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Coles can always be found field-side with his canine companion

With a 90th birthday under his belt, Myopia mainstay Charlie Coles reflects on life and times at his beloved polo club.

One of the most familiar faces in the Myopia crowd is that of Charlie Coles, an MIT and Harvard Business School graduate and Myopia alum, who celebrated his 90th birthday this past March.

Since picking up the game of polo with the famous Winthrop family in his mid-30s, Coles has been devoted to the field at Myopia. He has traveled all over the world, playing in Argentina, England, northern Africa, and all over the United States, but whether traveling as an individual or part of a team and no matter where or when he played, Coles says he always represented the name Myopia. In fact, until a few years ago Coles could have been seen trotting on horseback down the field, playing with the same passion as the first day he started.

Throughout his life, Coles has tried his hand at a number of sports-competitive skiing, sailing, football, and fox hunting among them-but polo was his true love by far. “Polo is a fantastic sport because it’s not only very dangerous, but [it involves] working with four or five horses and having a complete compatibility with them in a game,” says Coles. “You respect your horses and they respect you.”

That bond and trust is what Coles now misses most about the sport. Having a mutual respect takes patience and a lot of practice, he says, but for Coles, the relationships that formed between himself and his animals will forever be unbreakable.

That same dedication to the horses is evident throughout Coles’ whole family. Coles and his son, Carlos, have eight horses, which they keep on their farm in Wenham during the summer. Carlos  has followed in his father’s impressive footsteps and now is a dominant player on the Myopia field. And although the senior Coles no longer is active on the field, he can be seen sitting sideline at any and every game in which a family member plays. As Coles puts it, “Polo is a game about generations,” and he hopes to see it continue throughout the years.

While at Myopia, Coles racked up a remarkable list of achievements. In 1986, his horse was awarded the title “Best Playing Pony.” When in his late 60s, Coles was part of the Senior Team that won the Nationals. He won numerous East Coast Open Tournaments and, most impressively, he was rightfully named a Myopia Equestrian Legend in 2001.

These days, Coles stays active in the polo community by not only attending the matches, but also by taking care of and practicing with many of the horses that Carlos rides.

“I think polo is the most exciting animal-human sport,” Coles says. “It involves teamwork between people and horses. It’s incredible-tremendously exciting.”

Coles says he admires the grace and intelligence of the horses and how they work with the players. And although he enjoys a well-played match, when asked to name his favorite part of the game, Coles answers like a true polo competitor with a single, solitary word: “Winning.”