By Kelley Wates
The National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a fitting event to kick-off the 2022 Jamaica Women’s Invitational Tournament.
A total of 18 women from the States arrived to play, along with seven Jamaicans. There were four teams in the 10 goal bracket and three teams in the lower league.
Jamaica has been hosting the Ladies Invitational since 1988. Growing up watching amazing women competing against and supporting each other, I have seen the long-lasting relationships built within the women’s polo community.
These relationships started not just from the chukkas played on the field, but even beyond the sidelines. When you come off the field, you no longer have a handicap. You can play high goal polo or be just starting out—everyone is equal in the 7th chukka.
When you look at the list of women, you have long time supporters of the Jamaican Women Polo Invitational. The names who participated in the tourney included Denver Polo Club owner Erika Gandomsar, Cecilia Cochran, Pamela Flanagan, Cecily and Kathy Coors, and Ali Van Housen, to name a few. Jamaicans who appeared on the field were Rachel Turner, Michelle Suberan, Susan and Kelley Wates, Fabiana Byles, Savannah Laing, and Belinda Morrow.
These women’s love and support is the foundation of this momentous event. Our group has become family, regarded not just for women’s polo, but for the legacy of the sport in the generations to come. We have an obligation as a polo family to showcase and include as many individuals as we can. It is too precious of an experience. The entire world should be so privileged.
You may ask why, I didn’t mention anything about the games. But it truly feels as if we all won, and the story behind it all is the most important.