“How many people invite you to their farm to have a good time?” asked Charlie Muldoon, seasoned professional player and participant in the Ten Oaks Cup. Muldoon is a big advocate of polo, probably because he’s been around the sport his entire life. “I could ride before I could walk,” says Muldoon, who travels around the world playing polo at the highest level, and shakes the hands of world leaders as they present him with awards. When asked where he has played, he says its easier for him to tell you where he hasn’t played.
“I’ve woken up in some of the nicest hospitals in the world,” he playfully remarks, although he may not be entirely joking. Polo is the fastest sport on land without a motor vehicle, the second most dangerous sport right after racecar driving. Even so, Muldoon sees it is a “passport to the world” and an incredibly social sport that allows players to automatically feel like part of a family in any country they may find themselves playing.
When compared to other sporting events, Muldoon says, “A polo match is unique. You see something up close that you don’t normally get to see--eight to twelve hundred pound animals running around with crazy people on top. With football, you tailgate and then go in to the game. In a golf tournament you play yourself and talk to only 3 or 4 other people. At a polo match you can pull your car right up, bring as many people as you’d like to party before, during, after…play Frisbee, touch football…its family oriented and a great venue for people to have a great time.”
Muldoon especially enjoys the aspect of the sport that allows him to help raise money for philanthropies and organizations like Our Daily Bread. “We’re going to play polo anyway, so any time we can raise money for a good cause we’re going to.” He has played in matches that raised money for Breast Cancer, education for children around the world, children with disabilities, and even to build a hospital in Argentina. He was part of the first “go green” environmental event in Washington D.C., The Green Cup. What he finds especially impressive about the Ten Oaks Cup is that 100% of the proceeds--every dollar raised--benefits Our Daily Bread. Hosts Fred and Mary Agnes Lewis pay all the expenses, and everyone is a volunteer.
The funds raised from the event go to a great organization continuously enhancing their programs in pursuit of their mission to improve the lives of people in need. They provide helpful resources to achieve self-sufficiency through employment and housing. In 2010 Our Daily Bread served 261,841 meals to individuals and families (averaging 717 people per day), and placed 512 clients in jobs. Another 151 clients received occupational skills training through Our Daily Bread Employment Center, while 225 received health benefits, and yet another 312 received housing.
Since the Ten Oaks Cup event is the only one of its kind in Howard County, Muldoon hopes that the Pretty Woman image of a stuffy formal event does not turn away potential fans. The sport that he finds so addicting to play can also be addicting to watch. Last year more than 700 people attended the Ten Oaks Cup, growing from 500 the year before. Mr. Muldoon will be joining the ranks of other professionals and amateurs returning to play in this year’s match. His advice to nearby residents--get out your shorts and have fun ‘til sundown.