The doctor nodded.
"But," I persisted, "I'm not thinking of tournaments and championships. I'm thinking of a man who has been playing polo for 35 years and is still playing two and three times a week, even if only in pickup matches out at your own field. I'd like to find out how a man of 66 can do it—how he can stay in shape to do it. I mean to say, you take a 66-year-old golfer. Show me one who isn't using a cart."
"Golf carts should be outlawed," said the doctor. He reflected a moment and then chuckled. "I remember some years ago in Chicago, a reporter asked me, 'Doctor, how do you get in shape for tournament polo?' I said, 'Hell's bells, young man, I have never been out of shape.' Oh, I was a goin' dude then, as we say in Texas. But it was the absolute truth. I was raised on a ranch in West Texas and I swear to you I can't remember when I learned to ride. At the University of Texas, before I went on to medical school at Columbia University in New York, I played quarterback on the football team and first base on the baseball team. When I finished my internship at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York I set up practice here in Dallas and started playing polo as a member of a National Guard team and have been at it ever since."
"And you don't think all this justifies a write-up?"
The doctor shook his head. "I'm speaking of lately—lately."
"All right. How about just last spring when you were awarded the Governor of Texas Polo Award? Cecil Smith got the first one, you got the second. And on the occasion of your award, somebody said that you had the physique of a man of 35. How about all the things you've done to promote polo in Dallas? How about your term as governor of the Southwestern Circuit of the U.S. Polo Association?"
The doctor rubbed his chin.
I said, "I see only one thing that could militate against this write-up."
Dr. Williams' eyes narrowed. "What?" he said.
"Well, to be frank with you, doctor, as I am sure you would be with a patient, the one thing that would give me pause would be to learn that you're easing up in polo and that some of the younger players are easing up on you. Pulling up for you, I believe the phrase is. Avoiding any hard-riding body contact. Making allowances for your age."