Inner-city kids look for polo glory in Africa

May 29, 2008 8:42:33 PM PDT
The team got a modest start with the horses here in Fairmount Park, but now they're heading to Nigeria to play polo, usually considered a privileged sport. This week, they'll play the best in the sport and on a world stage. "It's like a once in a lifetime thing to go over to Africa and play polo."

15-year old Kareem Rosser and 18-year old Tasha Harris are two of the four players heading to Nigeria to play polo against players from around the world. While getting packed up, they talked about representing their nation and paving the way for future players like them.

"We're the only African-American team in the nation. We're going to show people that we know how to play," Kareem said.

It's all part of Philadelphia's Work to Ride program in Fairmount Park.

Inner-city kids learn how to ride and care for the horses. No one ever expected kids from some of the city's toughest neighborhoods would one day play polo in Africa.

"The kids are going to represent the United States very well and I think we're showing them what a great program we have going on in Philadelphia," said program founder Lezlie Hiner.

"I hope they can see that there's a bigger world than just Philadelphia alone," said former student Richard Prather, who is one of the chaperones for the trip.

They expect to learn a lot from their trip. And they're pretty clear: this polo team expects to win.

The cost for the four players, 3 guys and one girl, and three chaperones rings in at about $20,000. Almost all the money came from donations. They'll be there 13 days between matches they'll visit schools and take in as much as they possibly can.