Urban teens excel in sport of kings -- polo

Mon Apr 4, 2011 12:47pm EDT
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By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters Life!) - It may be the sport of princes, kings and the wealthy, but a group of teenagers from Philadelphia have become the first all-black team to win a national polo championship.

The team, based in a remote barn in the city's Fairmount Park, is known as the Cowtown/Work to Ride team, but Kareem Rosser, an 18-year-old member of the winning squad, prefers another title.

"We're known as the West Philly speed boys," he said.

Rosser, his younger brother Daymar, 16, and fifteen-year-old Brandon Rease won the National Interscholastic Championship at a tournament at the University of Virginia last month in the indoor version of the sport. Each team has three players, as opposed to four on the larger outdoor polo grounds.

Their coach, Lezlie Hiner, is under no illusions about the sport in which the speed boys have excelled.

"It's still an upper middle class white guy sport," she said. "These kids are not from polo playing families. It's not like that they're moving into a family tradition."

The Rossers' interest was sparked by their older brothers who introduced them to the sport and Hiner. Both boys attend the prestigious Valley Forge Military Academy outside of Philadelphia on scholarships.

Kareem, trim in his academy uniform, knows what polo has brought him. He left his row house neighborhood to move to the academy to play polo and excelled at the sport as one of the speed boys.   Continued...

<p>(L-R) Kareem Rosser, Brandon Rease and Daymar Rosser pose before a polo skills competition in West Palm Beach, Florida March 29, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Skipper</p>