|At the end of March, Wilbur O'Farrell, two goal player and umpiring instructor from the Polo Training Foundation came to Maui all the way from Stevinson, California to do an umpiring clinic for the Maui Polo Club. He stayed a few days and besides enjoying the beautiful scenery and shooting clays, he gave an intense three day umpiring clinic. This presented a challenge of some magnitude since we have quite a few new members who don't know the rules and others who can’t make themselves read the rule book. (Seriously, does that book make sense to anyone?). Fortunately, Wilbur was a very enthusiastic and patient instructor! With the support of club officials, Scott McKay and Knox Weymouth, our clinic got under way.
We started the first evening with a few beers and a Disney cartoon of a polo match with Mickey Mouse and an assortment of Disney characters. Funny...many of the characters seem to resemble our club members! We moved on to discuss what exactly constitutes a goal. We learned several often contested nuances and interpretations of the USPA rules. We also discussed some of the new rule changes made this year.
On Saturday we met at Kula Ridge Stables where the only person on time, besides our instructor Wilbur, was the ever so enthusiastic whippersnapper Greg. Eventually, people made their way to the clinic and there was a good showing. In the afternoon, we played with foot mallets and we got to chase each other around. Wilbur spent the day working hard to further cement our knowledge of the rules. He also taught us how to call fouls.
On Sunday, we got our horses ready and practiced umpiring in actual chuckers. We played slow chuckers all day while Wilbur rotated players and umpires. We all got to umpire. Some of us learned all the rules. We all learned how to line up for the fouls and how to call them.
Wilbur is a gifted teacher, always patient, calm and to the point. He communicated clearly and explained only the necessary information. He went over it as often as needed. It was a good thing he was very patient! He made knowledgeable players of out of all of us and competent umpires out of some of us. Wilbur's previous experience came in handy. He commented at some point that he had taught middle school kids and was used to people with short attention spans.
The clinic was so successful that a new member, Steve Mcullough, was allowed to umpire our higher goal game last Sunday; an unheard of event where higher goal members with lifetime memberships always do the umpiring. Wilbur should be proud!