. We will see how it unfolds.

I miss the family terribly. This will be the first Thanksgiving away in 31 years. I have been trying to compartmentalize this, and hope for the best this week. Thursday will bring many memories, definitely a couple of bottles if wine, and maybe a few tears. As you all know, when you take something away for a while, your realize just how important it is to you.

I better wrap this up as I don't want to bore you all. My best to everyone, and thanks for all of the support. I will make an effort to post at least once more on the trip.

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