I grew up in a council house and now I’m Secretary of Warwick Polo Club

Posh kids are really fun to hang out with

What do you think of when you meet someone that plays polo? You probably think they speak like Francis from Made In Chelsea and spend their weekends tasting fine wine.

Well, that’s probably exactly what anyone would think. I changed my mind when I moved from a council house in London to Warwick uni and took up the sport myself.

I tried to come to uni with an open mind – I tried not to judge anyone so I could make sure I fit in anywhere.

I tried not to judge the polo members  I first met at the Sports Fair during Freshers’ week, but it was hard not to notice the distinct accent when you come from the ‘endz’.

My first time on a horse - I was so fresh

My first time on a horse – I was so fresh

To be honest, I really just wanted to try something different and something that I could brag about to my friends and family back home. How many people in my area do you imagine know how to bridge a horse’s reins?

Growing up in a council house in West London isn’t as bad as it sounds in some ways, but I can’t completely deny that some of its stereotypes are very real.

It’s quite possible to witness drive-by shootings, stabbings outside your door or drug raids in your neighbour’s house. I even know many people who have been stabbed to death.

Gang signs were compulsory in some classrooms

Gang signs were compulsory in some classrooms

Don’t let that confuse you – it’s easy to avoid London’s misfits, so this isn’t a sob story about a drug dealer-turned-polo player. This is about the beauty of campus education and the way it destroys a lot of stereotypes that people have.

At Warwick, there were more middle-class white people than I was used to… a lot more. Can you really blame me though? My year group at school had one white person for every 25 who weren’t.

Some, including myself, would call this a blessing.

Although polo is an expensive sport (much cheaper at university level), it’s something that I have grown very passionate about and am doing quite well in.

Horse discipline is not easy for those of us who grew up listening to Yungen and Sneakbo, instead of Frank Sinatra and Queen, but it’s just so rewarding.

When I won my 4th National tournament in a row

When I won my 4th National tournament in a row

If you have £30 to spare, try it out for an hour – it really is a great experience and great conversation starter.

There are the obvious benefits of having friends with holiday homes in the South of France, but in general, rich, posh kids are genuinely fun to hang with.

It’s just like having a friend from home, but without the slang and better taste in alcohol (does Purple count?).

Myself (left) and my other Social Sec half, Matt (right)

A couple of polo social secs

In my first year at Warwick, I thought “good form” was someone complimenting my body, and I definitely didn’t know what Prosecco was.

In my part of London, pretty much every sentence includes the use of “bruv” or “fam”. It was a horrible habit.

Being around polo players and just middle-class people in general has been so great for my English.

Once at Warwick, I accidentally said “bruv, listen…” to one of my ‘posh’ friends and he looked at me as if I’d killed someone. Never again.

Now my friends from home think I actually sound posh – I don’t, I’ve just stopped greeting them with “yo, what you sayin’?”

Me on my high horse, called Francis

On my high horse, called Francis

Of course, there are some university-level polo players who rock up to tournaments in Bentleys and order a cheese board wherever they can. Stereotyping us is so easy.

Truth is, most of us just like horses, team sports and hitting a ball – this sport has a little something for everyone.

However, most of us are ‘normal people’ – we don’t wear tweed to the supermarket, and we will happily drive around in a VW Polo. We socialise just like every other club.

People who visit from other clubs on campus are surprised by how good our Circling is. Honestly, we’re not as different as you might think.

Warwick Polo Club circa 2013