Robbie Zekany, seated, was inducted into the US Polo Association Hall of Fame for his unwavering 35 year dedication to Lancaster Polo.
Many Lancaster Polo players, perhaps nailing a perfect off-side back shot, have fantasized about someday being inducted into the US Polo Association Hall of Fame. Undoubtedly none of them imagined that the club’s first USPA Hall of Fame inductee would be loyal longtime flagger, Robbie Zekany, who has played an important role at Lancaster Polo games for more than 35 years.
Lancaster Polo held an appreciation day in his honor on July 30 at Forney Field in Rothsville, PA. USPA CEO Duncan Huyler attended the match and awarded him a plaque after the game played in his honor. “Robbie’s dedication to the Lancaster Polo Club and to our sport is an inspiration to all of us at the USPA. We celebrate this amazing milestone and thank Robbie for his incredible efforts,” Huyler said.
A flagger tends one of two goals on the polo field, indicates when a goal is made or missed, and retrieves balls and places them for the knock in.
“I started playing polo at Lancaster in 1988 when I was 16 years old,” said Club President Annelise Reinhart. “When I started playing Robbie was already a fixture at LPC as a flagger and his brother Tim Zekany was the club’s manager. Robbie has been flagging the upper goal for as long as I can remember. I don't recall him missing any Sundays, he has always been very dedicated. Robbie is very special to LPC, not only because of his commitment as a flagger but because of his wonderful spirit. Robbie has Down Syndrome and his speech is extremely difficult to decipher. This obstacle is quickly averted by Robbie's exuberance and expressions when he talks to you. He is always happy (except when his favorite NASCAR racer or sports team isn't winning). He lights up your day with his big smile and bear hug when you say hello to him. I am honored that I have been around to get to know Robbie over the last 29 years.”
“Robbie has been flagging at Lancaster 35+ years,” said his brother Tim, who initiated the honor and who traveled from his home in Aiken, SC for the celebration. “Anybody that has ever come to Lancaster to play always had Robbie greeting them as they arrive.”
The polo match featured some of the players from the 1980’s, including Ric Hovesepian, who flew in from Santa Barbara, CA for the day and who acted as emcee for the ceremony. Numerous former players enjoyed a reunion with old friends.
Robbie is being honored by a commemorative brick in the Spirit of Polo section at the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in Lake Worth, FL. A news release said “the USPA encourages inclusion and diversity in all aspects of the sport.”