Month: July 2017

Duck the Fight against Oblivion


Discipline sucks to prove that it is still alive and in these days a great opportunity arises, because the final of the most important tournament of the year is played and the visibility increases: it is the moment in which the duck stands up. It is not the Donald Duck, that mentioned days before the former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is the duck, the national sport.

In summary: “Four to four, on horseback, are played on courts that are from 180 to 220 meters long by 80 to 110 meters wide, times are 4 or 6 periods of eight minutes, and goals must be converted into hoops of one meter in diameter and one and a half meters high, “sums up NEWS Gustavo Lauzan, president of the Argentine Federation of Pato located in the microcenter of Buenos Aires.

And complete: “A game never ends in a draw, if they are even in regular time there is a golden goal and obviously wins the one that makes more.” Some basic rules for this discipline are, for example, that the duck is passed only with the right hand, moves with the extended arm being “offered” to the rival and this can steal it in a kind of belt, if not, infringement is charged.

The Argentine Open is the most important tournament and on December 20 the final of the 74th edition is played in the Argentine Polo Field. Undoubtedly this is the most important event of the discipline. It is also for players because the maximum prize is to be there, play in front of the cameras and before almost 5,000 people.

The Federation, in addition, has other National tournaments that are developed during the year and each has its importance: “Novice” is the first of the season, “Stimulus” is the one that follows, “Remonta and Veterinary” is another contest that is already giving more goals to several players and the “Copa Recuerdo” that is giving rise to the Argentine Open.

The best. Unlike the “Hndicap” of the pole, here are “so many” or “goals” that give the assessment to each player for his performance throughout the year. The overseers are the ones who decide that, they meet 3 times a year, one at the beginning and another in the middle to determine a raise of goals, the other is at the end of the year and apart from the raise, there are also low of so many depending on the performance of each patero.

At present there are four “10”, the best: Nicols Taberna, Facundo Taberna, Ariel Tapia and Juan Ignacio Lanfranco. But there is someone even more outstanding, since the national sport is given the particularity of having Martn Salaberry as the person who won the most silver Olympics in his discipline with a total of 10.

Beyond time, other two glories of this discipline were Ruben Liborio Cosentino and Osvaldo “little thing” Inchauspe who is the most open Duck won in history.
The sport is played in several places of the country, but especially in the Province of Buenos Aires; General Las Heras is considered the Capital of the duck since it was the place where the first field of the country was. Chivilcoy, Saladillo, Bolivar, Henderson, Parchment, Arrecifes, among others, are some of the cities where it is also practiced. Traveling to the interior of the country you can see Pato in Tucumn, La Pampa, Misiones, Chaco, Salta and Jujuy.

In the south of the country there is no competition due to cold, soil, inclement weather and other factors that do not favor practice. Internationally it is developed in countries like France and Portugal, but the unique peculiarity is that is denominated Horseball. The rules are similar, but differ in basic things like for example in the “offered”.

As in other sports, the Duck is no exception in terms of problems with referees. There are two on the playing field and one who sees the game from outside and has the last word. It is a discipline with a lot of interpretation when it comes to collecting, which leads to differences of criteria.

National sport. “We would love to have more diffusion since it is the National Sport” says Lauzan. According to estimates, the lack of attention is due to the fact that the activity was always developed in fields and is amateur. Many people do not know it and they are amazed when they see an exhibition as it is done every year, for example, the Rural Exhibition. There are few television channels that broadcast it: Amrica Sports has the “Pato de Primera” program on the air every Thursday at 9.30 pm and the ESPN signal is in charge of the live broadcast of the final of the Open.

The duck is the national sport since 1953, when the president was Juan Domingo Pern. It was the 16 of September of that year when the decision was promulgated, as it marks it the decree number 17,468 signed by the first president. The pearl of color was given by Peron himself. In addition to being the only president in history to witness a game of duck, when he attended the final of one of the Open played in those years, demanded a particularity to attend. As a condition, he asked to have 10 goals scored, even if he had never played a single minute.

At present, the sport tries to stand up, although the economic support does not abound, hardly there are contributions of the national State and the Government of the City of Buenos Aires through subsidies. Another income is that of the players themselves who pay the inscriptions and per game played. On top of that, in 2015 there were several weekends in which the weather did not allow the normal development of the activity and several pateros decided not to contribute more money and hope better luck for the next season.