Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Polo in the Vrijthof

As you can imagine from my last entry about TEFAF, Maastricht has earned a well-deserved reputation for being a little hoity-toity. A friend who lives in Maastricht just moved to a different apartment and their Dutch movers (who weren't from Maastricht) even commented about how "snobby" Maastricht is. I still love Maastricht despite the pretentiousness because every once in a while you can join in on the festivities-- for free!

We met some friends Sunday for brunch, tapas-style, at La Bodega. It had snowed over night so the streets were emptier than usual for an early Sunday afternoon in Maastricht. That suited us just fine because we were mainly in town to see polo in the Vrijthof and we wanted a good view. The "City Polo" event took place to coincide with the last weekend of TEFAF. Apparently it was the first time that a city center has ever hosted a polo match.

Being from a small, one-horse town (and believe me, that horse did not play polo), I am not familiar with the game. I don't know the rules and, before Sunday, I'd never seen a polo match. I wore a blazer because I thought that seemed equestrian-chic and I conjured images of Prince William bouncing along atop a galloping horse and I figured that was all the preparation I really needed.

Because of the snow and frigid, windy conditions, the Vrijthof wasn't crowded and we were able to stand right up against the arena for a close-up of the action. The commentary leading up to the match was in Dutch so we mostly just cheered and applauded when everyone else did. Finally the match was about to begin and all of a sudden a booming British voice echoed over the square.

"'allo Ladies and Gents, and welcome to the first-ever City Polo Maastricht! I'm your announcer, straight from the UK! Here we are in lovely Maastricht, the only town that builds two churches right next to each other. If you don't believe me, just listen to the bells!" The crowd's response to the boisterous emcee was a little lackluster so the emcee took it upon himself to provide one of the most colorful commentaries of a sporting event that I've ever heard. It was hilarious.

He christened a Belgian rider "The Muscles from Brussels." Any time he would score a point, the announcer would yell, "And here comes The Muscles from Brussels!" Then he would add something like, "He's from the country that brought us waffles, exquisite chocolate, and Jean-Claude Van Damme!"

I'm sure all of the Dutch people understood him perfectly well but it was our little group of Americans that
were guffawing and applauding whenever he would make a pun. I freely admit that I think I would have become bored rather quickly had it not been for his hilarious play-by-play.

Hilarious Commentator

After someone scored, he exclaimed, "And another score for the home team! The crowd is roaring!" The crowd definitely wasn't roaring and I'm pretty sure he was just amusing himself at this point because he then said, "Bras and panties everywhere!"

And his best line of the match was, "And now the horses are being prepared with some foreplay. The best kind of play is foreplay." I don't know who hired him but they're a genius.

Enjoy some photos of our posh (and slightly bawdy) afternoon at City Polo Maastricht!

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