It used to be that the average person's exposure to polo was either watching Willie Mays perform baseball miracles at the Polo Grounds or spending a Sunday hitting golf balls in a Polo shirt. That other thing, the sport with the ponies and mallets, was left to Hapsburgs with receding chins on play dates with their royal cousins. But have you added up the cost of a night at Minute Maid Park or bought anything from Ralph Lauren lately? The point is, you can check out some quality polo at the Houston Polo Club for about the same price as a day at the old ball game. And this weekend offers the perfect opportunity to start refining your tastes: the Texas Open Polo Invitational. (Aside: If it's an "open," why does anyone need an invitation?) In its 76th year, the club touts the Texas Open as the "Super Bowl of Polo," featuring "the world's best riders and ponies." And while there won't be a stunning catch in deep center field, you can still hang out for a few exciting chukkers. But you might want to bring your own peanuts. 5 p.m. Sunday, May 9. 8225 Memorial Drive. For information, call 713-622-7300 or visit www.thehoustonpoloclub.com. $25 to $150. -- Eric Norvell
Ball in Hand
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Seems like Houston gets all the major sporting events this year, including the USA Team Handball (USATH) National Championships. Team handball, for those who don't know, is an Olympic sport that involves six-on-six court action with a leather ball about the size of a cantaloupe. As in basketball, you dribble to progress. As in soccer, you try to score goals, except you throw the ball. Typically, several dozen goals are scored, so the action is far from sedate. As you can guess, team handball is a "small" sport. But the USATH is a serious entity (with a real drug policy, even), and when the teams get down to business, there won't be anything small about the games. Friday through Sunday, May 7 through 9. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For a full schedule, call 719-866-4036 or visit www.usateamhandball.org. -- Eric Norvell