American Polo Pioneer
Sue Sally Hale
A word to a woman who never believed in discrimination of any sort, who had her heart in her hand and touched all who passed by acceptly: A beautiful heart in its rarity....thank you for touching mine.
--Wiley J Tough.
Sue Sally was one of those rare individuals who not only left their mark on the sport they loved, but on everyone who was involved with it. At times you'd have thought she had six children. With Polo being the sixth. She fought, defended, encouraged, supported and loved the sport as only a mother could. Polo is a better place today because of Sue Sal. I've feel very fortunate to have known Sal and to call her my friend. I will truly miss her.
Sue Sally Hale, will be missed by many in the Polo World. Sue Sally was a true competitor who demanded that the Sport of Polo be played with Sportsmanship first and winning second. She was unique Lady who had a love of Horses, People and Polo. Sue Sally loved to teach young (and old) persons how to play polo. I know of several very fine players who Sue Sally introduced to the sport, teaching them many valuable lessons that they are and will be carrying the rest of their lives. They have represented those values she taught by playing well in Youth, Interscholastic, Intercollegiate and because of the love of Polo she instilled in them, continuing on their Polo career's as adults. Many have the desire to continue those values by becoming mentors for other new young players and help carry on the tradition of Sportsmanship.
I have enjoyed my brief time (12 years) of knowing Sue Sally Hale and some of her family. We enjoyed playing with and against each other. From the Seniors Tournaments, Arena League and just fun polo, Sue Sally was fun to be around. She was a multi talented Lady, a good artist/painter, poet and writer. Sue Sally Hale had a love of Polo that will be missed.
I was so sad to hear about the passing of Sue Sal. This amazing lady influenced my life on and off the field, and she probably didn't even know she did it. That's the kind of woman she was. The last time I saw Sal she was at the memorial service for James Rice (another mentor I will miss...) where she was honoring his life. Sue Sally Hale kept me on the field and in the game more times than I can remember. One day in particular I was being "challenged" by the male players on my tournament team. She reminded me that it was an accomplishment just to be on a horse and in the game, as she had played in a time when women weren't even allowed to be "official" members of the clubs and teams. She always helped me keep my eye on the ball and joy in the game. And now, even though I am not playing anymore, I will look for that angel on my shoulder keeping me happy to just get the chance to play.
Sal was a monumental part of so many peoples polo careers. The memory of her will stand by us for all our polo lives. She was there for me at times of the greatest test. The death of my mother, my own accident and for the careers of many. My smile has left me and tears fill my eyes at any thought of the lose of this soul. I know with time I will be able to handle all this, but for now my heart is so damn heavy. I miss this lady. Every time someone calls to ask about Sal the tears fill my eye and the breath leaves my body. God take care of this soul, she was one of your good works, we have all at one time or another been in bad graces with SSH but have all been forgiven and loved once more. Her wonderful kids are a testament to her life and will stand to remind us of what once was. WE ALL LOVED YOU SAL
I had the unfortunate experience of first meeting the 'grand dame' of polo on the field of battle when I was just beginning polo. She and Kim Kelly, and Cindy, came to the islands as a Hawaii Polo Club guest team, pitted against an all male team. We, the male team, were thoroughly trounced but lived to enjoy it. That was the first of a 22 year long, wonderful, relationship encompassing lots of polo, meeting her vast group of friends, and learning the Sue Sally Hale method of entertaining.
She was a pistol…. From squabbling with the neighbor next door, to hostile letters to the USPA, zoning board, and anyone else with whom she disagreed. She did not hesitate to let her feelings and recommendations known……, and, the world is better for it. I loved returning to the desert hearing the target of the latest debate.
We once played a seniors exhibition game during the glamor days of the LA equidome, and she was surprised that I expressed a mild displeasure with the mule she gave me to play. In the Sue Sally tradition, she played the mule and gave me her mount. Of course, we won the match.
Her greatest gift to me was the gift of love. Not the gushy romantic type of love, but the deeper family style of attachment. After a health problem while skiing, she nursed me back to health with a great deal of comfort, and a great many stalls to muck. In the past four year, although I have not seen her, we stayed in contact via the telephone.
Now, my only question is: with whom is she at odds. It's either God or the Devil and with either one, believe me they have their hands full, and, they'd better learn the game. See you soon, Sal!
--Bob Schriver, Amissville, Va
Sue Sal has touched so many lives with her zest for life, and love of the game. I know that everyone in polo has their favorite Sue Sal story. I heard about her long before I had the pleasure of meeting her, and she owns a very special spot in my heart. With her gentle guiding, and the protection of a mother hen, she lured me into my first tournament...and with gleaming faces, we stood together on the winners platform. To our delight, we repeated our triumph several more times that year. She was the "grass roots" of polo, and with her patience, and enthusiasm, she helped so many people become a part of the sport we all love so much. I cherish my rookie days in the loving care of our beloved Sue Sal, and am blessed to have known her. She will forever live on in our hearts, and in the retelling of her stories. You are loved, and Missed dearly. --Caroldean Ross
Without a doubt, this is one of the most difficult moments for anyone to find the words that would suffice as honorable enough to pay respects to such a legend. To stand before the memory of such a woman and the presence of such a distinguished friends of hers, truly puts a person in a position of reservation. It should not be the intention of any of us to try and find words that will ease the grief which has come upon our hearts, or to honor her with that which is due, for we will surely fail. Such a task is far beyond the mechanics of words. But let us celebrate the gift that she was in our lives.
