This is great: as the Washington Post reports today
, North America will be represented in the World Elephant Polo Association
tournament next month in Thailand by a team from the DC area. Of course, the DC team's elephant stable numbers exactly zero, and they practice by standing on a playset in somebody's backyard that's roughly elephant-height. But they have two advantages: enthusiasm, and the fact that they're probably the only elephant polo team in our hemisphere. The article contains such gems as a description of elephant polo by the Thai Elephant Polo Association president: It creates a fantastic adrenaline rush, and elephants enjoy it, as their natural instinct is to thrive in a herd environment. There is a lot of lively banter and much discussion of the rules. Elephants are, for example, not allowed to lie down in the goal mouth.
Our valiant team will face stiff competition, and if things go well they may go up against the feared Scottish team, led by the Duke of Argyll, who are the current champions. Having ridden elephants once or twice, I can't really imagine doing anything other than trying to stay on the top side rather than the bottom. But maybe things get easier after a nip or two of Chivas Regal, the official sponsor of the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA).
Of course, the DC team is not the first American elephant polo team. In 2000, the WEPA Amateur Chivas Regal Quaiche (look it up) Cup (yes, it's redundant) was won by
Eldorado USA, from Palm Springs, and the runner up was the Screwy Tuskers, also Americans. And in case you were confused, there are indeed two people on each elephant, the player and the mahout, who actually does the driving.