“I played polo all my life; my grandfather and my father used to play at the Polo de Paris and today I am in charge to organise the tournaments in the club. I’d say I played polo all my life and taught how to play during 20 years. Today, I organise tournaments”.
And so starts the conversation Stephan Macaire, captain of polo at the Polo the Paris, had with PoloLine. Stephane is renowned as one of the best French polo players in history, who’s been rated at 8 goals like his brother, Lionel; both represented France in the international circuit since 1975, and played in France, England, Argentina and United States alongside the best players of those days. Currently, he organises the tournaments of the club.
It is a big pressure, because the club has changed thoroghout the years”, explains Stephane. And adds: “We used to have practice fields and special spots to work and train horses. Today, all has dissappeared and there are tennis courts and many other things for the members. There’s only the main field; and if somebody wants to play here, they must bring their horses and organisation. But it is worthwile; we are set five minutes from Paris, it is an incredible place, very beautiful and it is my club”.
Being so close to the City of Lights, one can say that the Polo de Paris is very smiliar to those clubes set in the heart of a city, such as Rome or Barcelona, and even the Campo Argentino de Polo, Palermo, “the mecca of polo”, as Stephane says. And even though he prefers not to make any comparisons, he secures that “it is very nice to have a polo field so close to Paris, a small club, very beatuful”. At the same time, it is very convenient for “most of the captains of the French teams, who live and work in Paris, because they are very close”.
Currently, the second leg of the Parisian Triple Crown, the Tournois de la Ville de Paris, is underway at the Polo de Paris, the tournament that preceeds the prestigious Open de Paris. Stephane explains: “The Open de Paris is the club’s most important tournament. Normally, we play five, six tournaments between May and June, rated at 12-goals maximum. The handicap lows by September, by the end of the season, so players and members are able to play with no pressure and have fun”.
The Polo de Paris has a polo school, as well, that was managed by Stephane, who is a certified teacher and referee with a teaching certificate given by the French Ministry of Sports and Education. Today, her niece, Laetitia, his brother Lionel’s daughter, is in charge of the school. “This means we have polo all year; in addition to the polo school and the usual tournaments, we have indoor arena polo, which allows to play in winter”.
Last but not least, Stephane Macaire, remembers some of the players who demonstrated their skills at the Polo de Paris. “I remember my first season, when I played against no less than the 10-goaler Gonzalo Tanoira. We’ve had the Heguys, the Zavaletas, the Mihanovich, many very good players. And that’s so special”.