Now I find myself in a position, which desperately seeks words to truly pay homage to such a woman, and Sal, well her words from now on will echo in our hearts in the form of our guardian angel.
She was truly a mother to all of us in the polo community. She made us swallow the medicines of life and polo which we did not want, to see the lessons and values we didn't see, to behave and perform the way that is proper of conduct in a game ever so maturing and modernizing in the battle fields of modern sports, and finally to live and breath with a code of honor which upheld All, on equal terms. No rank of any sort meant anything to her other than honorable actions, which upheld the right of each and everyone of us on equal terms, regardless of money, talent, equipment, horses, handicaps and any of the other things that we find to mark a division between us. She made herself the division lines of battle so that we could all get along better with each other.
It goes without saying that what I learned from her was perseverance and patience. He who cannot persevere is one who is not growing as a person and merely waiting for their demise. She taught me patience with horses and players. She taught me how to make with that which I had. She taught me to not lose my cool on the polo field, and made me feel horribly guilty if I lost my cool with the horses.
I have my chance to tell you what I had not told anyone. Two conversations that I had with Sal.
The first. One day, after my first major grass game, that she was at, well, major for me at the time. Sal said that she wanted to talk to me about something. She asked me "Ardeshir, be honest with me, when you ride, what are you thinking? You ride as if there is something going on in your head, as if there is another aura about you or something like that and its quite apparent to everyone, what is it?" I remarked to her, "Sal, you know how when people get ready for a game, they put on there game face and walk onto a polo field and get ready for a polo game on a polo field with other polo players. I don't think that way. For me its walking onto a massive arena, but the seats are "Above" and the spectators are "The Greats" that I have studied and have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for, such as Cyrus the Great, Alexander, Genghis Khan, and some non-horsemen such as Martin Luther King and Eleanor Roosevelt, all different types of people that I have an immense amount of respect for. So I ride to keep them proud of me. I hope they see me as a man that is seasoned, and as a horseman worthy of respect and honor that is truly embodied in the word chivalry. If I don't behave properly or ride properly, I feel that they will look negatively on me, and walk away thinking that I am still a boy. You Sal, will be up there one day. You will sit with them and judge, even though I know you judge now. But now I can argue with you. Then I won't be able to. Then I have to just show myself to you and hope you give me your approval and I honor you just as I try and honor them. One day Sal, you will hold a seat next to those Greats."
The second. Many, many, many times I would talk to her about all that she has done for polo and horsemanship. How she has always approached it and upheld the notions and ideals of horsemanship and sportsmanship. How number one was always the horse, and number two the player. But players amongst players were always equal and fair. That it bothered me so much that so many people would walk by her and not respect what she had done for the sport and in particular for them, especially women. That she would have to die to be a legend. But I would always tell her that she is a legend in my eyes, while she is alive. That we as humans can be so ungrateful when someone is alive, but then celebrate them or recognize them when they die. I would tell her, that to me, she is a living legend. That was the only time I would ever see her quiet and without a remark. The only time I would ever see her not say a word about something I said.
Sal - for the first time I can talk without you interrupting me with some ridiculous task to do or some thought, that I have no idea where you got the nervous tick to talk about. I will use a word that you so much hated to be used… Woman.
Woman, you are so dear to all of us.
Woman, thank you for all that you taught us.
Woman, thank you for all the hell that you put us through.
Woman thank you for doing so much that so many others lacked the courage or vision to take on.
Woman, thank you for having the courage to show us what a true gift "woman" is to mankind and having the courage to thaw out so many who were still left in the ice of an archaic and bygone era.
Woman, thank you for doing your part to correct the wrongs of so many, so that we don't have to live with such burdens.
And woman, thank you for showing us the beauty that is truly the nature of caring.
You and your family paid a huge price and laid a sacrifice on the altar of what it truly the American Spirit and willingness to fight for that which is right, so that others do not have to. That burden, so solemnly yours. You left with us wonderful examples to live by, in your lessons, your children, and your legacy. It's now our responsibility to uphold and carry forward what you have done.
Regardless of what faith we have or do not have, what spiritual beliefs we have or do not have, or ideologies we follow, we are all grateful for having you as a gift and vision in our lives. I would say rest in peace Sal, but I know for you there is no rest, not even in heaven. I'm sure there are things that you have managed to find to correct even there, but one thing you will not have to worry about my dear friend, horses there will tread much lighter than here, for they carry you on their golden wings.
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