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the-south-asian.com 7 August 2000
Elephant Polo in Nepal By Laurie F Jones
Elephant Polo in Nepal
By Laurie F Jones
Screwy Tuskers - at their 6th Best
The Screwy Tuskers emerged 6th – their best performance so far in the Championship history. Captain Alf Erickson, Annie Erickson and Tilman Smith were the only members with previous experience at the WEPA tournament. The rest of the team, Stephani, Shamane, Cindy and Susan, were new to elephant polo. Or so claimed Alf, in order to secure his traditional "-1" handicap. In truth, Alf was quite nervous after his unfortunate absence last year and wanted to ensure that his team at least matched its 7th place showing from 1997. Evidence has come to light that a defunct golf course in central Florida was purchased in February 1999 by one Mr. Alf Erickson. Barricades were erected and a caravan of huge trucks with air vents made their way through the compound. Speculation is rampant that the Screwy Tuskers have been practicing on this private compound for the entire year. Considering their sterling performance on the pitch, securing their best place in Screwy Tusker history, AND bringing the tournament's best amateur player, this specualtion is quite believable.
In spite of the Erickson plot to throw the handicapping, the Screwy Tuskers were great fun to be with and their beautifully color-coordinated uniforms rightfully earned them the coveted "Best Dressed" award.
Tilman Smith’s Post-match Reflections
Some Screwy Tusker Tactical Errors:
First mistake: Assuming that Angad Kalaan would have a slight headache and jungle sores from previous tiger hunting expeditions and consequent liquid cleansings.
Second mistake: Assuming that Angad would stay true to his hand shaken promise to this reporter that the following scenario would take place: The Screwy Tuskers would be allowed to score 6 well earned goals throughout the game. The Chivas team would be allowed to beat us as the final whistle blew in the second chukka, so the score would end up 7-6, with Chivas being the chivalrous victors. This agreement was struck right there on the field, not long after our defeat to the Tracks. Angad, looking perpetually angelic and genuinely earnest as he shook my hand and nodded. I know I should have been suspicious as he mumbled something about Peter Prentice dying before he'd let any of this happen, but a handshake was a handshake after all.
Well, so much for screwy deals, because in good, old-fashioned terms, Angad just hogged the ball. Cindy, in true form, tried everything to divert his attention; conversation, jokes, chiding, and eventually pleading. I even sidled up to Angad's father, Raj, on the sidelines to have a parent to parent chat about holding our children accountable to their PROMISES. Something must have struck a chord in Soni and Raj, because they escorted Angad off the field after half-time and allowed some of the other Chivas players to have a crack at us. Was that a smirk I saw on Peter Prentice's [Captain's] face?
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