I went to my first polo match last weekend. I wish I could say that it was great fun, exciting, and that I can’t wait until the next one. Unfortunately, I can’t.
Don’t get me wrong – I admire polo players’ stamina and their ability to handle their ponies, but I was on pins and needles the entire time I was watching. I was so worried that one of the players would get bonked in the head with a mallet or that one of the ponies would step on the ball, break a leg, and they’d have to put it down right there on the field. I was a wreck. And quite honestly, I can’t even imagine royal parents allowing their children to play this “sport of kings.” At least not any who wanted their children to actually live long enough to take the throne.
But it occurred to me – as I tried to keep my mind off the eminent tragedy that was sure to unfold – that genealogy research is a lot like a polo match.
At the start of each “chukker” in a polo match, the referee tosses the ball into the pile of players and horses, and it’s a mass of horse legs and mallets flailing about. In genealogy, when we first get started, it’s a free-for-all! We’re finding records and photos and other documents and it’s a flurry of activity and excitement.
In polo, the ball will break loose from the pack and a player or two will give chase down the field. It’s all very proper … until someone comes from your blind spot and hits the ball the other way! In genealogy, we get focused on one ancestor and start following their life and just when we think we have it all figured out, WHAM! Something comes from nowhere and sends us in an entirely different direction!
Then there are the boring periods of inactivity – in polo, it’s when everyone is waiting for the referee to arrive with a new ball or waiting for a player to take a foul shot. In genealogy, these inactive periods occur either because life gets in the way or we simply haven’t figure out where to look next. Most of the time, they are short-lived.
And there are several times in a polo match where the players have to change ponies so they don’t get overworked. In genealogy, sometimes the genealogist just needs a rest too. Take time to step away from your research and spend time with living folks in your life!
I think this officially puts genealogy research and exercise on equal footing. That means I get to have that extra piece of pie, right?
(and now you know what it’s like to be in my head for a little while!)
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