When you think of polo, the images that come to mind usually evoke the likes of princes and their aristocratic cohorts. Yet for the past two seasons, the program which has won the National Interscholastic Polo Championship was comprised of teenagers from backgrounds about as far from Prince Harry as possible: They're all natives of inner-city Philadelphia.
As reported extensively by CNN, ESPN and a handful of other sources, the Work To Ride team has emerged as the strongest force in American scholastic polo, using a not-for-profit program based out of the stables at Philadelphia's Fairmount Park as the basis for the kind of class-bending success usually reserved for a Disney fairytale script.
To win the 2012 crown in March, the Work To Ride squad had to knock off a perennial blueblood squad, California's El Dorado, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. While the championship match was a tight-fought contest, Work To Ride eventually emerged victorious after a double-overtime shootout, locking up back-to-back prestigious national polo titles for the least likely victors of all.
"You couldn't have written a movie any better than what that was," Work To Ride Executive Director Leslie Hiner told CNN's Sarah Hoye. "It was so clutch."
The predominant story lines behind Work To Ride's stunning success could sound trite and disingenuous -- kids from the mean streets make good -- if they weren't so overwhelmingly apparent when watching the team compete, as you can in the CNN video above. By playing polo, and working together to clean the stables for the opportunity to compete in the sport they love, Work To Ride has emerged as a transformative force for some of the roughest parts of Philadelphia since it was founded in 1994.Read More »from The high school polo national champions are from inner city Philadelphia. Really.