Bethpage Polo at the Park: It Takes 3

One of the key reasons any of us to go watch a sport live and in person is to feel that connection to the players, to the crowd, to the atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if you know the names of who’s playing, when you’re there watching a game you suddenly feel as though you make a difference. Who hasn’t screamed at the top of their lungs, almost convinced that the louder the scream the better the chance of winning? Or yelling out someone’s name as though your words of encouragement, or discouragement, will affect the athletes performance?

Polo is no different. The more familiar you are about who you’re watching, or hearing, the more involved you become. Although, being that the atmosphere is a bit more intimate, discouraging profanities are preferred to be left at the gate.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the season debut of Bethpage Polo at the Park. Now, I think it’s time to learn about some of the people that make up this fantastic sport.

Here are 3 people that YOU should know:

Cristian Vasquez.

He’s been at the Bethpage grounds playing polo for 16 years, having started in 1999, and known me for almost just as long, being the very reason I am a part of the polo family.

What’s he think about this season?

“Every year keeps getting bigger and bigger. People seem to be enjoying the game, coming to meet the players. We see new people coming every weekend. I think it’s great for the sport.”

The thrill of the game for him is the people. Hearing the roaring crowd gives him the rush he needs. So, next time you’re in the stands or under the tents make sure you bring your outdoor voice!

Want to root for the horses too? Cristian typically rides 3 ponies: Natasha, Biminy, and Doz

My favorite Polo Brothers
Juan Vasquez [left] Cristian Vasquez [right]
Juan Vasquez

At our polo grounds the best things come in 2s. In this case it’s the Vasquez brothers.

Juan has been playing polo for 25 years and is Bethpage Polo at the Park’s key referee. If you think there’s an unfair call on the field take it up with this guy!

He enjoys the comradery that comes with the sport of polo. There’s a connection between the players, the horses, the fans. These aspects all make up why he gets on the field.

Want to know more about Juan? It all comes down to the fact that he’s “Sexy, single, bi lingual, ready to mingle!”

Jerry Napp

Jerry, who I previously compared to Bob Sheppard, is the voice of Bethpage Polo at the Park.

Jerry Napp- photo courtesy of Debra Napp
Jerry Napp- photo courtesy of Debra Napp

While he has played competitively for 52 years, he and his wife Debbie (who you can find behind the camera lens every Sunday) have played for 25 years together.

Upon trading in his mallet for a microphone Jerry became the announcer for the grounds at Meadowbrook and other fields, now solely at Bethpage.

“The transformation is amazing at Bethpage Polo at the Park. [Bob] is so determined, so dedicated to bringing polo to the larger audience….once you get involved in polo there’s no way out.”

Being a part of this community for so long, having seen it go through such miraculous transformation and growth, if there’s one thing Jerry could tell all of us it’s to

“Learn that this is a game most people think of as elitist and for people with big hats, but it is so much more than that. It’s for everyone.”

He loves the people most. From the crowd to staff polo is a place of dedication to the sport and love of the game. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Next time you’re out at Bethpage Polo at the Park you’ll now recognize these 3, friendly faces. Well, 4 including myself. We look forward to seeing you there!

On Sundays We Play Polo

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