The Villages - October 2016 - 17
Overseeing the club
cCabe went to Colorado State University and
Stetson University for her bachelor's degree
in political science.
After moving back to The Villages five years
ago, she worked as the polo club's office manager. Two years
later, in 2014, she was promoted to director of operations.
Although her position puts her in the spotlight, she's not
someone who likes to be front and center.
"I tend to be pretty shy and introverted," McCabe said.
However, you wouldn't think that if you sat in on a
Polo 101 class. Her passion for the sport pours out and
she exudes confidence as she takes Villagers on a journey
through the history of polo - originating in sixth-centry
Persia and used in ancient military training - the rules of
the game, equipment and more.
In fact, she said "spreading the polo love, introducing
people to the sport and watching them grow and learn" is
second only to her love of horses when it comes to her job.
"Especially for first-timers, they are shocked that (polo)
is here," she said. "Polo's an extremely expensive sport.
They call it the sport of kings. So being able to offer it to our
residents at $10 a pop is pretty incredible."
Because of that accessible pricing, "We're more casual,"
she said. Some people throw on fancy hats and dresses on
occasion, but otherwise, fans feel relaxed and comfortable
in jeans and shorts.
"When we first started, everyone was tailgating," she
said. "It's kind of a throwback to when I grew up watching
it from the tailgate of a truck."
Offering the game here is made possible through The
Villages, as well as partnerships with local businesses such
as Citizens First, Ardens, Fross & Fross, McLin Burnsed,
United Healthcare and City Fire, she said.
And she's proud to offer the game of kings to the 115,000
Villages residents and people from the surrounding areas.
Ninety percent of the audience is residents, she said. And she
loves seeing them bring their families on holiday weekends.
"People want to come to The Villages," she said. "We
get 1,500 to 2,000 people on a Sunday. You don't get
that anywhere. You'd have to go to Argentina to get a
knowledgeable crowd like that. For the low to medium goal
level, we're very well known."
Plus, the pro-pool will have its second year at the club.
"It's taken off," she said.
McCabe attributes the club's success in part to The
Villages Booster Club of more than a thousand supportive
residents. The boosters educate the community with experts
on equipment, veterinarians and more.
"Then they appreciate (polo)," McCabe said. "There's a
lot of rules. There's humans and horses involved."
As for some other standout features at the club?
"Our season is unusual because we have a spring and a
fall season," McCabe said.
That's thanks to the good Florida weather allowing more
than one season of play. And those seasons are busy.
Each season lasts 10 weeks with two matches on
Fridays. The winners play in the finals and the losers play in
consolation on Sundays.
"It's like planning a party every Friday and Sunday,"
Every game has two or three umpires, two flaggers, a
time keeper and scorekeeper, an announcer, a videographer
and a parking staff of about a dozen District employees.
She connects with three box offices, the marketing
department, three full-time grooms, the booster club and
In the offseason, she gets to catch her breath, but there's
still much to do. She coordinates with the four property
managers and the field maintenance contractors.
"Offseason is mostly planning, phone calls," she said.
"First and foremost, get the field back. Then, sponsorships.
Then, tournament schedule."
McCabe wants to recruit new players and grow the
sport's popularity even more. She also is excited to oversee
renovations to the stadium this winter, which fans can
enjoy in the spring.
We get 1,500 to 2,000 people on a Sunday. You don't get that anywhere.
You'd have to go to Argentina to get a knowledgeable crowd like that.
For the low to medium goal level, we're very well known.
- Paige McCabe
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Villages - October 2016
The Villages - October 2016 - Cover1
The Villages - October 2016 - Contents
The Villages - October 2016 - 1
The Villages - October 2016 - 2
The Villages - October 2016 - 3
The Villages - October 2016 - 4
The Villages - October 2016 - 5
The Villages - October 2016 - 6
The Villages - October 2016 - 7
The Villages - October 2016 - 8
The Villages - October 2016 - 9
The Villages - October 2016 - 10
The Villages - October 2016 - 11
The Villages - October 2016 - 12
The Villages - October 2016 - 13
The Villages - October 2016 - 14
The Villages - October 2016 - 15
The Villages - October 2016 - 16
The Villages - October 2016 - 17
The Villages - October 2016 - 18
The Villages - October 2016 - 19
The Villages - October 2016 - 20
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The Villages - October 2016 - 27
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The Villages - October 2016 - Cover4