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How Can You Play Polo in the Water?

How Can You Play Polo in the Water?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.7

     challenging words:    croquet, entertainment, rugby, propel, polo, focus, exhibition, federation, indoor, european, govern, swimmers, mallet, typhoid, rider, paddle
     content words:    Madison Square Garden, Olympic Games, United States

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How Can You Play Polo in the Water?
By Jane Runyon

1     Polo is a game played on horseback. The riders guide their horses back and forth across a large field. They are holding a mallet much like a croquet mallet with a longer handle. The object of the game is for the riders to hit a ball on the ground with their mallet to try to get it into the goal of their opponent. The horse and the rider work together as a team to get their task completed.
2     How then can you play in the water? Horses would be very hard to ride in the water. Early players of water polo left the horses in the barn and used barrels instead. They would paint large, wooden barrels in bright colors. They would toss the wooden barrels into a pond. Players would each jump onto their own barrel. They would maneuver the barrel around the pond using their feet to propel the barrel. Players would use their mallets to hit a floating ball in just the same way it was done on land. Perhaps you can picture just how funny it would be to see a game like this. It could also be dangerous.
3     Over time, the rules of water polo changed to what they are today. The game played today is closer to a form of water rugby played many years ago in England. Historians believe that the name polo comes from the ball used in both the land and water sports. An inflated piece of rubber was used for the ball. This rubber came from India. In the Indian language, the name of the ball is "pulu." The English pronounced the word "polo."
4     In 1870, one of the most popular forms of entertainment was the swimming exhibition. People would pay for the opportunity to watch accomplished swimmers compete against each other. Promoters of such exhibitions were always on the look-out for any sort of water related activity that would draw crowds to their exhibitions. It was decided that the sport at ponds on barrels that some had watched might just be adapted to play in an indoor pool.

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